You, the laptop

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (Pilipino Star Ngayon) | Updated November 9, 2014 – 12:00am

Life can be hard to understand. There are times when it is easy to make sense of everything, when life is relaxed, peaceful, orderly and predictable. But I have also lived through times when nothing made sense and I could not get a grasp on things. Everything seemed stuck or about to fall apart.

Sometimes, it helps me make sense of things when I see myself as a gadget — a laptop, for example, with an operating system, a ROM, RAM, memory, speed, a CPU, apps, keyboards and everything else that makes a computer run.

If I were a techie life adviser describing life lessons in computerese, here is what they would be.

1) Each person has an operating system that he needs in order to navigate through life. Consider it as one’s capacity to process and understand the world. It is like one’s philosophy or set of beliefs or morals that helps him make judgments between right and wrong, good and bad, and helps him find solutions to problems. It presents him a menu of ways to deal and cope with different situations.

It is important that one’s OS is updated regularly in order to operate in the real world as best as one can, and run apps with the latest upgrade.

Very often, we do not know what our OS is about, or what it is capable of doing. We have not fully explored it and so we feel limited and powerless in dealing with life’s problems.

2) When you want to be more, download useful apps that will make you feel more powerful and capable. In real life, downloading apps would be similar to learning new skills, or enrolling in new courses, going back to school, getting trained in something new. It helps to continue learning and expanding one’s menu of skills.

While every new laptop comes with built-in apps, there will come a time when you will want or need more as your situation changes. It’s the same in your life.

You must also make sure that aside from utility or office apps that can make you functional in the world, you also download some games and fun stuff. You need them in both the virtual and the real world.

3) Get a virus checker and a disc cleaner. You can’t help it. When interacting with people in the real world, negativity, toxicity, and bad advice and attitudes are passed around like malware. And yes, they sometimes find some resonance with us. We must regularly get cleaned up so as not to endanger our operating system and crash it. Look at it as spiritual practice. Make it your spiritual practice to run this “cleaning” software as often and as regularly as you can. And make sure you constantly upgrade the anti-virus software to detect new strains of malware previously unknown to early versions.

4) Do not keep your laptop perennially plugged into a power source and left on as this will wear down your batteries. In real life, you can’t always be “on.” There are times when you need to de-stress and not be connected, online and ready. Like your laptop, it helps that you are unplugged and turned off once in a while and just left to chill. Once in a while, it is good to be doing nothing at all.

5) Get a protective cover, and a good case. In real life, it helps to look good, feel unique and get some protection from the elements and life’s wear and tear.

6) Clear your memory cache regularly, and throw away files, photos and apps that you have not used or even seen in a while. You do not need them anymore. They only eat up memory space. As in life, learn what to keep and what to throw away. Do not be a hoarder. Know when it is time to let things go and live with less clutter. Just like inzen practice, “abide by emptiness.” It is similar to dropping opinions, beliefs, attitudes and hurts that do not serve you anymore. Throw the hurts in the bin, erase them and do not look back.

7) Here is very important advice. Do not get addicted to games. And avoid spending too much time on social media. While they may be fun, they can distract you from living a real life. This is the bane of our time. Many of us spend so many hours on social media that we have practically replaced the real experience of talking and being with people in the flesh with virtual conversations and interactions. We can poke, friend, unfriend, block, repost, share stuff without ever having to stand up to meet and deal with people within our proximity. That’s not real living.

8) Lastly, when your laptop has become obsolete and ceases to function properly and can’t be fixed, be ruthless about putting it out to pasture. Buy a new one.

So it is with life. A fixed mindset will only take you so far. As you grow and live your life, you get bigger and wiser and will handle more complexity.

Software upgrades, like personal growth, never ends. Keep yourself updated.

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