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Liking Things

Around New Years, Facebook put out one of their movies where it tallied up how you had interacted with the site over the last 12 months.  I knew this because I watched my friend’s movie on her timeline.  It yanked out images of what was important to her: her kids!  her dogs!  her husband!  It told her to remember this good time and that good time.  And at the end of the movie, hundreds of “likes” spilled into a dish, showing her that she liked hundreds of things that year.  An online life well-lived.

I didn’t post my video because it didn’t say much.  It yanked out images for two loaves of bread and a batch of cookies.  Apparently baked goods are very important to me.  It told me to remember that good time when I was writing about Hillary Clinton before the election and that other good time when I was writing about Hillary Clinton before the election.  Finally, something like six sad little likes spilled into my dish, brightly telling me that I had liked six whole things over the course of the last twelve months.  I got the message, Facebook.  It was not an online life well-lived.

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A woman asked Polly for advice on a friend situation.  Her friends like each other’s updates and they don’t like hers.  Her text messages in message chains go unanswered while other people’s messages get tons of answers.  The woman states that she feels like her friends don’t like her.  Polly assures her that they probably do though maybe they don’t.

But then Polly says what I think we’re all feeling (sometimes) in our hearts:

We are complex human beings with many, many sour emotions that come and go like the winds, yet we’re never allowed to leave the pep rally. We are bombarded by chirpy, self-laudatory interruptions, expected to drop everything and cheer at any second. I get group texts from truly great friends of mine that say things like “Cherry tomatoes from the garden!” and “Another amazing hike in Fiji!!” and sometimes it’s really nice and I love it. But other times, I want these globetrotting Martha Stewarts to stop interrupting my brainwaves with their incessant own-horn-tooting updates. I just don’t want my phone butting in with this shit when I’m trying to write the first word of the day and failing, or running late to a pesky doctor’s appointment, or just generally lamenting my inability to grow cherry tomatoes in my garden and let my child pick them and then photograph my gorgeous toddler and my tomatoes and my massive garden because I have a fucking job, people, and I have shit to do.

Here’s the thing: I do love updates, probably just as many as my friend.  I just didn’t click the button to let the person know that.  I also, at times, hate updates, especially the ones that seem carelessly written, informing a large group of people that they weren’t included in this activity or that while thanking other people for a great time.  As Polly says, “Some cultural trends like texting and social media are just objectively great and also hellish at the same time.”

I think all of us are striving to lead a good life.  To lead a life that we can quantify as fulfilling.  We want to achieve nameable things.  Meaning, we don’t just want to be thought of in amorphous terms.  We want to be remembered for big things, important things, achievements that can described.  But here’s the thing; we’re living this life in the day-to-day world, and we’re also living a life in the non-physical online world.  It’s all under the umbrella of “our life” but this tool — the internet — has created a virtual living space.  And now we’re looking at it; wondering if we’re doing it well.

I’m not doing it well.

And according to Polly, that’s okay.

August 23, 2017   6 Comments

Worrying is a Good Thing

What if I told you that there was something simple you could do to extend your life by a few years?  You’d do it, right?  Like if I told you that gum chewing could extend your life by two years, you’d be chomping down on pack after pack of Trident.  Or if I told you that avoiding cucumbers would help you live an extra four years, I get a strong feeling that you’d be consuming your salads sans gourds.  (Did you know that a cucumber is a gourd?  Well, now you know.)

Things get a little more complicated when I ask you to take up something you don’t really love or give up something you enjoy.  Like if I told you that crawling around on your knees would extend your life by two years, you may crawl around for a while but then decide that the strain on your knees isn’t worth the extra time on earth.  Likewise, if I told you to give up chocolate, you may make a case for why losing a few precious moments of life is worth it for a good bar of Cadbury.

Well, guess what?  Worrying is going to make me live an extra thousand years.

Okay, maybe not one thousand years (I didn’t find an actual number in the article), but it is going to make me live longer.  Because I am an exceptional worrier.  So if worrying itself is life-extending, then my brand of worrying which amps up regular worrying to astronomical levels is going to net me decades if not centuries.

According to the article, “researchers found that higher scores on the worried-vulnerable questions were ‘associated with a significantly reduced risk of death from all causes’.”  Worried-vulnerable neurotics were “identified by their response to such questions as ‘Do you worry too long after an embarrassing experience?’ and ‘Are your feelings easily hurt’?”  Yes and yes.  And whatever the next question is, yes to that, too.

Worriers unite!

August 22, 2017   7 Comments

#MicroblogMondays 156: Looking Ahead

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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If you are not doing anything for today’s eclipse, don’t despair.  You get another chance on April 8, 2024.  That’s only seven years away.

It’s traveling through places that I would go to even if there wasn’t an eclipse, such as Montreal or Newfoundland.  But it’s also going to be much closer to home, passing through sections of Pennsylvania and New York.

It helps me to feel okay with missing out on something knowing that it will happen again in the future and I’ll get a second chance to do it right.  I know that’s pretty optimistic believing the world will still be here seven years from now.  But crossing fingers, right?

Do second chances help you to feel okay about missing out on something the first time?

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Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored post.


August 21, 2017   22 Comments

Eclipse

There was a partial eclipse back in college that I somehow missed hearing about until it was happening.  I stepped out of the Humanities building and it was dark even though it was the middle of the day.  I knew enough not to look directly at the sun (okay, I probably didn’t know enough but I’m sure a smarter student shouted that out), and we sort of just walked home, not thinking too deeply that we were witnessing a moment in history.

We decided not to travel to the totality zone for tomorrow’s eclipse.  The closest spot is far enough away that we had to weigh out how much it meant to us to see it.  Instead we’ll remain in the partial zone, tossing on our eclipse glasses in the afternoon so we can stare directly at the sun.

Do I want to see a total eclipse?  Sure.  Do I want to see a total eclipse enough that I would be totally okay if we traveled to South Carolina and missed the eclipse because it was cloudy and raining but we got to spend time with other eclipse enthusiasts?  Nope.  Asking myself that helped me to put into perspective what I was willing to do to witness a total eclipse, and it wasn’t drive 8 hours.

Still social media (and, to be fair, the regular media) has a way of fomenting FOMO over these sorts of things.  It’s as if Twitter is collectively asking in the most incredulous tone, “What do you mean you gave up the chance to see the totality?”  And Facebook is rubbing it in your face: “Look at me!  I am loving on this eclipse so hard!”  And Instagram is like, “Look at these aspirational eclipse glasses that I made out of recycled pallets and mason jars.”

So I’m trying to be okay with it tomorrow.  I’ll see what I can see.

Are you doing anything for the eclipse?  Are you in the totality zone?

August 20, 2017   17 Comments

658th Friday Blog Roundup

ChickieNob started a blog a few months ago, giving commentary on royal family news.

Any time I see something interesting about a royal family, I pass it her way.  (And she usually rolls her eyes and says, “I already knew that.”)  One morning this week, I saw a picture of Denmark’s Prince Vincent, clearly upset on his first day of school, and I sent it her way.  She had already written about the Danish royal twins going to school the day before, but I told her that it was worth writing a second post; a public letter to Prince Vincent.  Maybe he would read it.  I was sure she had some advice to pass his way as an elementary school graduate and fellow worrier about going to school.

When I read it, my heart exploded.  Not just because she told him about our necklace trick (we’ve since graduated to matching typewriter key necklaces), but because kids comforting kids makes my heart melt.  She knocked it out of the park with the post.

So if you know someone who is struggling with a new beginning, maybe her words would help.

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Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.

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And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

Jewish IVF has a post that moves like a roller coaster, ultimately moving through the heart dropping, is-the-world-going-to-hell moments to the soft hush of the ride coming to a stop.  Yes, it’s tied up in her next IVF cycle, but I love this ending: “I said I literally live a few houses down but thanked her for stopping. It was such a nice gesture. Maybe the world isn’t all complete garbage. Kindness goes a long way – she didn’t even do anything, just the offer was enough to cheer me up.”

Pages, Stages, and Rages said what I have been saying since news broke about Charlottesville: no one should be surprised.  This did not come out of nowhere.  As she writes: “Now look, I’m for blaming Trump for anything but people aren’t getting this. Trump is now in the Oval Office because of people like this.”  It is a wonderful post about not shutting people out or shutting down.  Just moving forward because it’s the only direction to go.

Lastly, Lavender Luz has a post about adoption called “Everybody Owns a Scar.”  She turned her blog over to a guest writer who told a story about her relationship with her children’s birthmother.  I’ll admit that I cried reading this.  But make your way all the way to the end.  You’ll be glad you did.

The roundup to the Roundup: ChickieNob wrote a great post.  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between August 11th and 18th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

August 18, 2017   4 Comments

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