Time doesn’t heal, it just changes your perspective

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I presumably share more things on this blog about my personal life than people want to read. But starting this blog eight years ago gave me a forum to write about whatever I choose to write about and if you, who are following, still want to read along, I thank you for being a part of my journey.

The beginning of this new month, new year and new decade has not started well for me. I had to say goodbye to the truest form of devotion I have known and I miss her presence every single moment. One day at a time, I have had to forge ahead and rewrite the scenes as I go. I thought I would be performing the original script for many more years to come, but such is not the case and the blank pages are waiting for a new story to unfold.

Slowly, I am beginning to build my new life one sentence at a time. As I construct those sentences, they become paragraphs and those flowing, connective words will eventually become a new story. It is an arduous task, but one I have to undertake with a strong will and the faith that good things wait ahead for me.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have begun to focus more on myself. I have selfishly decided the needs of the one (me) might (if only temporarily) outweigh the needs of the many I have been focusing on for a very long time.

Time doesn’t feel like it is healing me, but merely making me look at things with a fresh, and possibly transitory self-indulgent, perspective and, for once, I am giving in to that prospect. I go into the unknown with the understanding that time holds me in its furtive embrace, willing me to see things in a new light.

Side line – as I was writing this post, I was called out on social media for wanting to get a “look at me” tattoo to honor my faithful companion of twelve years. I was made painfully aware that the money I will spend on having her memory etched onto my skin could be seen as a frivolous expenditure and money better spent on causes that could use that donation. My rebuttal to that notion will be as brief as I can make it.

For the past four years, I have spent every Sunday, weather permitting, from November to April, bringing together volunteers to make crockpot meals for our local food bank so the clients can have healthy, home-cooked meals at least once a week. The time spent choosing the meals, making the shopping lists, picking up all of the ingredients and preparing the meals has healed many parts of me and has certainly changed my perspective in many aspects of my life.

Time will never heal my losses. It won’t bring back my parents, my best college friend or my dog. But time will give me many opportunities to put my best foot forward and help in the most essential ways I feel I can help. Time will allow me to engage those volunteers. Time will help me shop for those groceries. Time will help plan those meals and orchestrate the process from food preparation to delivery. And time will help me heal the gaping wounds of my losses by getting tattoos that help me surf the gigantic waves of the grief I encounter from losing those close to me.

Thanks to that hurtful message on social media, time has, once again, changed my perspective. I have time to ignore that viewpoint. I have time to wipe my tears and realize it shouldn’t affect me as much as I let it. And I have time to focus on the good in me and let that good change my perspective on someone I thought was a friend.

 

 

Think Twice Before You Post

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Social media has taken over the way we communicate with each other.  When I was a child (and yes, this will make me seem old) we didn’t have cell phones to text every waking idea.  Instead, we wrote letters – in long hand!!  For those of you studying history it was called “cursive”.  We had pen pals from around the world and when we wished to communicate with them we drafted well thought out letters, put a stamp on an envelope and sent it out across the void.  It may have taken weeks, even months, to reach its destination but we also didn’t have to worry about how many other people would read, and potentially misinterpret, the message we conveyed.

stanford-tuck envelope 3

(image credit: forum.keypublishing.com)

The ease of communication now is also dominating the amount of information that we share with others on the social media sites but there are many out there who don’t take the time to think of what they are posting before it’s out there….for ALL to see.  We have such a need to interact with people but we don’t take the time to second guess the content of what we are sharing and who we are conceivably sharing it with.

Facebook and Twitter make publicizing our lives far too easy.  With one click of a button, your latest thought, action or location can be sent into cyberspace and be laid at the feet of the millions of people with access to the “information highway”.  What we don’t think about ahead of time is the fact that once that data has been shared it cannot be un-shared.  You may think that by pressing delete on your keyboard that the material is no longer available, but think again.  It has been data stamped and encrypted and is still recoverable.

There are many minds out there that are far more creative and light years beyond us in terms of technology that have unlimited access to those morsels of personal details that you felt the need to share.  And they, in turn, may feel the need to resurrect that fragment of your life and make you vulnerable in a way you never thought possible.  Innocent pictures of your “girls night out” may find themselves on websites with completely ulterior motives.  Your potential new employer may, and most likely will, seek you out on Facebook to see if the information you have used to beef up your resume has any semblance of truth.  They will also judge your character on the photos you have chosen to share with the world.

Choose your words and your images wisely.  I am trying not to be hypocritical in this post as I am a humble slave to social media.  This blog would not exist were it not for the ease of sharing thoughts and ideas across the vast blogosphere and sharing my posts through Facebook and Twitter.  But I do give pause to the content of my words and status updates before I hit the publish button.  Although I am free to write about any topic I choose, I also want my words to portray my character in a way that I feel truly represents the person I am and will leave no room for any of those words to come back and haunt me.

Don’t always trust the privacy settings to give you that sense of security.  The only real security you can have is filtering the information you post in the first place.  The postman only used to ring twice.  Words that have been sent into cyberspace will ring forever.

Things that have been seen, cannot be unseen

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Social-Media-Marketing

Social media has been at the forefront of our communication for a while.   Perhaps I have just recently noticed, or perhaps I was blind to it before, but it seems the more social media is used now, the more it becomes misused.  I’ll admit I used to enjoy Facebook, but it has become less of an interest the more my eyes became privy to far too many personal issues being aired on the internet.

I am not, by any means, being hypocritical as I too have used this blog to vent some frustrations, but there are limits to what I will spew out into cyber space.  The rules of social conduct still guide my brain and do not allow me to cross the line of over-sharing information or being unjustifiably vindictive.

Before the ever-changing Facebook screen began to fade from my daily ritual,  I was one of hundreds to have my news feed littered with vulgarities and horribly personal comments as two people ended their relationship in a way that truly resembled most reality shows.  It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion – some of the things that were said back and forth were ruthless and unnecessary, but the two involved somehow felt it appropriate for those things to be shared with all of us.

It was an easy decision for me to avoid the written daggers that were being thrown with the force of an Olympian because I have no personal stake in whether that relationship thrives or dies a horrible death.  But words on the internet penetrate millions of eyes, and sadly, four of those eyes more than likely belong to her two children.  I know they have their own Facebook accounts and, unless the power of the magic eraser cleansed those Facebook walls before they saw them, they will have experienced something that never should have been aired in such a public forum in the first place.

I still use my Facebook account infrequently, as it is still a place that I can share this blog with my friends.  But that uncomfortable public display of a  genuinely personal issue made me rethink how much information and the nature of that material I am willing to share.