Mario Villalobos

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Earlier this year, I moved my site from Micro.blog to Cloudflare Pages, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made when it came to this site. Sure, I had to learn Hugo, some HTML, and a whole lot of CSS, but when is learning ever a bad thing? I wanted full control of my site without any handholding, and that transition helped me achieve all my goals.

If you want to do the same, I suggest watching this recent video by Coder Coder. She runs through starting your own Github repository, how to connect Cloudflare Pages to it, and how to start pushing your code online. Knowing how to run my own website has been one of the best skills I’ve ever learned, and I hope more and more people learn how, too.

And this can all be done for free. No recurring memberships, no condescending handholding, just pure freedom. The way the web should be.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve spent some of my free time going through Essential Craftsman’s series on how to build a house on YouTube, and I’ve been enjoying the hell out of it. For a long time, I’ve had it in mind that someday I wanted to build my own house, and even though it feels like a crazy and far off idea now, I’m hoping that one day I will have a hand in building a home that will last generations. Granted, I don’t know how to use any construction tool outside of a hammer, so this might be something that will take a lifetime to pursue. But hey, nothing worth doing is easy. I am very grateful, though, to know more about drainage and surveying and plumbing and electrical and everything else that comes with building a home. That knowledge feels empowering in the best sense of the word.

I started to spend my time on this because I’ve been at something of a midlife crisis this summer. I’m afraid of tomorrow, of next week, of next year, because I feel like time is moving way too fast and I still don’t know how I want to spend it, and every minute lost scares the shit out of me. I’m slowly (very very slowly) building myself back up, and I’m hoping I come out of this stronger. I just don’t know what I want to do with my life anymore, so I’m pursuing every little interest I’ve ever had in my life, from these crazy ideas to the impossible ones. I want to find that thing or things that say, Yes, this is what Mario was born to do or whatever, because right now I feel lost.

Dave Morrow, from a video he posted to his YouTube channel in 2018:

So my theory for quitting these [social networks] was that even though I didn’t notice it, I felt like all the input of being on those platforms, every few days or every week or whatever, I would always have a bunch of background static, where conversations going in my head and I wouldn’t know why, but it’d be like I was always thinking about something or worrying if I had to do something on any social media platform, like respond to somebody or stuff like that.

[…]

What would happen if I took all the energy that I spent on social media—posting, replying, looking at stuff, anything you do on social media—I took all that mental energy, all that physical energy, and I just devoted it straight toward what makes me feel really good? That is photography and traveling to new places on foot, out on the mountains, out on the wilderness. So I’ll take all that energy from social media, which only gives me, if at any happiness level, a very low amount of happiness comes from social media for me. But if I took all that energy I was devoting towards that and pushed it all towards something that makes me feel really good, makes me feel really accomplished when I’m done, how much more would I accomplish every single year? If I just took all that energy and diverted it only to the things I like?

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, but something I’ve been thinking about more since linking to Cory Doctorow’s essay earlier today. I’ve found it easier and easier to live without Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, but if I’m being honest with myself, it’s been easier because I replaced it with Micro.blog. I don’t like that I replaced one compulsion with another, regardless of how much more integrity this platform has over, say, Facebook. I don’t like the background static, like Dave Morrow so beautifully put it, after every post I publish or every response I write. It keeps me from creating, and creating is the one thing that keeps me happy.

So what if, like Dave Morrow says, I focus all my energy toward the things that make me feel really good? Toward the things I like? What would my life like that look like? Well… let’s find out.

Here’s my declaration: I’m quitting all social media, including Micro.blog, starting today. Like Dave Morrow, I want to focus all my energies towards the things I like, and that means writing, reading, photography, traveling, and anything else that flexes my creativity muscle. And hey, if that turns me into an even bigger asshole, so what?

James Kochalka, via Austin Kleon:

It’s been my experience that if you’re a creative person, and you’re good at one thing, you’re probably good at another thing. If you’re good at drawing, you might be good at writing, too. If you’re good at writing, you might be good at playing music, too. If you’re good at playing music, you might be good at pottery. If you’re good at playing guitar, you might be a good dancer! In order to create, there’s some little thing you have to let happen inside yourself, of just letting yourself be free. If you can turn that little switch on inside yourself in one medium, you can probably do it in another medium.

I agree with this, but I want to add that it doesn’t just happen. You do have to work for it, but I firmly believe that if you’re not having fun during the journey, then you won’t enjoy the destination.

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