Creatively Thinking: Social media kills my creative buzz, man

It’s true. Social media kills my creative buzz.

I can’t think when someone else is thinking for me.

None of us can and that’s what social media companies are banking on.

I once heard a pastor say it’s hard to hear God when we are filling our mind with so much garbage from the world. It’s similar for creativity. How can we hear our own voice when we are listening to so many others?

Social media is addicting.

It’s hard to get away from. ‘

Trust me, I know. Once you start scrolling it’s as if your brain slips into some sort of lock down, slow down mode. While your brain was once hopping with all kinds of ideas for stories or projects or plans, it’s now slowly grinding through the thoughts and ideas of other people and before long your own thoughts and ideas and plans are being strangled and pulled down. Your brain becomes muddled with all the information floating around in there and you can’t remember what plans you had or story you were going to write or what project you were going to complete.

“I’ll hop on for a few moments” you thought and then you realize two hours have passed and you’ve accomplished nothing. Not only that but then you spend the rest of the day sneaking peeks at the site or app you were on because you can’t stand not knowing what someone said back to you or about you or what they are doing.

Social media feeds off our natural tendency as humans to want to feel apart of something and not feel left out. They know what they are doing, in other words. The more addicted they can get you to that fear of missing out the more they can pull you in to view their ads, their propaganda, their view of the world. We are all slowly being brainwashed and sadly many of us like it.

We like being told how to think and what to believe and that our government and corporate officials want to take care of us. It’s soothing and calming to think others are taking care of us and have our best interest at heart. What a rude awakening when one day we realize they only want to manipulate us into one way of thinking and living by telling us some fact checker deemed our views as “incorrect and wrong.”

George Orwell wrote in his book 1984 (which I think should be required reading for all ages in this day and age):

Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.

If social media can dismantle your beliefs and tell you what you believe, they can control you so you’ll buy the products of their advertisers and maybe even vote for the people they allow to advertise there. Scary to think about it, isn’t it?

But also scary is that social media can also steal your creativity and leave you hollow and confused inside.

What’s the answer?

The answer is for each of us to decide, but for me my answer is to push social media aside as much as I can so I can hear my own beliefs, my own thoughts and my own creativity.

Escaping negativity. I can do that. Just let me set up this website blocker.

Commenting on one of the chapters of A New Beginning that I shared last week, a blog reader told me she likes to read my stories (and serial stories on other blogs like it) to escape from all the negativity in the world today. I told her that was the very reason I was sharing my book in progress on my blog. Not only do I use the story to escape from the negativity of the world, but I want to give others something a little lighter to focus on too.

Last year I deleted my Facebook. Four months later, I added it back to manage my blog page, which I had been managing from a “ghost account.” Here I am again, around the same time I deleted it last year, and I’m ready to delete it again. I won’t delete it again, however, because it is the only way my son currently communicates with one of his friends since I have a Messenger Kids account for him.

Since I don’t want to cut off their main way of communicating at this time (we live 40 minutes away from his friend so we don’t see him every day and this lets them video chat), I’ve instead set up blocks on my computer to remove the temptation of wasting my life away by scrolling on an inane site that often makes life worse, not better.

And yes, I do have that little willpower that I have to set up blocks to keep me off social media, or at least off Facebook. I don’t actually visit other social media sites. I loathe Twitter even more than I loathe Facebook and Pinterest is completely useless and stupid to me. I infrequently use Instagram. I used to use it two or three times a day but haven’t done that since sometime in the fall, I think it was. I finally got sick of caring about whether people cared about what I cared about.

As for Facebook, I get addicted to that not by being on it hours at a time, but by checking it briefly several times a day when I am avoiding doing other things – like packing to move and facing all the emotions with that and facing the reasons for my continuing lack of friendships. When you have spent the majority of your downtime for almost a decade logging into a stupid social media site to do something other than what you should be doing, it can be a hard habit to break.

It’s pretty much a built-in reflex now to wake up and type “Facebook” into my computer each day, which is sad and pathetic. I don’t know what I’m looking for on there anyhow. I never feel better after logging off Facebook. I almost always feel worse and even lonelier than before.

(Incidentally, I don’t click the app on my phone because I haven’t had the Facebook app installed on my phone in two, maybe even three, years.)

Instead of distracting me from loneliness, like I always think it will, being on Facebook fuels my sadness over my lack of friendships because I can see all of those former friends on Facebook, living life and laughing with each other and not caring at all whether I live or die. Yet, each day I believe the lie social media creators like Mark Zuckerberg have drilled into our heads — if you’re not on social media, you’re missing out. In reality, sadly, I am missing out on social media and off it, but maybe someday I will be in the inner circle once again. Like when I’m in my 70s and sitting in a sewing circle.

In the same way that checking out my former friends on Facebook is unhealthy and needs to stop, checking out the latest news about all kinds of bad things going on in the world today is also unhealthy and desperately needs to stop. That’s why in addition to blocking social media from my browser, I have also blocked news sites. My husband works in news, so if a bomb goes off somewhere or some politician gets shot, he’ll let me know. I don’t need to keep reading all the negativity about viruses and nuclear threats and wars and screaming politicians day after day after day. I can create enough negativity within my own mind without all of that. A person can only take so much of that before their mental health starts to be affected negatively.

Like I have done before, I am replacing social media and news with anything I can escape into. Well, not anything – not illicit sex or drugs – but I mean, entertainment or hobbies. I’m blogging (obviously) and often about stupid things (obviously).

I’m writing (books and blog posts).

I’m taking some photos (sometimes anyhow).

I’m reading books.

I’m watching movies.

The bottom line? I’m escaping as much as I can but I know that I can’t escape the bad of life forever.  (I went to check my weather app today and there were articles about that virus when on there!!) If I could live in my bathtub with bubbles and a cup of hot peppermint tea and book for the rest of my life, I probably would at this point.

So, how about you? How do you escape from the stresses of life? Good books? Good movies? Dumb movies (or is that just me?)? Hobbies? Let me know in the comments. If it’s something illegal or dangerous to your personal being, please don’t share here. Just get some help. 😉

Where is the decorum when someone famous dies? Apparently, out the window.

On Sunday, as many of you already know, retired NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash, along with his 13-year old daughter and seven other people. You would have thought a god had died the way people fell on their faces in the street at the news of Kobe’s passing. He was a great basketball player, sure, but he was a human being like everyone else. I suppose some would say he was a “basketball god.”

I sometimes wish others who died tragically, like soldiers or police officers, were mourned the same way. I won’t say the news didn’t hit me in any way. It did. I was immediately heartbroken for his family and even more so when I leaned his daughter was on board. I never really watched Kobe play because I am not a huge basketball fan but I had definitely heard of him. He graduated school the same year as I did and I followed his career some because my brother predicted during some famous high school game that he would be drafted out of high school and be super famous. And he was, of course.

Showing that we as a society have a complete lack of decorum when faced with the death of a celebrity, not even 24 hours after the accident people were putting things online between the pilot and air control, questioning if the pilot made the right decision. Others were sharing private stories about the victims before the coroner even confirmed they died. One newspaper didn’t even let the adoration last a day. By the next morning, they were already dragging skeletons out of Kobe’s closet, reminding the world Bryant had once been accused of rape. The keyword being “accused” because the case never went to trial but was instead settled out of court (although I’d say if there was settling going on then someone, ahem, was pretty sure he was guilty.).

Oddly, unlike what happens with others, this 2003 incident was widely overlooked and ignored by the general public at the news of Kobe’s death. Had the alleged incident happened in the age of “me too” Kobe, rightly so, would have been blacklisted and no one would have ever accepted his insistence the incident was consensual. They also might not have worshiped him outside the Staple Center yesterday. The charges were settled out of court after the 19-year old accuser’s story started to crumble and Kobe confessed to a consensual one night stand and adultery.

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Credit Getty Images

Now that Kobe has died tragically, after being at the height of his career for so long, should we ignore his past mistake and pretend it never happened? I don’t think so but I also think that maybe his remains could be recovered and put in the ground with his daughter’s before we start salivating over the less “pretty” details of his past. I love how one columnist took him to task about how he handled the past incident without knowing the man or even the details of what really transpired between him and the girl, or even the character of the girl.

I know everyone (including me) generally balk at the idea of questioning an alleged victim, but there were those who thought the young lady saw dollar signs once she realized who she slept with. I hope that isn’t true and I hope she has found healing all these years later, regardless of what truly happened. And I truly, truly do not advocate victim-blaming/shaming and am only playing Devil’s advocate here. I have a horrible feeling, after reading past reports about the case, she was not seeking fame at all and was telling the truth. I can not imagine the conflicting feelings she is dealing with now, if she is even still alive after all the victim shaming she received from the media and Kobe fans back in 2003.

Here we are, though, taking him to task while his body is lifeless on a hill in California, waiting to be ID’d by the coroner’s office. He should be taken to task, yes, absolutely, and he has been over the years (and will continue to be), but I don’t see how doing it now, seconds to hours after it was revealed he died, helps his wife and daughters heal. I hope to God they are staying away from media reports. Members of the media just love to praise and trash someone in the same breath (much like my mother-in-law.)

There really is no decorum when a celebrity dies and though I am not among the many celebrity worshippers of this country, I think it’s awful. I don’t actually hold celebrities (not even the Christian ones) on a pedestal. I find it aggravating that so many news sites feature so-called “news” about celebrities at the top of the page, as if I care that they cried during their Grammy performance, are making out with this or that person, or their dress was so see-through they might as well not have been wearing it.

I might enjoy a movie they are in or like a song they sing but I don’t bow to their shrines of popularity and narcissism. Face it, to be a celebrity is to possess at least a tinge of narcissism, if not a whole helping. Wallflowers don’t generally go running into the spotlight. People who are self-focused and what everyone else to be focused on them, do. Actors and singers are somewhat mentally ill, in that they crave and are validated by the attention of others to the point they almost whither away without it.

However, that mental illness is something all of us possess if it is tapped into. Think about how our hearts skip a beat if someone “likes” one of our social media posts (or even our blog posts). And if we log into a site and there is a whole row of notifications telling us we are important. Oh my. We are in endorphins and dopamine heaven. We get a shot of dopamine each time we are complimented, praised, or paid attention to, and that’s addictive to any human being. If it wasn’t, Zuckerberg and his cronies wouldn’t be so rich.

But then there is the flip side of all that attention celebrities crave and then receive. Eventually, the attention can become unwanted by the celebrity as it spills over into the personal life, into the past, into every nitty-gritty detail that really isn’t anyone’s business. Did that celebrity wear “blackface” one time when they were a kid because they wanted to look like a famous black person on Halloween? Completely unaware that trying to make their costume more realistic would later be harkened as racist in the future, they carried on, only to be labeled “ignorant, racist scum” once an adult. Does the public really have to know about a celebrity’s sexual dysfunction or their brother who died in a tragic way or their every painful moment in their life, simply because they opened up one side of themselves — the talented side?

The public always wants more and claims the celebrity “asked for it” because they put themselves in the limelight. First, wow. Isn’t that what rapists say about their victims? And isn’t the public, in a way, violating a celebrity’s rights by continually demanding to know every detail of their life? Second, they only put their talent in the limelight, which doesn’t give the public the right to have access to every dark corner of their soul. Only God has that right.

The thing is, the same adoring fans who once lifted you up and praise you, will rip you down and eat you alive not even 24 hours later. Kobe is being mourned now, but as we see with the article reminding us of his past sins, it won’t be long before some will begin to spit on his grave, and it will come before the week is out. (Right after I wrote this several articles came up about his past sins, so… it didn’t even make 48 hours.)

Or, will the celebrity worshippers win and will Kobe join the ranks of Michael Jackson, Elvis, Freddie Mercury and so many others who battled demons that no one considers or mentions while in mid-bow. Maybe the big difference with Kobe is that his life reflected change and he worked hard to leave his demons behind.

In the case of the others, they lived risky lives or hurt others and never had the chance to make amends (if they had ever wanted to) yet celebrity worshippers still bow at their memories. And yet another maybe: Maybe it’s okay to remember the talent these celebrities had and to honor that talent, while also remembering we shouldn’t live like them by taking drugs, abusing children or sleeping around and contracting diseases. We can also remember that these celebrities and we have something in common – we are humans created in the image of God and because he gave us free will, we will fail, we will fall, and are imperfect. Some of us will learn from our failings in time to save us and some of us will succumb to those failings, like some of the celebrities I mentioned above.

I only hope that no matter what leads to our end, a self-made tragedy or an accidental one, that our society one day develops more decorum when discussing our passing. I hate to leave it on a negative note but looking at the state of our world today, I don’t have much faith that will ever happen.

Currently . . . November

I saw this new theme at Erin at Still Life, with Cracker Crumb’s blog (hosted by Anne at In Residence) so I thought I would jump in this month for fun!

The idea is to post what your picking and preparing, trying, feeling, and following for the upcoming month. We’ll see how this goes!

Picking and preparing: I’m picking up butternut squash from my dad, or at least I was supposed to get more of it this week, so I can make some butternut squash soup for us, them and others. I made it last year and it was so good. I used the Pioneer Woman’s recipe but I made a lot of adjustments, to the point I pretty much only added the squash, a few potatoes, onion powder and a couple of cups of milk. I don’t need heavy whipping cream for everything like Ree does.

I think I also added carrots to mine. I cooked it all in the Instapot and then blended it with my immersion blender, put it in a pot on the stove and cooked it down some more. The only part that is a pain for me is softening the butternut squash enough that I can cut it up. I’m a wimp and can’t cut it while it is raw so I have to soften it in the Instapot and then scoop out the insides and cut it up and sometimes I overcook it in the Instapot and it becomes a mushy mess while I try to pull the skin off of it. Can you tell I am not a cook?

The most important tip for butternut squash soup is to pick up some mozerella and melt it all over the top of your bowl of soup. Sooo good!

000047_DSC_2274Trying: I am trying to count calories and keep a food diary. I’ve never thought counting calories was the way to go to lose weight but I’ve watched my mom do this in the last year and she’s down 50-some pounds, maybe even close to 60 now. I have a feeling one of my biggest issues is that I don’t actually eat enough calories and I don’t have enough protein throughout the day. My mom has a certain amount of protein and carbs at each meal and fills up on vegetables as well. I know perimenopause and hypothyroidism are against me in the weight loss effort but about seven years ago I lost close to 40 pounds by dropping all wheat, dairy and sugar and adding natural progesterone to balance my hormones I’m doing all of that again and am hoping it helps not only with the weight but with a myraid of symptoms.

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Feeling: Feeling is a difficult one. I’m feeling a mix of emotions these days. I’m lonely many days. I don’t have any close friends anymore. I’m feeling anxious because we need to find a house closer to my husband’s job and my parents and that has proved to be much easier said than done. But, in the midst of it all, I’m also feeling somewhat optimistic as I continue to work on my stories and simply have fun by posting them here on my blog, on Kindle, or wherever I want.

Following: Much less than I used to follow, if we are referring to social media. I’ve been taking longer breaks from all social media. I am following more authors on Instagram than I used to, but right now Instagram isn’t even on my phone. I find myself feeling super jittery after looking at Facebook or Instagram (don’t even ask about Twitter. I don’t have an account). I hate how I can be scrolling along looking at happy photos and bump into someone yelling about politics or the environment or any number of things. It’s just too much sometimes and my brain can’t keep up with it all.

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Even the stuff that is good for me is overwhelming. “Read this Bible verse/devotional!” “Watch this sermon!” I can’t keep up with it all and I notice my heart starts racing and my breath quickens as I try to bounce from tab to tab. I’ve resorted to deleting it all from my phone and blocking Facebook throughout much of the day, only looking at it a couple of times to see updates from the few friends I have left on there.

So how about all of you? What are you all up to, or plan to be up to in November? Let me know in the comments!


All images by Lisa R. Howeler and available on Lightstock.com.

The noise of social media is deafening

The mental noise stirred up by social media is deafening – so deafening we can’t hear ourselves think. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest are all blaring in our ears and the words they are screaming are “Look at me! Look at me! Look at me!” Every one of those sites wants our attention and that means our focus is divided in at least five different digital-based ways throughout the day. Add to that the attention we need for our jobs and our families that doesn’t leave much time for us to think or catch our mental breath. It certainly doesn’t leave much time for ourselves, or more importantly, God.

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Last week I found myself caught up in scrolling too much. I scrolled this site and that site and flipped from this app to that app. Throw in some family, and other, life stresses and my brain was practically buzzing by the end of the week, and not in a good way. My thoughts were flitting from one quandary to the next, every few moments. It was like I was turning the channels on the TV or flipping through YouTube videos, only it was my panicked thoughts.

Sitting in the bathtub in a near panic attack from the inability to focus on one thought at a time, I knew what I had to do. I picked up my phone and started deleting apps. I deactivated Facebook, took Instagram off my phone (Facebook hasn’t been on my phone for over a year) and then slid the phone far away from me and picked up a book.

My brain is a jumbled mess on speed even without social media. Throw in a thousand photos or articles at me a day about God knows what, and my brain overloads and eventually shuts down, sending me to a corner, hyperventilating and repeating “There’s nothing like silence” over and over again. Honestly, our brains weren’t made for social media. Our brain can’t comprehend so much information being shoved at it at one time.

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When I first started all this social media nonsense, I could handle a few hours of it a day before my brain filter broke and I had to log off. Eventually, I could only be on a couple hours a day and then it was an hour and now I can barely handle five minutes (some days much, much less) before I simply log back off again. Everyone has an opinion and I’m tired of having to muster up the mental energy to either agree or disagree with that opinion. So often I can’t even manage to care what someone else is thinking about or doing, let alone care what hundreds of people think about an issue.

Detoxing from social media helps my mental health immensely, but it also increases my creativity and productivity. Imagine what we could all accomplish if we turned over our phones and computers more often – or at least silenced the social media monster.

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In need of stock photography for your blog, event, church, or other organization? You can find my stock images at Lightstock.com or Alamy.com.

 

Why I can’t seem to get myself back on Instagram

I was off Instagram for almost a month and I don’t feel really interested in going back to it. I did log back on this week and as usual my visual brain was completely overloaded and I started stressing over politics (because while people used to just post photos, now they think they have to be social justice warriors at all times), stressing over the sad stories of people dying, and feeling completely inadequate as a mother because I don’t take my children on fancy European vacations. I did contemplate faking a European vacation and posting about that but since I’m pretty sick and tired of the “fakeness” of social media, I decided against that.

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To me, Instagram has become a place for voyeurism and a chance to brag about trips or wealth in an attempt to be validated by a bunch of strangers.

I used it to share my photography simply because I enjoyed connecting with other photographers but there was a time I got caught up in the validation cycle too. I would look at the numbers of likes and comment on posts, hoping others would comment or follow back. This was very short-lived, however, because the idea of networking with a bunch of strangers for attention made me sick to my stomach. And the idea that having a bunch of likes and followers would translate to paying photography customers was looking more and more ridiculous, probably because the photography business was an obvious failure for me.

Now that I could care less about being validated by a bunch of strangers, I hesitate every time I start to post a photo. I mean – who cares if my kid jumped off a ladder at the pool or played with the dog in the yard? Then again, I guess photos like that can be a distraction from the more self-serving ones and from all the political ridiculousness we see on social media anymore. Posting artistic photos over bragging ones is more my goal since I don’t have fancy trips to photograph or a fancy yacht to relax on.

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I think those of us who don’t get the chance to go on all those fancy trips should remember that the people behind the photos may not have the perfect, awe-inspiring lives we think they do. Their feed may look pristine and exotic but behind the scenes they may be dealing with trials we can’t see. The photos from Honolulu might be beautiful but they may be hiding a broken marriage, abuse or addiction.

And the woman who is on her tenth trip in the year to somewhere exotic may post all those photos because every day she’s pushing down the gnawing fear that she’s going to end up alone. Those trips may be a way to cover up a fracture in her family. Perhaps the woman laying on the beach in a bikini on her social media faced a situation in her life that turned her world upside down so now she’s decided life’s too short not to experience everything she can in her remaining years. Maybe she’s just spent her entire savings on that trip simply to forget about the sadness at home.

In other words, while we (I) shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, we (I) also shouldn’t judge the person behind the Instagram feed by the photos they share.

But back to my Instagram (Me! Me! Me! . . . Just kidding.) I’m not sure what I want to do with it anymore. Like I said, I like posting fun photos of the kids or artistic images I take, but really, I could care less if strangers online know about my personal life so I don’t know if I will be posting much more on Instagram. If I do, I don’t think I’ll be using hashtags to draw more attention to them. I’ll share them for any friends or family who follow me or for any online friends I’ve made.

How about you? Are you an Instagram user or follower? What’s your motivation for using it? For fun? Business? Simple connection? Or validation? None of those reasons are actually bad – they’re just real. Let me know in the comments.

(And yes, I’m sharing photos in this post. For validation? Actually, no. I added photos to this post because my posts have been really bland lately and need some sprucing up.)

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Despite dire warnings of my demise if I did so, I deleted Facebook

When I Googled how to delete my personal Facebook account permanently, many sites warned me how much I would regret it, but this weekend I finally pulled the plug on Facebook. In other words, I deleted my entire account (gasp!) and plummeted myself back into the dark ages. If you’re reading this on Facebook, it’s because I set up an account in another name and also added my husband as an administrator of my page so I can still share my blog posts but not operate a personal Facebook page.

Here is what one site said when I looked up the directions to delete my account: “Deleting your Facebook account is a serious decision, so make sure it’s something you really want to do. Whether you like it or not, social media is ingrained in society, and your Facebook profile can affect friendships, job prospects, and social opportunities. Remember that there are also ways to secure your Facebook privacy settings., if that’s your particular concern.”

The site really sounded like a Facebook propaganda site. They certainly wanted to be sure you knew how much your life is going to suck without Facebook. Still, there were other sites that encouraged me to pull the plug. One of them featured an article by a working professional photographer who deleted all his social media accounts to increase his creativity. He had been warned the move would sink his business financially but instead his business increased because he was actually networking the old fashioned way – in person and by handing out business cards.

One of the only things I will miss about Facebook is being able to harass my dad online and share photos with friends, but, to be honest, most of those friends stopped talking to me a long time ago, and maybe because social media has made us much less interested in actually interacting with people. Or maybe my friends stopped talking to me simply because I’m annoying. Whatever the reason, I don’t actually have any friends I talk to regularly anymore. I noticed a couple of them also started talking to me less when I wasn’t on social media as much as I used to be. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess?

The thing is, the idea behind Facebook is to keep people in touch with each other. Instead, I now have less friends than I did when I hopped on the site ten years ago. I have also lost friends because of Facebook. Those friends either didn’t appreciate my political or religious beliefs and told me so (in comments or messenger because, hello! No one actually talks on the phone or in-person anymore), got annoyed at something I said or did online (who knows, they just stopped talking to me), or I suppose thought anything they needed to know about me they could read in my wall and didn’t need to actually talk to me.

One relationship ended because of this blog after someone in my life actually read one of my posts (very rare), took offense to it and told everyone else about it and completely misrepresented what the post was about. And where did they see about the blog post? You know where. Otherwise, they never would have bothered to read my blog.

Only a couple of my friends from college speak to me. I can’t even recall the last time one of them spoke to me without me making contact first. Only one friend from high school now speaks to me, once in a while, and she doesn’t as often because she and her husband recently started their own business (and they’re really good at it and busy, which is awesome!).

I realize the two above paragraphs sound like whining and I don’t mean it to be. If you could hear my tone, you could hear that I am more of the mindset of “it’s simply the way it is”, instead of a lament. These are simply the realizations I came to while trying to argue with God that I still need Facebook. When these thoughts came to mind I felt almost as if I was being reminded that communication by writing really hasn’t strengthened any of the relationships I have had. If anything it has destroyed almost all of them.

All this is to say this: leaving Facebook really won’t affect me that much. While it did help me to pretend that I’m not as alone in life as I really am, the family and friends I once talked to on there no longer speak to me. What’s left are fear-mongering articles about a variety of issues and twenty thousand screaming political rants. My nerves need the break and I’m looking forward to it – even if it does mean feeling the crush of loneliness even more.

I read a recent article by someone who quit Facebook because it was making him feel lonely. He said his friends felt they were being real friends by liking and commenting but that they rarely saw him in person.

“They (my friends) had stopped doing these things because they truly believed they were playing their part in maintaining our friendship by “liking” a post, commenting on a post, tagging me in a post or worst of all just lurking around my posts knowing what I was doing but not even interacting with the posts. My “friends” believed they were still being good friends. That made me feel lonely. I longed for true human connection with these friends. I wanted authenticity. I wanted honesty. I wanted true friends, warts and all, bricks and mortar.”

His last paragraph is what I’ll leave you with because it is along the same lines of what I’ve been thinking and feeling. And it’s why I’m hoping I can find some real, lasting friendships in the future.

Nat Duncan writes:

“It may be morbid, but lately I’ve been imagining my funeral. A simple coffin (empty because I’ve left my body to science) with my friends all gathered around it, dressed in black, all holding a single red rose, and tearfully saying “I only just yesterday liked one of her posts” “oh I haven’t seen her in two years but I loved her Facebook rants” “I will miss commenting on her posts” “I met another Facebook friend through her” “I didn’t even know she was sick, I just saw she was still on Facebook” The curtain closes – and they all update their Facebook status (not to the intensity of Bowie’s passing but with some poignancy) to ensure their “friends” know that they are here, with me, being real friends.” – source: The Sydney Morning Herald.

Let’s focus on living instead of dying

People are depressed. I mean it, people. People all around me are depressed.

I can’t turn around without someone standing there or writing somewhere that they are in mourning. The people who are having family members dying, or announcing cancer or abuse is all around me these days. I don’t get why it seems to be happening more and more but it’s probably because I’m getting older. Maybe I was in a fog as a kid and don’t remember all the death and tragedy as much?

I don’t know.

Or maybe people simply tend to share more sadness than happiness and that’s why we are all in the gutter of attitudes some days. We need to share sadness and sadness will happen, it can’t be helped, so don’t get me wrong here.

My brother has been going on for a couple of weeks about he and his wife’s plan for deleting their social media. It’s a good thing but you would think it’s a religious experience for them with all the philosophical statements my brother makes. Or maybe he’s just dramatic (thank God I never am. Ha. Ha.)

My brother has been answering some who ask about his reason for kicking the big “fbook” to the curb, by saying he wants to “make the best of his remaining years.”

He turns 50 in June and in his world 50 is the new 80. But it seems to be where we all are these days (including me) – this impending sense of doom and negativity. We remind ourselves so often that “life is short” and “you never know WHEN YOU WILL DIE!!” in warnings that are supposed to be encouraging that we have forgotten to remind each other to simply live.

I get it. We only get one trip around the sun.

We all die.

Life is short.

That message has been drilled into my head a lot over the years and just in case I didn’t get it I lost three relatives in nine months and a handful of community members passed away as well.

Death is coming.

It’s around the bend.

The grim reaper stands at our door.

But not yet.

Being realistic about death is fine.

Being honest about it is important.

Grieving is important and talking about our grief is very important (so this is not meant as a scolding to those who are grieving), but for all that is good and holy stop reminding everyone they are on the path to death, finding ways to weave it into conversations.

About two years ago death loomed over me like a dark cloud. Test results and severe hypochondria coupled with a mental breakdown had made me decide I had blood cancer and there was no hope. Every day I thought of death and how it was coming and eventually I stopped living. My dog of 14-years died, my aunt’s health was not good, and my husband’s uncle passed away.

One day I was out in our yard trying to make a garden, though I didn’t know why because I was sure I wouldn’t be around the enjoy it. Suddenly I heard a voice within me say “Stop focusing on death and start focusing on living.”

The voice of God? I don’t know but I know I hadn’t been thinking any positive thoughts on my own for about three months at that point.

We can’t really live if all we do is think about how we are dying.

We need to remind people they are on the path of life and life is good much of the time. Maybe telling ourselves we are simply walking toward a new life in the after life is a better idea.

Soon spring will be here and flowers will bloom and birds will chirp and the sky will blue again.

Why don’t we all look toward that new life instead of the grave?