perspective

Venmo Life

What was life like before Venmo?

I seriously have no clue. I send my kids money for food. I receive rent payments by Venmo. I pay dues for kid’s sports by Venmo. I pay for my hair cuts by Venmo. The list goes on.

Now today I got my kid’s babysitting money via Venmo. Just nuts to think about. The touchless payment life we all live. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I didn’t know what Venmo was. Now it seems like a requirement in life.

Convenient? Yes. Secure? I think the answer depends on who you ask. Venmo may be my app of choice but there’s Apple Pay, Cash App and others. So many touchless options. Sitting on the couch sending your friend money for a coffee. How convenient. 

Does anyone even use cash anymore? Do you even know your ATM password? Some days I feel like I live in a Jetson cartoon world. And kids today rarely know how to make change for $1.00 without technical aids.

What will the next new technology trend be? iPhones and AirPods change versions in the blink of an eye. The artificial intelligence in my phone seems to know where I’m driving next and what I should buy at the store or online.

What happened to independent thought? Technology in a way takes away basic problem solving skills.  Will tomorrow’s adult be able to create new tools for future generations? I wonder because so many young adults lack basic skills that I had growing up because I didn’t have technology at my fingertips.

Ah the crazy life we live in today’s digital world.

challenges

1095 Days in Progress

Hundreds of days ago a project launched. 1095 days is its name. The scope was outlined but it was grey at best. A multi-year project that would cover many twists and turns. A new challenge of the mind and the hand.

How will it start? How will it end? Is it really just the middle that we are in? 1095 days is unfolding before your eyes. You are virtually part of the story. This very blog is part of the storytelling.

A book is in the works. So much to tell. So much to cut. So many details. What stays vs. what goes. Choices. Life has so many choices. As authors we choose. We choose our words. We choose our starting point. We create our audience. We choose to share or not share.

When we started this project I had no clue a pandemic would rock our world and linger for a year. Nor did I know we would capture so many feelings and emotions during the pandemic that would ironically fold into the project. It has to. It’s front and center. Here we are today still fine tuning the project. The destination. Everything in between.

To think about the project brings smiles galore. Just documenting life for a period of time is simply amazing. One can see the highs the lows and everything in between.

For me I’m right where I need to be. Immersed in my growth yet I am eyes wide open to experience new and unforeseen obstacles. Life 360 degrees. 1095 days of life is really just a wow factor to think about it.

Many struggle with visualizing tomorrow. Some struggle living for today. Today I’m looking ahead at what’s next in the process.

What’s next for me is over 100 burpees because I’m in a challenge and I slacked off a few days. For now I put the pen down to burpee the day away.

perspective

Doctor Doctor

A not-so-well-known fact about me: I’m a doctor. No, not the kind of doctor that prescribes medications or carries a stethoscope. I’m a doctor of the mind – a PhD. Earned in 2012 in Language and Literacy Education from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!)

Why do I bring this up? Recently I read an op-ed and surrounding arguments about our incoming First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, and whether or not she should own her “Dr.” title. The author raised all kinds of small-minded reasons why she should drop the Dr. title, even calling her “kiddo” at one point, as if her using the title she earned was childish and deserved a patronizing pat on the head. The arguments he made only showed his own shallow thinking and aren’t even worth reviewing here. Still all this made me mad, and also made me reflect on my own title.

I’m not going to bother to defend the work it took to earn my title. Six years, countless courses, teaching, publications, awards, etc. I have an obnoxiously long academic vita that does that. In some ways the PhD is a measure of stubbornness and I earned that through and through. I also won’t argue that all Dr. titles are worth the same. Especially now, when we see even more brightly how health care is heroism, I can’t even begin to equate what I have with what they can do.

What my PhD shows is that I have learned how to think. I have learned how to collect data, analyze it, theorize it, and write about it at length. When I earned that title, I knew that it was one of the few things no one could take away from me. I am one of the two “Drs.” in my building. Maybe it won’t surprise you that a school actually makes a big deal about a doctorate. Yes, my kindergarteners call me Dr. Friese. (Sometimes, with a wink at Southern custom, they call me “Miss Dr. Friese.”) For a while I wondered if the students should use my title or if it really mattered, but now I think it’s good for students to see that thinking is valuable in all areas of life. If they love that kind of advanced-level thinking and intellectual work / play, it can be pursued in countless contexts. Doctoring isn’t just in an office or hospital. We don’t all wear scrubs (and special props to those who do!) The more people see different possibilities, especially kids, the better.

On the flip side, Dr. has its downsides. I can be a total snob about things. I can’t unsee typos on a professional document. I ask too many questions at times, which can lead to the “analysis paralysis,” or being so stuck in overthinking I don’t get anything done. (I’m trying to remedy this with my OLW this year: DO!)

I also know that titles aren’t everything. Several people I know are much smarter than me learning from the school of hard knocks or lessons from in the trenches. I’ll be the first to argue that my classroom smarts doesn’t always help me “in the streets.” I embody the absentminded professor stereotype in many areas of life. Many will make a better living and a happier life taking paths that don’t necessarily lead to titles, certifications, or initials. So a Dr. isn’t everything, but it is something and it was the right challenge for me. Whether it’s initials or just more digits in your bank account, I’ll honor what you have earned.

What bothers me most about how this writer treated Dr. Biden is the tone and the underlying sexism of it all. As if being First Lady should make anything else she does or has done take a back seat. As if prioritizing her work as a highly educated educator is sort of laughable. As if the title conferred by marriage is the one she should favor over the one she earned for thinking, writing, and persisting. How many times have I gotten mail directed to Dr. and Mrs. instead of Mr. and Dr. or even Dr. and Mr.? Why does doctoring default to men? Why should women minimize what they earned when it takes nothing from anyone else? Sometimes I even minimize what I have earned myself, if I let the opinions of others invade my mind and erode my confidence.

When I taught at UGA, my students called me Beth. It was a personal choice and I had my reasons. These days, if someone calls me Mrs. Friese at work, I don’t correct them but my bosses often will if they hear it. Although my interests have taken me elsewhere, all this has revived my thinking about that title, what it means, and what it’s worth. Some might say I don’t use my doctorate, but in many ways I use it daily. I think. I write. I argue. I reason. I plan. I observe. I analyze. Every. Single. Day.

So yes, you may call me doctor. If you don’t, it doesn’t change who I am or what I’ve earned. In the mean time, I won’t waste energy worrying about what you think of me or my title. I’ve got too much to plan and DO to fret over small-minded guys.

perspective

Artistry

Capturing the beauty of a person, place or thing via a photo is amazing. I personally love looking at photos as well as taking them. Capturing true artistry in photos is another level of wow.

Recently I looked at some photos and noted the true artistry within the photos. The way an object was captured. The lighting. The magnification. The placement of surrounding items. The background. The fine details. They all collided.

I saw vision. I saw clarity. I saw depth. I understood the artistry of the photo. It didn’t happen just once. It involved multiple amazing shots. What I learned was how so many enjoy photography for not only its beauty but for its depth and artistry. For some a hobby. For others a professional career. For some it’s just capturing moments in time.

The ability to look through a lens and paint a picture for others who may not be able to live the moment. Through a camera lens one can allow others to share in the beauty of the person, place or thing. Sharing their artistry one photo at a time.

What I like to do is let my mind drift or wander through photos, through life, through experiences. How can I see the artistry of life through another lens. Maybe a picture. Maybe a painting. Maybe another’s eyes.

Oh the journeys we can take if we immerse ourselves in the beauty of the environment and allow artistry a chance. Look beyond the ordinary of today. The mundane of today.

Find the beauty of a fall leaf. The color in a butterfly’s wings. See if you can look at the beauty of your environment through a different lens. You may have looked at the same window view a thousand times and never see the glimmer of light that has hit a flower in a magical light at a certain hour each day. However the camera lens may have caught it. Another’s view of your ordinary.

There is a beauty in the lens of others. An artistry of life that can be observed by others when they are free in mind and spirit to enjoy. Soak in the beauty of today vs. the worries of tomorrow. 

We can all look at things in life and cast shadows or doubts. We can all look at the same things in life to see beauty. Choose wisely. Life doesn’t last forever.

3Splitz Farm

The Barn Door

There is so much beauty in observing something via a new lens. A new perspective on the same place, task, situation and so on. An outsider looking in. Such an opportunity to learn through observation.

Today I got to view a piece of property I own from a new lens. A stranger’s view gave me a new appreciation of what I look at often. Same coordinates but different appearance. A cracked barn door is all it took. Below is just one of the pictures that inspired me.

A different angle. A little misty fog. A different elevation. An artistic view. A fresh look. I was swept away by its beauty and mystery. How can the same place look so different while being the exact same?

We all have a unique vision of life, land, people and tasks. One’s trash can be another’s treasure. One’s obstacles can be another’s perfect play place. I’m a curious person. A constant observer. A life learner. I enjoy seeing the lens of others. It keeps me sane, motivated and engaged.

Today I looked at a lens on land as a reflection of life. The slightly cracked door opened to many possibilities. The fog was so representative of today’s masked world. The fog of 2020. My reflection of how I can paint my picture one way yet theirs may look much different. My barn picture is very peaceful but also thought provoking.  

When coaching others I am using my lens to give my perspective. Often the outsider looking in. Normally I don’t get to see the beauty of another lens. I’m normally bogged down with sorting out chaos. Today I saw beauty through the barn door. Now it’s my chance to seize opportunities through the fog. 

I appreciated every bit of the beauty. The learning experience. The smiles and the journey of others which inadvertently becomes part of my journey.

Life full circle. When you are in a creative space that allows you to observe, you can move mountains or obstacles in life with ease.

Find yourself that barn door to refresh your outlook. Better yet, you can use mine. 3Splitz Farm is a magical place in the north Georgia mountains offering many breathtaking views. Check it out for yourself.