At my age, almost 48, you would think most of my friends are already in place right? I mean I have been around a while. I've lived through school years, college life, young married life, young mommy-hood, served as a volunteer for dance studios and softball teams, been an active member in churches and ministries through the years, moved on to older married life and mom life only with teens and adults now – you get it, I have met people, lots of them. I do have friends, lots of them, and I love them dearly.
So why the need to make new friends?
After all my years of living I have suddenly found myself in a new state and new community far away from my old one where I lived comfortably for over 18 years. The truth is I basically lived my entire life in the Tampa, Florida area with only a few years away.
Living in the same area for almost a lifetime provides certain comforts. You know someone almost everywhere you go, you run in basically the same circles all the time. Even in a big area like the greater Tampa area the world becomes small as your circles all intersect somehow. Everyone is connected it seems.
For an introvert like me that made it very easy for me to ride my more outgoing friends’ coat tails and I did that, over and over again. Now, in this new place, where I know no one in my new community I have a choice to make. Get out there (terrifying, any other introverts out there?) or stay cozy with a book and my writing and only interact with my immediate family.
Another important factor to consider if you are cheering me on one way or the other is I still have two girls at home, ages 13 and 15. They, too, find themselves in a new place, knowing no one, needing to connect.
The truth is, even as an introvert I need connection with people. Real actual people, not just my favorite characters from whatever amazing book I am reading or show I am binge watching.
As a late-bloomer in life I usually take FOREVER to do anything. Knowing this, my girls were terrified as we set out on this big new adventure because they still rely on me to drive them everywhere and to get them signed up for things at all. One more important factor, we home school, which ads another level of difficulty to meeting your “people” in a new area. There is no built in pool of people to dive in to (aka school) you have to find the people, groups, classes, activities or just people to talk to in general.
Prior to moving, I made a commitment to myself and my girls, I would not take forever to get out there and find people. Which meant, I had to start. I had to dive in first.
When you have littles its easy right? You go to mommy and me things. As home school families we go to the elementary age group activities and the moms all wait around and watch – your group starts to form that way. You find your people on the sidelines while all your cute little ones are potty training, playing, dancing or whatever it may be. All of you ooohhh and ahhhh over your own and each others precious tiny humans and then, over all the conversations that happen, between the oohhhhs and ahhhs, you connect and friendship forms.
With teenagers its not so easy. You drop them off for dance classes or practice. You don’t have to wait around and watch and if you do your kids are embarrassed and the other kids think your kid has mommy attachment issues – its a whole thing. Your mom group isn’t going to form that way and honestly with teenagers your friend group may not even be the mom’s of their friends anyway.
So what do you do? How do you meet people?
I am happy (and a little proud of myself I must say) to report I am actually meeting people! Not many yet but some and here are a few things I have done:
1. Coffee Date
Seems obvious right? But how do you find someone to coffee date with?
Interestingly enough for me it was Instagram! Yes. Social media, the very thing we tell our children to be wary of and as parents we try to monitor with a close eye.
I have found for those of us with like interests who end up finding each other in the same geographical area you can connect in real life and it is so fun and heart warming!
When you find an Instagram friend and you start interacting on social media for a while, publicly with comments on posts and then having conversations over texting or direct messaging that’s when you have a connection and potential coffee date material.
Not really a cold contact. I am not sure I would do that.
You really can get to know each other over Instagram. Especially with people who are being genuine. Lot’s of people say “live authentic” but they really aren’t. My guess is someone who isn’t really authentic won’t really connect with you anyway. In person or over social media. You’ll know the difference when someone replies to you impersonally or if you strike up more of a friendship.
A sweet Instagram friend saw I was moving to her area and she reached out to me. Two coffee dates later and another on the books!
I have to mention to cute little local spot we went too, Hidden Julles Cafe did you notice our coffee cups in the picure? A great place for a coffee date and a meal if you are around Haymarket (cutest name of a town right?).
You may not always find a good friend or connection on your first try – my dear college friend who also experienced a later in life move encouraged me to get out there and wisely said they won’t all be “your people” and that’s ok but you have to try.
By the way, my new friend Sarah happens to have an amazing website herself all dedicated to a Happy, Healthy Home. Check out SugarBananas ! You won't be disappointed!
2. Book Club!
I have always wanted to be part of a book club and just happened to find one nearby that just happened to be starting up a book that was already on my list to read! I took that as a sign, with so many “just happened to be” happening I thought I should pay attention.
This was harder for me than going on my first coffee date with my now new in person (as opposed to Instagram) friend Sarah. Why? Because Sarah and I had already connected on Instagram and although we hadn’t met in person we had a little ground under our feet. Like I actually knew what she looked like and knew we had some things in common.
This book club was just cold turkey and at someones HOUSE (terrifying – no polite way out right?).
I cannot even tell you how many times I was seconds away from deciding to stay home that first night. I had to just keep charging ahead. No looking back. I didn’t let the words “well I might just stay home” come out of my mouth no matter how many times they popped in my head.
Not to mention it was like 20 degrees out! Remember I came from Florida – the cold is enough to legitimately keep me inside.
I am so happy I went. I met the sweetest group of ladies, there were only 5 of us the first night. All various ages and stages. It was wonderful, I couldn’t wait to go back the next week.
3. Keep trying
This one is still in the works. With two successful tries under my belt I am confident I won’t give up. I still don’t feel super connected to my community. I have to be honest. It’s a strange feeling after having such deep roots and then suddenly feeling kind of lost.
The good news is I now feel less like a stranger on a new planet and more like “the new girl”. At least “the new girl” has potential to meet friends and eventually won’t be “the new girl” anymore.
If you are in the middle of a move or just needing to make new friends I hope this encourages you. This was not easy for me, at all. Putting myself out there in real life is terrifying. Sitting here typing real life words from my heart is much less terrifying, I am not sure why when words are life to me but still that is how I feel. Safer in the glow of the screen with the click of the keys. Extremely vulnerable in real, actual, physical life.
Even still – jumping in, taking that leap of faith has been so good for me and for my girls to see! They know me better than I know myself sometimes and seeing me brave the newness of all this must be helping them know they can too. I am counting on that.
Be brave friends, put yourself out there, connect with each other in real life.
If I can do it, you can too.
If you follow my Instagram story you may remember my recent struggle with time management. If not, no worries, I will explain.
As midlife mode intensifies my “normals” are changing. I found myself completely frustrated and feeling like I was spinning my wheels every week and basically accomplishing nothing!
What do I do when I feel like this?
I turn to my bullet journal and start making lists and taking notes. After writing down all of my to do’s for each day of the week and crunching numbers to figure out how much time I had to actually do them I realized I was trying to fit over 90 hours of to do’s into about 50ish available hours a week.
Problem identified. Now what?
Keeping in mind my list of “to do’s” included necessities such as eating and showering. It also included “want to’s” such as reading, writing, working on my “new” project that you are reading here (the SOSblog). I crunched more numbers and realized if I took out all the “want to’s” all of my required “to do’s” did fit in to about 50ish hours a week.
Another problem identified. This really is a problem. Even my 12 year old said “mom, you can’t stop doing all the things on your want to do list. That’s not healthy!” She is right and wise for 12 years old.
Well, here I am. Writing to you. I have also been reading and working on the SOSblog in addition to working out, schooling my girls, making meals, working at the girls’ dance studio, buying groceries, adding in additional things such as helping out my mother more because of some recent events AND all the things that go along with being a stay at home mom with the bonus of no longer feeling like I am spinning my wheels!
So the question remains, how did I fit 90 hours of “to do’s” and “want to do’s” into 50ish hours of available time per week?
The simple answer is – I didn’t!
Well then, how am I doing even more then?
Honestly, I don’t really know.
What I do know is I had a mind shift, a change of heart, a loosening of my scheduled, system operating lifestyle. Taking an inventory of my time and tasks (need to's and want to's) helped me make this necessary shift mentally and emotionally.
By nature, I am a very system happy person. Give me a system to apply and use and I am on it! I can make it work. Do this on this day, that on another day. Do this during the morning and that during the evening. Wake up at 5am and do A. B. C. and your day will go great! I love systems, schedules, instructions and for many years the same systems and schedules worked for me. I was trying to apply all of my tried and true systems AND add in some of these “want to’s” which actually have become “need to’s” for me personally. It wasn’t adding up, it just wasn’t working.
The reality is, although way out of my comfort zone, I had to give up some of my systems and schedules and make some changes. Mostly in my heart and mind.
I had to give myself grace to skip a load of laundry and make up for it at another time. I had to realize if I don’t get up at the exact same time every morning and get the 5 things on my old morning list done that’s OK! I had to give myself grace to do the household shopping on a different day of the week, or even squeeze it in on whatever day it will work for that week, instead of the day I had assigned to that task for many years.
I had to give myself grace to CHANGE. Because guess what? I am changing whether I want to or not. My hormones are changing, my mind is changing, my energy level is changing, my need for sleep is changing….the list goes on and on.
According to Harvard Business Review:
Whether a person goes willingly—or is pushed out—some midlife change is inevitable. But despite the necessity and frequency of such change, midlife (roughly the ages from 43 to 62) remains a very difficult period and one for which people are, on the whole, lamentably ill prepared.
In other words, even if you think "oh not me, I won't go through "midlife" with all its stigma and stereotypical issues". Be warned here, you will and even if you still think you won't, better to be prepared...after 40, things change.
This midlife, it can be a struggle but it can be so great.
So as I rested in this thought, to allow myself room to change, to give myself grace to go with the flow of the week instead of forcing the week to happen the way I planned it or thought it should go – things fell in to place.
There is peace in the home again (mom’s and young wives we set the atmosphere don’t we? It’s a big responsibility but it is ours so take hold of that and decide what type of atmosphere you want!), there is hope in my heart, there are meals being made, laundry is being washed, my girls are being taken care of, words are hitting the screen here, my Facebook launch happened, date nights are better than ever and my mom is being loved and cared for.
I honestly cannot tell you exactly HOW all this is happening only that I let go of my old expectations and dove in to something new on the inside and then things started to flow better on the outside.
Taking an inventory of my "need to's", "want to's" and time available helped me see where I needed to change. Do you want to take inventory and do a time & task inventory? You can get the FREE SOSblog Time & Task Inventory Helper here!
So as you are reading this, who knows what I will be doing!?! I don’t even know. This new “flow” has me doing something different all the time.
If this were 10 years ago my skin would be crawling and I would be having a major mommy melt down and honestly several weeks ago, while spinning my wheels, I kind of was.
I was in a daze and a little scared I would never be able to accomplish anything again.
I am in a unique position being in the throes of midlife with one amazing girl out of the nest and two amazing girls still at home who very much need a mom who can do all the mom things they need. I am all for raising independent kids, but if you are a mom I know you understand, even independent self-sufficient kids need their mom to be present in life. To help with schedules and car rides. To be able to listen and laugh with them, to sing in the car and give good mom hugs.
When we aren’t feeling on top of our game personally it’s hard to be all these things for our kids outwardly or on the inside. When we are feeling fuzzy in our minds and hearts its a little scary and not good for anyone, especially us!
If you need a little help getting out of a bit of a haze check out 20 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Health and Happiness from Natalie at MidlifeRx.
I hope you have balance in your life and feel like you have a handle on all your “to do’s” AND can enjoy your “want to’s”.
Are you having trouble with your schedule? Feeling like you are spinning your wheels? Get my number crunching schedule helper here!
Bujo? What is that?
BUJO is short for Bullet Journal and if you are a list person this is the answer to all of your listing woes. Woes being where did I put that list? Did I remember to bring my list? I started that list a long time ago, where is it now?
I discovered bullet journaling about almost two years ago and now cannot live, actually I cannot function without my bullet journal. It keeps me sane, keeps me organized even on my most disorganized of days, it helps me be a better mom, friend, daughter, and wife….yes you read that correctly. For my peri-menopausal brain this is a life line for time management, life balance, remembering important things.
At first bullet journaling looks a little overwhelming – a bit hard to understand. Especially for those of us who are “rule followers” or “instruction” junkies. Give me A. do this B. do that C. now this and I am a happy camper. With bullet journaling there are so many options, so many ways to do this, it’s like a free for all. Well that is actually part of the beauty of the process. You’ll see.
As a list person I used to have all kinds of lists in various places. On sticky notes, legal pads, small spiral notebooks. On loose leaf pages of paper, the backs of receipts, on the whiteboard, on the mirror in the bathroom…you get it, EVERYWHERE.
One day skimming through Pinterest, bullet journaling caught my eye. I started pinning, and reading, looking at pictures and decided to take the plunge and try this for myself.
In a nutshell a bullet journal is any blank journal where you can now keep any and all of your lists bound in one place for easy reference. Sound easy? YES! Because it is. If you start skimming and pinning at this point you may get overwhelmed so here are a few simple steps and some pictures.
What I do next is set up my months starting with whatever month we are in, I did a little experimenting to see what month layout worked for me. I am basically very simple and just a little creative – some people are VERY creative and are very fancy with their monthly, weekly, daily pages. I start off with my months and go about a year out.
I use my bullet journal for my calendar: monthly, weekly, daily and even yearly planning.
I use my bullet journal for any projects I am working on – such as a party I am planning, vacation planning, Christmas gift buying, home improvement etc… I just start a page, label it at the top and make my plan or list of things to buy. Record the page and title in the index and bam! Easy reference to add things, check things off, remember things. I even have a “names to remember page” because I am TERRIBLE at remembering names but determined to improve in that area.
If I need to call the insurance company, cell phone company, doctor's office and record notes from my conversation – bam! Bullet journal page, easy reference for later all bound up, won’t get lost or forgotten. Amazing.
Planning an awesome summer with your kids – bullet journal page – write down your summer wish list again it won’t get lost in the shuffle.
Making a list of books to read – add it to your bullet journal.
I think you get the idea – I hope you do. Ok so now when you start skimming and pinning on Pinterest you are going to get overwhelmed (especially if you are not artsy). Don’t overthink it and don’t think you have to be a fancy lettering person, make cute doodles for all your lists or even use colorful pens. A black pen, a pencil, a ball point pen – doesn’t matter. This is yours and yours alone.
If you are a list person – trust me, this is your answer. Creative or not – this is for you!
I consider myself a very simple bullet journaler. If you have any questions please ask! I would love to help you.
In the meantime, to help you get started, here is a link to a bunch of boards and posts about bullet journaling found on Pinterest.
image credit: pixabay
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.
Keeping on a good enough front for the family through my muddled mess was hard, and I wasn’t always successful. Putting on a front is also exhausting and defeating.
Here I am, back at it. Not just writing but back at life. Trying, once again. How? Well several things. Sheer willpower being one of them. I got tired of the cycle but during the cycle I was tired of it and couldn’t seem to break it. What changed? Well let’s revisit midlife…
Midlife for a woman my age means menopause, or actually the dreaded peri-menopause.
Menopause itself is the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles and is actually “diagnosed” after 12 consecutive months of no menstrual cycle. Peri-Menopause make up the years leading up to menopause.
“Dreaded” is an understatement.
Just a few symptoms of peri-menopause are
This can go on for years – many, many years. Sometimes 8 years! I am definitely in my 5th or 6th year already at age 46.
So I blame peri-menopause for my muddled middle. Middle of life, middle of my body, middle of the night wide awake….you get it.
I have never been one to give up so thankfully when I felt like I had given in to giving up something inside me kept nudging me towards a better end. Better end? How about a better beginning?
A new beginning for writing, for parenthood, for a new season in marriage. A new beginning to friendships, and a new season as a daughter caring for my aging mother.
New beginnings for beauty habits – boy are there different beauty routines needed for this time of life. I struggle to even bring them up in so public a forum. Embarrassing. But I cannot be the only one! We need each other right?
Just like there are not enough warnings and resources to prepare moms for parenting adult children (a topic for another time...) I don’t think there are enough warnings about this often embarrassing but much needed grooming advice!
I see women all time in their late 40’s, 50’s even 60’s who look A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Some better than they did in their younger years. It looks like they have found the fountain of youth! Well I am discovering, no, they didn’t. They HAVE to have grooming secrets and I am on a quest to discover them. I am building up my confidence to share my findings with all of you…
So this is my welcome back to life and “welcome to my new beginning” post.
My moods are up and down, my sleep is often interrupted, I can rarely tell what temperature it actually is because my body’s thermostat is going rouge but I am here and ready to BEGIN again.
I am acctually excited now about my middle, my midlife, my life.
Thanks for joining me – again.
image credit: Kat Smith via Pexels
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?
Despite my introvertedness and tendency to be a home body I also CRAVE local community.
Also for my two younger girls – who are middle and high school age and of course want time with friends. Assuming we would have a fluctuating turnout and end up with a smallish group each week, I pressed forward with the event plan. My friend and I came up with the invitees and…
Surprisingly to us we have a huge, consistent turn out every week and the moms look forward to it just as much as the kids do! We average between 20-30 people total each week.
There are a few interesting things about all this and here they are:
What is all this telling me?
Other moms and kids are also craving community. Real community, not based on participation in churches, groups, activities.
I know those are places you meet people initially but for me – friendships or community solely based on “membership” or “participation” in groups or organizations just do not last. Most of the time they are shallow and without any roots – again - just won’t last.
I know there are seasons of life but I also know a real community of people remains a community – with or without participation in groups, events or activities.
Earlier I referred to craving “local community” because many of us I believe have a network of friends that we have made, for me it’s my college friends and a scant 2-3 others from other seasons of life, who really are my community no matter how far apart we are geographically, no matter how long we go without talking, these are my people in good times and bad.
The community I am craving in my everyday life is just that “everyday life community” in my local area.
Sadly, until now, I have never experienced this in real life, I have seen it from a distance, seen it on TV, read about it in books but never experienced it in action, in my life.
For example I know many churches and multi-level marketing people throw the term “do life together” around – what I see is that means sitting in chairs on Sunday morning, going to ladies meetings, church events, marketing meetings or business events together. Possibly having dinners, baby showers or birthday parties with this group of people that you also go to church with, business events etc.
What that also seems to mean is when you no longer go to that particular church or you are no longer building that particular business then “doing life together” is over.
One of the beautiful things about our “Summer, Supper & Swim Club” is we obviously all met somehow, probably through participation in the same activity, church, class or group but our relationships have continued to stay connected.
One of my favorite things about this is it is a picture of my community – outside of anything other than life. It has reminded me, I actually do have a community.
How do I handle this as an introvert?
Its once a week! As long as I have my days or hours at home to recharge I am good to go.
What if I don’t have my recharging hours?
I am still pushing myself out of my comfort zone and going. Participating. Talking. Connecting. It isn’t always easy for me but it is important for myself and my girls. I want them to build and enjoy a community of friends. In order to do that showing up is important.
I want to teach my girls that showing up doesn’t have to dominate your life so prioritize it!
As moms how do we do this without it interrupting our entire day with prep work?
Our Summer, Supper & Swim Club is a total of 3 hours and we do pack it up after those three hours. We also keep it simple, it is NOT a Pinterest worthy spread. But it works.
That is part of the beauty of it - not a lot of prep, low stress, no one is trying to impress anyone, we just gather.
We have some working moms and kids who have to get up early the next morning so we gather from 4-7pm. 3 hours is enough time to gather, connect, share a meal, clean up and look forward to the next time.
What about you? Do you crave local community?
I want to encourage you to start something! Grab a friend and start “showing up” not just at baby showers, birthday parties and soccer practice (although showing up at those events is important too). Purpose to invite those inside and out of your current activities.
You probably have more of a community than you think you do. It may surprise you – it sure did surprise me!
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. At 45 years old my life is sprinkled with broken relationships. Dysfunctional family relationships, broken friendships, burning bridges it seemed as I left churches, work places and organizations. I thought I was a victim. Thoughts of "I was used", "now that I am not needed to volunteer they toss me aside", "I no longer fit - maybe I never did", "maybe I really do suck as a person" - you get the idea. My mind was overflowing with victim minded self-talk.
One day I realized I didn't even value myself.
I used to enter into relationships with my head held down thinking "I am so lucky these people even want to associate with me." "I better not mess up or they will throw me aside." I was always working so hard to "keep" connections and relationships. Thinking I was being humble always putting myself down. Jumping through hoops to meet other's needs and serve, volunteering countless hours at churches or organizations, setting aside my own needs or my family's needs for the purpose of trying to keep people happy, trying to "keep" relationships. Thinking these were real, deep connections. Hoping they were relationships that would last. They didn't.
How you feel about yourself affects every single aspect of your life.
I came to the sad conclusion that relationships and connections where one side (in my case, me) doesn't first see value in themselves cannot have healthy boundaries, and where there are no healthy boundaries there is no mutual respect.
Without mutual healthy boundaries and respect, strong, lasting relationships and connections are not possible.
I now see value in myself and as a result amazing things are happening! Freedom to be myself. Freedom from trying to fit other people's mold. Freedom to forgive. Freedom from shame and regret. Freedom to say no to things. Freedom to set healthy boundaries.
I truly am facing the reality of the broken relationships in my life, if you have read any of my poetry you can see and feel that process. That is a process - a long, complicated process. However, as I no longer constantly focus on the negative, hurt, or abandonment. I now realize somehow, even at 45, life is not over I am enjoying a new beginning.
Let me encourage you - value you. As you do you will actually value others in a healthy way AND if you are not being valued in return you will have the confidence to walk away in peace and not in turmoil. You will have courage to kindly set boundaries without apologizing for them.
Here are some tips to help you value yourself:
Thankfully I actually do have a handful of relationships in my life that are genuine, healthy and strong. The most important one being my husband of 23+ years. This list also includes my children and some friends. Through all my messed up thinking and low self esteem (both relationship killers!) I am so thankful for family and friends that have stuck with me and I can actually now see why they did!
Let me know how you do with valuing you. I would love to hear from you.
Gossip, what is it really? According to Dictionary.com Gossip is:
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" but when I was venting, processing or sharing with multiple people around town I was definitely crossing the line. Also, who do you trust? The more you talk the bigger risk you take of your words being repeated, exaggerated even changed (think telephone game). Regardless, the words can and will be credited to you, the original source.
What was a reconcilable issue can quickly become an irreconcilable one all due to what we say, who we say it to and how many times we say it.
As women we are verbal connectors, we talk and we talk and we talk. Studies have shown women talk three times more than men do on a daily basis. It’s part of who we are, how we are wired. So, how do we balance that with what we talk about? Notice I said what and not who. In my experience gossip usually involves a who vs. a what for the topic of conversation.
Here's the thing, I don't know about you but for me, when I enter into the realm of gossip, either doing the talking or listening to it, I leave the conversation with a terrible pit in my stomach. I don't like it. I desire to be a trusted friend who does not share others' intimate details or struggles.
I want to be a trusted friend even in the midst of conflict (which will happen when you are close to people - love and friendship are risky - and they get messy sometimes).
Here are a few parameters I have set up for myself in recent years to help me with boundaries in my conversations:
There are so many directions we can go with this topic. Social media is another layer of gossip with "vague booking" and feeling the need to give our opinions about everything under the sun. To keep this post a reasonable, readable (I hope!) length I decided to stick with good, old fashioned face to face interactions.
I saw a quote on Instragram yesterday that said "I would rather have my nose in a book than in someone else's business" and I wholeheartedly agree!
Speaking of books, I will leave you with this: "That's the way prayer do. It keeps things going." - Abileen, The Help. Abileen is referring to someone she still had connection with after a conflict.
Instead of trashing and rehashing, let's take a tip from Abileen and pray. Or if you don't pray, think positive or just occupy yourself with something other than whatever is eating you up inside about someone. You just may be surprised how all of a sudden you feel lighter than air, free as a bird and you may even forget about that thing you needed to vent about anyway.
Wishing you a gossip free, happy day!
Image Credit: Gangstalking Survival / You Tube
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
Hi! i'm Heidi,
Founder and Author of the SOS Blog. Simply Our Society exists for poetry lovers, book lovers, parents, midlife women and those recovering from eating disorders and hidden abuse. My hope is the SOSblog will become a resource to make life a little better and easier (with a special emphasis on this crazy season called midlife!).