Well it’s been a while – a very long while – since I have posted anything. It's been a long time since I have written anything, at all. A muddled midlife is what I have determined to be my current issue.
Muddled, muddied, stuck.
Finally I am throwing myself back into life after seemingly endless cycles (well almost a year) of trying, stopping, trying, stopping, basically giving up and now trying again. Energy level low, self-esteem lower.
My friend is amazing, she comes up with the absolute best ideas and I often volunteer to help because her ideas are so amazing!
She is an extrovert, I am an introvert who also craves community….just not too much community, and not too often.
This summer her fabulous idea was “Summer Supper & Swim Club” (she comes up with the clever names too). I jumped right in and we established this weekly gathering of moms and kids.
Why would I jump right in – being an introvert and all?
Relationships have always been hard for me and I never really knew why. Recently I gained some insight that is giving me courage and peace as I head into my today, and my tomorrow...
The insight is this: if I do not value myself how can I expect others to value me? I have put too much responsibility on others to make me "feel" valued and wanted. No, I am not entering the self-absorbed, narcissitc bandwagon shouting "Me! Me! Me! My way or the highway people!" I truly believe this new value I have found in myself is actually making me a better friend, wife, mother, daughter, neighbor, community member - overall a better person.
Let me explain.
We've all done this - especially women, and as a midlife woman I will admit there have been seasons in my life where I did a lot of this. I called it "venting" or "processing" even "sharing"...
Do you ever think about how our cell phone culture has fostered an expectation for immediate access to each other? Texting, phone calls, facebook messaging, commenting on social media posts...we expect to be connected to those near and far through this virtual world and if we don't receive the "connection" in a timely manner we begin to wonder, question, and over-think the reasons why.
This "immediate access" culture is akin to "Instant Gratification is Making Us Perpetually Impatient" , an article in The Boston Globe by Christopher Muther. We are growing more impatient with internet speeds, waiting in line, slow product delivery and, my theory is, we are growing more impatient with each other.
I remember the days when we didn't have cell phones. If you were out you were out and someone had to catch you at home if they wanted to talk to you on the phone. It allowed for connection and engagement with your physical surroundings, with the people you were with at the time, it allowed for safer driving, and I think it allowed for healthier connections with others and with ourselves.
I am not completely against cell phones.
I use my cell phone all the time to keep in touch with people, work, plan, schedule, blog, interact with a wide internet community - the list goes on and on and its all good and good for me. My issue is with us all having and expecting immediate access to each other all the time. It is actually ok to be occupied with someone face to face, a task at hand or just have some down time and not answer/reply immediately.
What does "immediately" actually mean? Sometimes it is expecting an instant reply - within seconds. Also, in my circles, immediate may mean within an hour or so...still too immediate in some circumstances.
I have done some experiments - choosing to not answer the phone all the time. Not to be rude but to have some boundaries with my time. Time at home with my family, if I am at work or visiting with a friend. I found that the risk in putting the phone away and not answering when a message comes in is forgetting about it.
As a culture of "immediate access" I believe we have also started to move on from the moment very quickly and forget about what's behind, moving to the next moment, the next thing that is happening "right now". It's easy for calls, messages, texts, emails and the like to go unnoticed and completely ignored. I have been guilty of doing this and also a recipient of being overlooked and forgotten.
The solution when purposing to put your phone away and not reply immediately is purposing to actually review messages and reply at a later time. In our 24/7, immediate access, non-stop world time management has gone to a whole new dimension and takes a new level of determination and skill (a topic for another day!).
My plan is for this to be the first in a Modern Manners series.
So this Modern Manners question is - How do we personally manage ourselves in an immediate access culture?
I certainly do not have all the answers, just a few ideas:
Do you have any ideas or strategies about managing yourself in an "immediate access" culture? I'd love to know what they are! Comment below to share them.
Money, constantly flowing, increasing, decreasing, coming and going.
Time, constantly flowing, decreasing, never increasing....going never coming.
Time and Money are two of the most valuable resources for humans in our western society. One comes and goes and one only goes - never to return. The two are connected though. Managing your time can help you increase your money. Managing your money can help you maximize your time.
I have not mastered either one and as a result time and money become my masters time and time again.
Sometimes I feel as though I am on a constant quest to gain control of these resources. To flip the scales and master these things that continue to master me. Blog posts, books, check lists, schedules, counting every penny, dotting every i, crossing every t....when really I am on the hunt for a rhythm of life that is not a struggle or an exhausting battle to dominate every dime or every hour.
I desire a flow of life that is not a constant fight with and for time and money.
Photo Credit: Flickr - TaxCredits.net
When I started driving we had the radio and cassette tapes in the car. No cds or auxillery cords, only the radio and cassette tapes. Piles of tapes. I remember how important it was to have the right music playing. Sometimes that meant swerving drastically while quickly reaching down in the floorboard of the passenger side (while driving) to grab a tape that had dropped and was now so desperately needed it was worth risking my life and the life of others to pick it up. In retrospect, of course, this was not a good idea.
Now, as a 45 year old mom ("yelling about safety" -quote from Beverly Goldberg in The Goldbergs TV show, if you lived in or love the 80's I highly recommend this show!) I would never condone this rash, irresponsible behavior. Yet, it makes me think. How often am I on my phone, even at a red light? How often am I fumbling to answer my phone, plugging in my headphones to be "safe" while I drive and talk?
Times have changed. Driving has changed. Thinking about reaching for the cassette tapes made me think alot about risks I took as a young driver and about risks many drivers, young and old, take today. We live in a highly congested area, lots of traffic, everyone in a hurry all the time. Ad in smart phones and everyone working 24/7 or at least communicating 24/7 and its a recipe for disaster on the road.
Distraction.gov is committed to educating America about distracted driving. According to their website,
The Huffington Post reports that a driver is 4 times more likely to end up in a crash while texting and driving. You can find information and statistics all over the internet. Or, in my town, you can see the results of hurried, distracted driving every week, sometimes daily with car crashes all around town.
I am just as guilty as the next person - driving distracted, ignoring my passengers, missing the moments I am in because of my phone. I am determined to slow down and not be tethered to my phone, especially in the car. I can enjoy the radio or talk to the people in the car with me instead of worrying about texting or talking to those who aren't. Maybe think or enjoy a quiet moment in the car if I am alone. Here's an idea, I can actually pay attention to my surroundings even at a red light.
Let's all stay safe and enjoy the road today.
Photo: By Hmvh (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Do you set goals and reach them quickly? Do you always accomplish your goals? Do you have lots of dreams and goals left untouched or started and not finished?
As I was running today I thought about how for the last 3 years I have had the same goal. Run a 5K. At different times through those 3 years I have started a "couch to 5k" program and then paused, started again, stopped, started again, paused...you get the idea. As I ran (you can gather, I am trying again) I thought is it better to have a goal and take a long time to reach it, to drop it and pick it up again or is it better to have no goal? Is it better to be a goal setter who reaches every goal and reaches the goal quickly? Do you know anyone like that?
I often say "I am slow but eventually I will (plug in whatever may be on my list to do)". This applies to everything from purchasing gifts for people to painting projects around the house. When I catch myself thinking - what's the point? Why even try any more I stop those voices in my head and tell myself to take another step. Maybe I paused, or stopped but for some reason I need to keep trying.
Maybe it isn't a matter of which way or who is better - the goal setter who sets and reaches every goal quickly or the one who slowly but surely gets there eventually. The reality is we are all in this life together. Maybe we should encourage each other to just keep going, pick up the things we have dropped, press restart, and don’t give up.
I'll let you know when I finally run that 5k.
Photo Credit: Celistine Chua, Flikr
When you think something is yours and then it’s given to others ….it’s a reminder that nothing is really yours to begin with. Everything is a gift. Time, people, experiences, things, money, relationships, work, vacations, promotions, and positions. Sleeping, waking, walking, talking, bathing, laughing, crying, and watching. Here today, gone tomorrow, no one can take anything for granted. No one is promised tomorrow, no one is promised the next minute, the next week or the next year. When put in perspective we realize it’s not worth jealously, holding on to hurt feelings, manipulating situations.
Let it all go and fall into sync with the rhythm of life that is yours for today, for this moment, with whoever is with you, doing whatever you are doing for this day.
A familiar line taken from Dr. Seuss, wisdom from his popular story Whorton Hears a Who reminding us that truly everyone matters. From my little spec on this little planet - my view from the west. America. Suburbia. Christendom. A mom's view. A view from a neighbor, wife, daughter, friend, small community member. One view, knowing there are many but this is one...
STOP trying to reach millions and reach those in your own home. Reach your neighbors. Your extended family. Reach? How about connect with and love - stop trying to reach people with a message and instead pause, look and listen to them. Have eye contact. Listen without thinking about what you will say in response to them, or what you have to do next. Listen to know them, to feel with them. Stop sending a message to people about how right or wrong you think they are and instead send a message that you actually care about them - the person - whoever they are. Your librarian, cashier, waitress, neighbor, sister, brother, son, daughter, significant other. Do they know you really care? Is life flying by? Are the minutes disappearing? Are your days going faster and faster? What really matters? Who really matters?
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