Sunday, August 12, 2012

Blogging Has Ruined Me.

I was out clubbing last night (for the first time too. So what if I'm 20? Northbridge is a scary place) and it was interesting. It got more fun as the night went on. I loosened up, got more alcohol in me, was in a bigger group of friends than I was when the night started etc.

All the while I was thinking about what moments of the experience I wanted to blog about... Blogging has consumed my life. The problem is this: I spend a lot of time online. A lot. My tumblr page has over 28,000 posts (mainly reblogging, but a bunch of text written by me as well) which grows every day. That's incredible considering it's only been around since November 2010. That's an average of over 1700 posts a month, or nearly 60 a day. This blog itself has an archive the size of two novels and it doesn't even get updated every month any more. If I find a blogging service that is suitable for me then I will use it constantly. A person can learn a lot about my life if they read multiple blogging sites I use.

But this has taken away the in-the-moment-ness of the moment. I become concerned with how I'd document it that how I am currently experiencing it. Something interesting happened and I thought it'd be good to blog about, then I started imagining what I'd write. At that point my thoughts became examples of things I could think, not what I would've thought. For example: I thought about blogging about wondering how many drinks it'd take for that guy over there to turn gay (there were lots more but that is the most memorable for obvious reasons). I hadn't been thinking that until I thought it'd be a good thing to mention in a blog.

The internet has stopped being just a way of documenting experience, but shapes and changes how I interact with an experience. That is... weird...

I should go outside more often.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Importance of Arbitrary Age Restrictions

Have you ever looked at a bottle of alcohol and thought to yourself "does it really matter that I'm a few days belong the legal drinking limit?" Many people do. After all, it's just a few days. You won't be any more developed to handle that alcohol in a few more days, you won't be any more responsible, you won't have changed at all. There is virtually no difference between you at age 17 years and 362 days and 18 years (or 20 years and 362 days and 21 if you live in America or any other place with a high drinking age).

So why not just break the law? Well... if you start thinking of it as "I'm only a few days younger... what's the difference?" then what's the difference between those few days and an extra few days? 360 is barely different from 362! But well 360 isn't so bad, so why not just 358? 354? 350? A week or two won't make any difference. Like a morbidly obese people who gives in to temptation to take that one cupcake out of a dozen, you're quickly on a slippery slope to having eaten all of them.

The truth is that this cut off of 18 (or 21) for drinking is arbitrary. What makes an 18 year old the best age for becoming an adult and doing things? I was 18 once. There was a party and then I got up the next day and did the same thing I did every day. I certainly feel like an adult and that seems to be a common thing for people. I'm 20 and still telling myself "you're an adult now, be responsible." But we all look at the age 18 for being an adult (let's move away from drinking because I don't want to keep saying (and 21), besides, this applies to other activities like sex or voting) and go "yeah, that's a good age. That age makes sense." Why though? 18 is still a teenager and teenagers are irresponsible idiots. Even the smart ones. If you don't think this is true, you're still a teenager. Just wait until you grow up and you'll look at teenagers and go "...surely I wasn't like that." No. No you were and you have to live with that.

We like the age 18 become we grew up as a culture with that number. Other cultures have different numbers and to us that seems strange, but the situation is the same from their side We're conditioned to believe that this is what adulthood is. Adulthood can be something completely different. It doesn't even need to be a number, it could be a thing earned after a specific task to prove you can be more than just a child.

Though the number itself is arbitrary it is not pointless. Alcohol is poison that damages the body and if you give it to someone young it can have a negative effect on their development. Of course being 18 doesn't mean alcohol is fine for you and you won't have any bad side effects, but your liver will be better developed for dealing with that alcohol. But surely a 21 year old would be better at handling alcohol? Surely a 22 year old... surely a 23 year old...

The same problem in reverse. But every body is different so what applies to one person at age 18 won't be the same for someone else.

Now we have this arbitrary number. Can we change it? No. Unlikely. Imagine being the age group that the age gets changed on... You're approaching your 18th, you're excited, you're finally going to be an adult with all the cool things adulthood brings (this individual is pretty naive) and then... Adulthood is now 19. Your friend, who is one year older than you, is now an adult for 2 years before you get to be one. People would get mad. People wouldn't understand why it changed because 18 was a fine number for them. It's always been 18! Even though the line is arbitrary and if you were to change it slightly it wouldn't matter... so why not do that?

You see, the line doesn't need to be perfectly justified and the best possible option, because that's ridiculous to try and get, varies, and is subject to debate. The line just needs to exist. We need a cut off age and stick to it otherwise you're just stretching at it further and further thinking "well it's not that much different..." until it's just ridiculous.

So just deal with it really. Waiting a few days won't kill you.