A Sense of Proportion

I am frequently concerned that my sense of proportion is out of whack.

Specifically, I obsess about trivia, get angry (or frightened, or saddened, or depressed) about things so trivial as to barely exist at all, even fleetingly.

To remedy this, I have a number of strategies:

  • Really angry/sad music. Pink Floyd at the peak of Roger Waters’ crushing control covers this really nicely (Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall, The Final Cut). These songs talk about lives that are Worse Than Yours in a compelling way. If that fails, the right bit of Nine Inch Nails at sufficient volume can drive out any unwanted mood. I have yet to discover any state of mind that can remain intact through a full (loud) playing of The Downward Spiral. And the good part? These are someone else’s problems!
  • Read the news. World news will always tell you about something bigger than you. Your problems are tiny, fleeting.
  • To unwisely quote Fight Club: “Stop trying to control everything and just let go! LET GO!” Abandon your illusion of control. Closing your eyes and saying “I give up” or “I quit” can help.

Mostly though, I find that a good sense of proportion is exactly what it sounds like: considering all things in terms of scale. You are one person in twenty million Australians, a mere drop in the six-billion-odd humans infesting this tiny rock, in this undistinguished solar-system, orbiting a small unregarded yellow sun, far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy… 🙂

Another way to see things is to consider the severity of Your Problems in the classic ‘things could be worse’ sense. If your a quantitative type, and you find these comparisons with national or global problems a bit meaningless, try this. The Holmes and Rahe Stress scale is something I’ve blathered about before (back when my egomaniacal rants lived in a mailing list, rather than on a blog) it helpfully categorized the severity of the stress in your life in absolute terms, then gives you a number which more -or-less tells you if you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.

It also illustrates nicely how small things can pile up…

Changing topic (and format) completely:

  • Long time no post. Again. Sorry. Likely to happen again? Yes.
  • Am now officially finished probation at new job. Huzzah!
  • I am going to Linux Conf Au (which is not in Au…?!) next year. Are you?
  • I have finally succumbed to Twitter. Behold my glorious sidebar!
  • Tuesday next week I move on to the next logical step in my career: I go to work in a supermarket. (Coles Central, Melbourne Central)
  • Moustache came and went. Raised some dollars. Glad it’s gone.

Babah now!



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