I write not because I wish for others to read what I might say, but rather because I do not wish for my thoughts to vanish with time, as I will.
I say this as if I am a writer.
While growing up, I never thought much about jewelry. Mainly, I thought it was a way to look “cool” and express yourself. I used to wear necklaces, earrings1, rings, and watches just to make myself look a little older and look a little “cooler”. Girls, I thought, did the same. They wore jewelry just to look a little more elegant and a little more pretty. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. But I’m not here to discuss the semantics of beauty and jewelry.
In relationships, I always saw jewelry as a huge marketing scheme. After all, the idea of a diamond ring as something mandatory for a proposal was the result of one company’s ad campaign2. As we go about our day, we are constantly barraged with slogans like “Every kiss begins with Kay”3 and “Your personal jeweler, Ben Bridge” trying to lure us into the world of expensive, pricey jewelry.
There’s more to it than just marketing, most people would agree. Wearing jewelry is an expression that you are wearing something dear to you that was given to you by someone you love. A diamond ring, a heart necklace, a silver earring – all to show others that you’re proudly taken and proudly in love. It works well, too. Walking around, it is not difficult at all to spot men or women in dedicated relationships by the ring that they wear on their ring-finger.
There is more to just following trends, looking good, and showing others that you’re taken, however. Jewelry serves the purpose of reminding the wearer that they are indeed in a relationship. Why would someone in a relationship need to remind themselves of this? The following anecdote sums things up perfectly4:
One day, Peter locked himself out of his house, so he called around to find a locksmith. It took him a while to find one who was certified by the city to unlock doors. The locksmith finally pulled up in his truck and picked the lock in about a minute.
“I was amazed at how quickly and easily this guy was able to open the door” … In response to Peter’s amazement, the locksmith told Peter that locks are on doors only to keep honest people honest. “One percent of people will always be honest and never steal,” the locksmith said. “Another one percent will always be dishonest and always try to pick your lock and steal your television. And the rest will be honest as long as the conditions are right – but if they are tempted enough, they’ll be dishonest too. Locks won’t protect you from the thieves, who can get in your house if they really want to. They will only protect you from the mostly honest people who might be tempted to try your door if it had no lock.”
After reflecting on these observations, I came away thinking that the locksmith was probably right. It’s not that 98 percent of people are immoral or will cheat any time the opportunity arises; it’s more likely that most of us need little reminders to keep ourselves on the right path.
Now before you begin to disagree with me because there is no way that relationships are relatable to locked doors and locksmiths, consider the possibility. In relationships, there are probably around one-percent of people who will be faithful to their significant other no matter the circumstance. They will stay true to them in life and in death. Conversely, there are probably another one-percent of people who are purposefully looking to cheat on their significant other – to feel the rush of breaking the rules. Thus, this leaves the remaining ninety-eight percent who will remain true to their significant other “as long as the conditions are right”.
What kind of conditions am I talking about? Well, if a relationship is healthy and happy, there is probably no reason to change anything – the conditions are right; however, say that there is a little bit of trouble – one person has a little too much alcohol – anything can happen! This kind of disloyalty in a relationship is the disloyalty that happens on a daily basis. People seemingly “accidentally” cheat on their significant others quite often, and almost always because the conditions were a little bit off.
In The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, Dan Ariely discusses this phenomenon at length, saying that it does not only apply to locked doors, but also to tests, tax returns, and most other situations where a bit of honesty is required. Through several experiments, Ariely shows that there is a way to prevent this dishonest behavior – to have a reminder that keeps us on the right path. This reminder can be in any form, Ariely claims. According to his studies, swearing on a bible prevents lying, signing a “I will not cheat” statement prevents cheating, and signing a “I verify that these taxes are correct” prevents tax return fudging.5
The catch with Ariely’s claims, however, is that the reminder has to take place before the opportunity to be dishonest arises. For instance, when doing taxes, the signed verification at the end of tax submission would be much more effective if it was placed at the beginning, reminding people to fill out the forms honestly. The same goes for relationships – the reminder to remain loyal to your significant other would have to take place before the opportunity for disloyalty arises.
This is where jewelry plays a major role. Since jewelry is something that is worn all day and something that is visible, it serves as a constant reminder to the wearer that they are indeed in a relationship and that they should not do anything to jeopardize this. Following the logic of the above anecdote and Ariely’s well-argued claims, if one were to constantly be reminded of their relationship by the ring on their finger, they would be far less likely to be dishonest.
By making this claim that jewelry in a relationship reduces dishonestly, I’m not saying that every relationship is in jeopardy of having some sort of cheating occur – I’m mainly pointing to the possibility and saying that jewelry may reduce even the slightest chance by simply reminding the wearer that they should not be dishonest to their significant other. If you are currently wearing jewelry given to you by your significant other, you should not be offended that they think you may cheat, but you should be happy because they are trying to mitigate even the slightest possibility. Jewelry is a constant reminder and a constant warning and may prevent instances of heartbreak due to this.
1. For the record, I do not have my ears pierced. I used to wear magnetic earrings.
2. For more information about this, see New York Time’s fantastic article about De Beers, Frances Gerety, and the way that they influenced the American jewelry market. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/fashion/weddings/how-americans-learned-to-love-diamonds.html?_r=0
3. Stern Advertising has done a fantastic job raising the public’s awareness of Kay Jewelers. View the official Stern page here: http://www.sternadvertising.com/our-work/kay-jewelers-2/
4. Anecdote is from Dan Ariely’s The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. Full citation:
Ariely, Dan. The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2012. Print.
Specific anecdote, “Lessons from Locksmiths” is on page 38.
5. These experiments and conclusions are mainly discussed in Chapter 2: “Fun with the Fudge Factor”.
As you may know from my previous post, I recently made the switch to Digital Ocean for my VPS needs. So far, everything has been great. However, I encountered a problem the other day regarding Reverse DNS (rDNS) for my VPS. The error occurred when I attempted to send an email to someone with a @cox.net email address. I got a reply containing a failure message. The message contained details about an invalid rDNS name.
After searching the Digital Ocean forums, I learned that by default, Digital Ocean configures rDNS for all hosting accounts. I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out why mine was not working.
Then I read a small post that stated something along the lines of
In order for rDNS to be configured properly, the name of your droplet must be the same name as the URL that is being used to point to the droplet’s IP.
After changing the name of the droplet to reflect the primary domain name, everything worked out and emails started sending.
So now you know: Name your droplets with their corresponding URLs.
Every day I do my best to keep myself organized. I keep my files in their own folders, I keep my desktop clean, I keep my calendar free and relevant, I clean up my phone contacts fairly often, I keep a task list. However, after about a month, none of this seems to matter. I’m not sure how many people experience this, but it seems that no matter how hard I try, I always end up being lazy for about a week and that ruins everything. I save all my downloads to my desktop, I don’t put pictures in their correct folders, I don’t name files in my usual naming convention. All of this leads to chaos. My task list is currently running rampant with tasks that were never actually meant to be completed. I need to bring this to an end. Here’s how I plan on doing it.
One of the main problems with my organization has been e-mail. For the past 6 or so years, I have been using Mozilla Thunderbird as my primary e-mail solution. All of my email accounts were imported into my portable version of Mozilla Thunderbird which was saved in my Dropbox so that it would be synced across all my devices. This, honestly, worked quite well. Recently, however, I have been running many operating systems (Android, Linux, Windows) and having all my files synced across these devices is a challenge, especially when one file is a .exe file. Thus, after months of searching for a solution, I have decided to go with a web-based solution. I have decided to use Gmail.
Although it’s not surprising in the least (everyone uses gmail), I never knew that you could import POP3 mail accounts into Gmail and send/receive mail as if they were your primary Gmail address. The integration is seamless and all of my mail goes into one easy-to-use unified inbox, just like in Thunderbird. I’m a happy camper. What makes this even better, though, is that it syncs with the Android Gmail app, so that all of my emails (and imported accounts) are synced to my Android device.
I have also made a commitment to myself to delete emails that I didn’t need immediately. This way, my email inbox is never cluttered with a bunch of stuff that I will get to eventually. That phrase is long gone.
I love calendars. I’ve always had one of those little date-books where I wrote down what I needed to do and what was in store for me every day of the week. Today, however, carrying around a little pocketbook isn’t all that feasible. It is the digital age, and my calendar must correspond accordingly. Thus, I have become an avid user of Google Calendar. Another completely unique decision. I’ve tried Google Calendar in the past, but I never really kept up with it because I would forget to look at the calendar and/or schedule events on the calendar. To circumvent this, I use a few methods. First off, my calendar lives in a pinned tab in my Google Chrome, so it is always there watching me and alerting me of any upcoming events. On top of that, I’ve found that its icon actually reminds me to schedule events and keep track of what I should be doing. I’ve done the same sort of thing on my phone. I use Today Calendar to display a nice little Agenda widget on my homescreen so that whenever I look at my phone I see exactly what’s next on my plate. I now understand why people hang calendars on their walls. Having a calendar constantly staring you in the face really helps you stay focused and stay on top of the things that you want to accomplish.
Along with my calendar, I have also started heavily using task lists. Of course, there is a task list built into Google Calendar, Google Tasks. Why not use that? So I am. It’s perfectly simple. I simply type in what I need to do and it sits there, right next to my calendar, telling me that I need to do it. No gimmicks, no fancy user-interface, no fancy animations – Just a task list. It’s just what I need. On my phone, I use the Tasks app to follow my tasks. Of course, it’s the same deal on my phone.. it simply lists the tasks that I need to complete. Although it’s not much, it definitely helps me stay focused.
A big part of staying organized is staying clutter-free. This means organizing everything in your daily life. Whether it be having a special place to put pens or organizing books by author’s last name, anything can help. There are many things that I have decided to do to keep my stuff organized.
- I make my bed every morning. I know this is more of a personal issue, but I am convinced that hopping into a completely made bed at night actually helps me sleep better. On top of that, it makes my room look clean and tidy even when it’s not.
- I do my dishes every night. Again, this is a more personal issue, but it also helps me stay much more organized. When I wake up in the morning, I can get started with my morning routine almost immediately. I don’t need to worry about washing my bowl for cereal or not having a clean spoon to use. It’s great.
- I control my phone’s files. Especially with pictures, my phone is a mess. All these photo apps (Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) all put their pictures in their own separate directories. This makes accessing photos very difficult if I am looking for a specific picture. Thus, I am using Redirect File Organizer to move all of my pictures to a single directory. It really helps. On my computers I am doing something very similar. I am making sure that I don’t save anything to my desktop and I put the files where they belong the first time. It’s amazing how much frustration this saves.
- Notebooks are also a recurring problem for me. I love pens, I love stationary, and I love notebooks. I have a ton and they are very unorganized. Thus, I have decided to take the advice of the label-freaks around the world and label my notebooks and arrange them in alphabetical order. I have also done the same with my books. Say what you want, these small changes work wonders.
- Music is another thing that I find myself being stressed about often. Instead of having my music collection neatly organized, I just have a list of songs. This is something that has been changing as of late. I am now an avid user of Spotify and I make sure to put all of the songs that I wish to keep into playlists that reflect when I want to listen to them. So far, things are going great.
Overall, being organized is a great thing. It eases a lot of stress and makes daily life a lot smoother. I highly recommend taking a week of your time to sit down and really organize everything. You won’t regret it.