Lessons Learned and Facebook

In this time and age, I would be hard pressed to name a family member or friend that doesn’t have a Facebook account. My husband doesn’t count. Technology is not his thing and sharing personal information and opinions is not his thing either. Other than him, I cannot mention anyone else off the top of my head!!!

When about 11 years ago, my daughter convinced me to give this new Social Media outlet a try, I would have sworn it was not going to last. Well, that is how much I know. I also refused to even consider investing in it.  So much for my powers of observation. Not only is Facebook thriving, it is so influential that it will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Which proves again, what do I know???

I will be remiss not to point out that most of the time I enjoy what comes and goes and passes for information, the personal opinions, the photos of family and friends that live far and wide. The pages that post uplifting messages that somehow fit a mood, a feeling, a moment. It can be fun and informative.

Unfortunately, as the mood in the world has turn to hate and division and more and more people feel free to express those feelings, Facebook has turned into a minefield. You need to be very careful what you say and pay attention to the smallest of details when expressing an opinion, talking about your feelings on a subject or just wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Thanksgiving or Happy Easter. What pictures you want to share, what you would anyone thinks about a page you like, the quote you posted or the people you admire.

Never mind the kind of news sites you prefer, the people you are voting for or anything about a controversial public figure. Everything is black and white and you must be very careful. How exhausting!!! It seems we not only have the government censoring what we can and cannot see, write or express….now everyone you have friended on Facebook feels they should do it too.

I am not even going to mention civil discourse (a very much dead concept at the moment), or differences of opinion, I am talking about plain bullying and plain intimidation if you as much as express the notion that things can and do have two or three sides to them. “Mine, yours and the truth in the middle” is what I believe. Apparently I belong to a growing group that has learned the hard way to keep their opinions to themselves. How very sad…..it seems the only freedom of expression we are allowed is the one our critics spouse.  Both sides of any issue are guilty of this.

So, back to the lessons I have learned on Facebook. At the beginning, I joked about the four wonderful concepts that this Social Media community has taught me were: Ignore, Remove, Delete and Unsubscribe. We were provided with such choices and with cute little signs for : Like, Love, Surprise, Sadness, Anger. Seemed simple enough, not really anymore, things are now very angry, very insulting, sometimes even dangerous.

If we only want to see and want to hear what we believe, we are not improving communication among our friends and family, or the community in general. If only our opinion is true, if we only hear what we want to hear, if we only engage with people who agree with us, we are bullying everyone else into falling in line or just pack up and leave. A very sad state of affairs, especially when it is not doing any good to society as a whole.

I write a blog about things I have learned and things I am still learning, Facebook provides a wonderful platform for this.  My hope is that out there someone agrees with me and will share my posts. Never my intention to impose or to think I know better. I am not holding my breath, but will continue to do what I think is right. It gives me pleasure.

Life is short. Everyday there are new challenges we must face, new sorrows to deal with, but also new happiness to share, new experiences we want to talk about. I want to feel comfortable with my friends and family, so I can do just that. Having a Facebook account has taught me many things, the ones I mentioned here are not the best ones. Fortunately, I hold hope that the good things about this site will eventually win the day.

P.S. You have to have some rain to enjoy the rainbow: photo by my niece Ana Gregoria

 

Living in the Moment

cropped-IMG_0905.jpg

This year has been hard so far. I have lost my mother, dear friends and have seen others suffer with terminal illness. It is true that I am in no way unique. Everyone, everywhere confronts the same challenges everyday. Not one of us reacts or deals with these events in the same way, so I can only speak for myself.

I have done the crying, the denial, the anger, the acceptance. Grief has to be worked through for us to move on. In my case, there has been more than that. I am making a conscientious effort to live in the moment!!! Not very original and not the first time anyone has tried this route. The difference for me is that this time I am older, I know myself better and I want to spend as much time as possible enjoying life, living the moments that make it worthwhile.

Blogging has been a way of keeping my sanity, but also a way to complain or keep up with the past or think too much about what I am doing or want to do. I am sure that is the reason I cannot write more than a couple of posts a month. Why I don’t seem to find new and interesting subjects to write about, or why I seem to get lost in reading instead of writing.

I feels as if a door has opened and I have walked through to find an exciting place. A place that was always there, but which I rarely visited. Some small things have shown up, though, like trying to post only positive messages on Facebook, changing the kind of books I read. Even started again de-cluttering my home, my closet, my life. Slowly, but surely I have come to this point. It is wonderful and I am most grateful.

There is no more time to waste in planning, it is time to grab what is offered and run with it. Take that trip, buy that handbag, go out with your friends, dress as you please, change your hair color, keep in touch with your loved ones. It is time to actually let go and live in the moment!!!

 

Here is to 2016!!!

brown-background-blank-notepad-happy-new-year-holiday-62925209-1New Year…….opportunities and chances, choices and changes, a blank book to write wonderful stories. This year is no different, unfortunately, we all make resolutions and we all break them!!!

Thinking along those lines, I decided no to go the usual route. I am not going to get all worked up trying to accomplish the impossible. There had to be a better way, or ways to make this a good year.

Here are my ideas:

IMG_3566A few months ago, on Facebook……yes, I do get some good ideas from that…..I saw my New Year’s project. Going around, I found an article about focusing on the happy moments we have on a given day, week and month. It had a photograph of a jar, decorated and ready. For what you would ask? Well, to receive small notes mentioning those happy moments along the way. I thought it was just the thing because we tend to remember the difficult times more than the happy ones. So I bought three of them, decorated them very simply: one for me and one for each of my sisters. Part of my Christmas present to them.

The past year was very difficult to us. Nine years traveling back and forth to Panama, making sure our mother was well taken care of, struggling as so many other caregivers do. We had little time to focus on anything else and when we did, we discovered we have missed happy moments. When we, finally, put out mother in a home, mixed with the regret and the doubts, we were relieved. She is so much better off where she is and we deserve the rest. Christmas was a joyful family time!!!

The idea of our Happy Moments Jar was all we needed. It will give us the opportunity to stop and enjoy those moments, realize that we do have them and then scribble a small note about each one and put it in the jar. At the end of the year, we will get together and open our jars, read all our happy moments notes and remember what a great year it was. Brilliant idea, whoever had it!!!

IMG_3573Of course, I needed something else. I needed something to keep me busy the rest of the time, the time between those happy moments I was going to write about. On my last visit to Panama, I have picked up some coloring books and some Crayola crayons. Of course, the books were childish and simple. I most definitely needed adult coloring books. Mentioned this to my children in passing…….my son, Frank, got me the most beautiful one. Indian Mandalas and Henna designs….right up my alley!!!

IMG_3570Already colored my first page, randomly picking up crayons in no particular order, just the nearest. The result was very pleasing and, what’s more, it was so relaxing and uncomplicated. That, I discovered is the secret, you need to just go with the flow. Wonderful exercise in letting go!!!

These are my New Year projects, nothing complicated and stressful that would put me off. Nothing that requires a schedule, dieting, trying to get along with difficult people or a long term project that would never be completed. I think this is going to be a great year!!!