perspective

How Close is Too Close?

I went to dinner the other night at a local restaurant. We were seated at the center table. No masks required as we were dining. Seems simple. Just the new normal we are used to.

Then my daughter said “we aren’t distanced like we should be.” I looked around. What did she see that I didn’t? I mean I’m telecommuting most days while she is in physical school distanced and masked 8 hours a day following rules, new rules and more rules each day. Her perspective is clearly different than mine based on our exposures to date. Weird that the child is teaching the parent.

She said “this table isn’t 6 feet. Those booths are not spaced. It’s not distanced like it should be.” Wow. I paused and thought to myself how much she has changed due to the pandemic. Will we ever get back to normal? Will I actually be able to hear a waitress ask me about my order where I can understand her without a full mask?

My elderly mom was dining with me. The menu was a scanned barcode. That’s pretty high tech for her but it’s the only option. She can’t see the screen as well as me to order. Sigh. Sigh deeper. This is what is normal. Will there be a return of paper menus?

The next day my daughter calls for an early dismissal from school. A neighboring student is potentially a covid exposure. “I can’t sit in class for more than 15 mins or I’ll get close contact,” she said. What? “If I get close contact then I’ll have to miss social activities.” What?

So today I learned about close contact. Secondary contact. Confirmed cases. Contact cases. Exceptions. Rules. Suspected cases. And. And. And. I’m exhausted just digesting this information. Technically I knew these scenarios but not up close. To the point of sidelining one of my family members.

It’s football season. Homecoming. All the things high schoolers look forward to. So many instances of socializing being scrutinized, cancelled, postponed and so on. I’m going nuts keeping up with changes on the calendar and it’s driving me bat shit crazy that it’s emotionally hitting my kid.

Spring was tough enough with isolation for a teen. Now a new level of toughness is needed to combat the stress and anxiety that’s goes along with adapting to so much change in your formative years. The years of milestones. First kisses. Dates. Driving. Team sports. School events. College visits.

I am hopeful that the new year brings peace to not only my child but all kids enduring so much stress as a rippling effect of the pandemic. Developing brains can only handle so much and parents are also battling their own demons in the workplace, on the home front and just in society in general.

Just my random recap post. The blah of the week and it just started with just 6 feet. How much difference 6 feet can actually make. And how my differences could be so different than another’s. #perspective

perspective

Eyes on You

How does it feel to have eyes on you?

Maybe it’s the person across the room attempting to flirt with you.

Maybe it’s the professor in class with a puzzled looked from a distance.

Maybe it’s your boss peeping your professional online profile?

Maybe it’s your coworker snooping on you on Facebook?

Or maybe it’s that nosy neighbor watching your comings and goings?

How does it feel to have eyes on you? Does it make you paranoid? Does it make you wonder why? Are you even remotely interested and do you have the audacity to ask why? Or do you just sit back and say have at it. It’s public information. I’m aware of that. Interpret how you wish. Your perception may not be my reality but I encourage one to peep anytime.

For me I’m the latter. If I’m so interesting that somebody needs to seek out my daily doings good for them and good for me. I’m relevant. I sparked curiosity. I piqued another’s interest. I saw the post below when I wrote this post and thought how funny and applicable it was.

I left a carrot for the taking. Did somebody bite or did many? That’s the mystery. It’s also the puzzle of how many times one bites.

I love life and writing about the ins and outs of people, places, things and situations. Life provides an abundance of writing inspiration. Thank you to all near and far who inspire me to write and do me, my way.

My adventures continue. Follow along as much or as little as you wish. As a writer I invite you into my world. How you perceive me, my value and my stories are completely at your discretion. Enjoy.

friendship

Is Friending A Verb?

Is unfriending a verb? Maybe proper English would be following or unfollowing?

OMG. What am I talking about? If you don’t know I just tossed in text lingo (OMG) and the social media language of following, followers, unfollow, unfriend, etc. Why would I do this?

I would do this for a giggle first and foremost. Then I would say I’m doing it to honor a friend who questioned me using the word friending in a verb tense. Finally I would be writing for therapeutic value.

Let’s start with the basics of friending / following and/or unfriending / unfollowing somebody in the online world. Neither actually have anything to do with friendship for the most part. In rare occasions the scenario could develop or could have have existed prior but the vast majority today have a friends list online that is more of a fans list, stalker list, nosey list, curious list, friend-of-a-friend list, coworker list, business acquaintance list and so on.

I’d bet that a true friends list for many is less than 20 and an inner circle list is much smaller. So why call it a friends list? Why do you get mad if somebody unfriends you? Were they even your real friend in the first place? Probably not. Better yet why did you add them to your original list?

So many questions. So few answers. It’s pretty funny to think about this in general. When was the last time you cleansed your online list of _______, I mean followers/friends? I don’t do it often or even at all. Wait, I take it back. I unfriend or unfollow those who are always negative. Once a person hits the worse-than-the-news level, they are removed. There is no add back option.

I may remove those who post something very offensive or hateful to somebody in my circle as well. Not really sure why I don’t review this list more often but I don’t. It’s not relevant to my day to day life I guess.

This short blurb is done for now but I may revisit social media again in the future. Have an enjoyable day today with or without social media. It’s almost absurd to type that but there are actually some people who don’t use social media and they survive!

perspective

Hero or Villain?

Out of the corner of my eye, I see them. Someone I haven’t talked to or heard from in a long time.

Maybe it’s a few rows over at a meeting, or checking out at the grocery store, or even across the field.  We share a quick hello or nod.

I think to myself, wow, it’s been a while.  They haven’t posted much lately. I scan through social media only to find…I’ve been blocked.  Blocked!

There was a time in my life that this discovery would have consumed me.  No matter who it was that blocked me, whether we were ever close or got along well or not, it would set me on a spinning path of questions…what did I do?  What didn’t I do? Was it something I said?  Why don’t they like me?!?!?  In stereo, on repeat, for hours on end.

Thankfully now I’ve realized that being universally liked isn’t possible or even a worthy goal.  There will always be people who don’t like me, my choices, or how I do things.  There are people who won’t want to be connected to me.  And that’s ok. It’s not a ringing indictment of who I am or what I do or don’t do.  People come and go.  Some connections work well and others are temporary. It is what it is.

I’ve also learned to accept that in some cases, I am not just unliked.  I am actually the villain in someone else’s story.  I’ve made mistakes and bad decisions.  I’ve had bad days and dumped my grouchiness on others.  People have gotten hurt along the way.  Even if I didn’t mean to, there are people who don’t remember the chapters we shared fondly.

But on the flip side of that, I am also the heroine of sorts in some people’s stories.   I am  the comic relief to others.  I am the (relatively) reliable narrator, the plot twist, and these days I may be the character who develops in surprising or unexpected ways.

At this point, I am grateful for the heroes and the villains in my own story.  I realize that I have some control over who gets speaking roles in my life and who needs to just be a minor character.  I’m grateful for growing up enough to know that being written out of someone else’s story isn’t always the worst thing that could happen. I have my own next chapters to write.  What about you?

perspective

Vulnerability

IMG_0317 2

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.”

-Brene Brown

I sat in a training this week that began with an invitation to think about this quote.  Then, we took a moment to write down what vulnerability meant to us and what it would take for us to feel ok about being vulnerable with each other.

I admire and respect Brene Brown and her work immensely.  That being said, even just the word vulnerability makes me shudder.  In the exercise, I wrote about how vulnerability means showing my lack of expertise or knowledge of something, or admitting I don’t know something, or showing my soft underbelly that I try very hard to protect. I cling to my appearance of being intelligent and capable as a flotation device in life.  I have learned in recent years that I mainly choose goals and tasks where I can be almost assured of success.  I don’t like looking stupid or incompetent and I avoid those situations as much as I can.

I’ve also learned through my enneagram that asking for help is not something I am good at (but giving help is!)

Reading Brene Brown’s work and others has me tiptoeing up to bigger challenges these days.  I’m setting goals that are further and further past my comfort zone.  Sometimes, I try things I might fail at.  I have become less comfortable coasting through life.  I’m not jumping at challenges quite yet, but I’m getting better.

When my daughter and I went to help on a farm project recently, it was in response to a facebook post appealing for help. The farmer had taken advantage of several growth opportunities in recent times and managed to find herself overwhelmed with challenges.  She started her facebook post by saying that asking for help was hard for her, but they needed help moving a truckload of gravel.  I messaged her that we would be happy to help.  She was extremely grateful.

Imagine her surprise to have over a dozen people show up to help.  From teenagers to retirees, men and women, all strangers, all grabbing shovels and buckets and wheelbarrows.  We moved and spread two truckloads of gravel in less than two hours (including a 30-minute break to go get the second load).  Far more work done far more quickly than she and her husband could have managed alone. We made quick work of her challenge.

I watched people work together who had never met, just to help someone in need.  All because she made herself vulnerable and asked for help.  Big dreams and big goals can lead to some big challenges.  Big challenges can be faced and overcome, sometimes with a little help from our community. A lesson I need to remember.

What I also learned today is that asking for help also opens up opportunities for others to contribute, to make a difference, to share their own worth. It feels good to help.  For my daughter, an aspiring farmer, it was an opportunity to get an insider’s look at a real-life situation on an operating farm. Perhaps others who pitched in had different motives.  Who knows what moved that group of random individuals to show up, but just by helping we each got something out of the experience.  At times, it also offers the chance for people to let you down, but thankfully with a good circle you always have backup and support waiting in the wings.

When we make ourselves vulnerable, we invite others to step up, step in, and play a role in our lives.  The next time I am in my self-focused trying-to-hide vulnerable mindset, afraid to admit I don’t know something could use some help, I’ll remember to reframe it as offering opportunities for others to shine and share and connect. It’s not wrong to take on a task that turns out to be overwhelming to manage alone at times.  It’s a testament to ambition and big dreams. May I start dreaming bigger than I can handle solo.

IMG_0344