December 5, 2014

Too Much Facebook

Today I started to post my "status update" to Facebook when I realized that my "friends" know too many details about my personal life. Why do I feel the need to tell them I'm struggling with my weight and counting calories again? It surprises me when I see a friend somewhere in town or another city and he/she knows all about my family, my thoughts, and what activites I've done lately. They even know about my cats and my son's dog who lives with us.  Although, it really should not surprise me. After all, I posted dirty laundry and all on Facebook for the world to see. Why would I do that?

My blog has suffered since I got on Facebook. Entries to Etxgirl.blogspot.com are fewer than when I first began the blog due to spending too much time writing status updates sometimes 3 to 4 times daily and reading everyone elses posts. What was left for me to write about? It occured to me that the need to write about what is going on in my life was the whole reason I began a blog. The blog is an outlet to process thoughts and "tell" people about me, my life. It also occured to me that is the reason I stay on Facebook so much. Even more intoxicating is the instant response I receive in comments from my friends on Facebook. It is the addictive nature in me to check in to see who has commented on a post or a picture I shared. To my detriment, my curiosity can't wait to read later what has been commented on by my friends.

So, I have decided that instead of checking Facebook daily I will allow myself a weekly check in or update, then log off after each checkin. I am impressed by friends who are never on Facebook or who read but do not post. They show great self control in my opinon. Also, I'm sure they never watch serial TV with multiple episodes just because they can. That's another thing I have a tendency to do, binge TV watching of a particular series. That, however, is a subject for another blog. 

My hope is by spending less time online, my daily tasks will be completed. Typing up a story a couple of times a week or month (I'll see how it goes.) will give me the satisfaction of telling about something that has happened in my life or family. Also, by limiting myself, I hope to not devulge so many personal details that really should be kept to myself or close family. 

Today I started counting caloriess I put into my system each day. This is not new, but a reoccuring activity for me. My life is full of do-overs. Weight has been a struggle all of my life. Self control is not one of my strong points. That is why I was drinking too much several years ago. The over-drinking is under control now. It is clear to me that I tend to binge on quick self-gratifying things like drinking, eating, and watching TV marthons of my favorite characters. Television "friends" are a little like Facebook friends. They are not really here for me. It can't be healthy for me to spend so much time with digital friends.

Finally, I want to deepen my relationship with Jesus. Maybe cutting back on Facebook or any other social media will aide in that endeavor. Our church family are loving people, but I'm often too judgemental of them. As Christians we are called to serve others in need and to love one another. I see my church community serving where I am not. They love each other enough to gather 2 or 3 times weekly with each other. My daily interaction with Facebook friends will not grow my faith or love of God's children. I know what I have to do and pray for the self control to do it.

Lord God, forgive my foolish ways. Help me, help others. Amen

November 6, 2014

A New Typing Tool

I am learning to type on a small 12" keyboard that I bought to go with my iPad. My 8 year old Macbook Pro wouldn't open her monitor last week. I had to take her to Fry's electronics store today for their tech guys to remove her hard drive. She sits in the new case we bought her former body now an empty shell. Next, I will connect her new USB to another computer to see if she lives externally. If she does, then, I can download all the files and photos from her hard drive to keep in Dropbox.

My husband says that he wouldn't have to worry at all about his files because he has been downloading everything he writes onto Dropbox for a long time. Gee, Honey, thanks for sharing. Oh well...it was cheaper to pay to have the hard drive removed, buy an external case and a keyboard with bluetooth for my iPad, than it would be to purchase a new Macbook Pro.

There will probably be another computer at some point though. I don't mind this mini keyboard and screen for now, but it just is not big enough. I was able to download Microscoft Word to use on the iPad and it works just like the old version on the old computer. I also like that I was able to sync to Dropbox for saving files, but still, it is like playing a concerto on a toy piano. So small.

While the size does seem to matter for me, it doesn't matter to Homer. It's a computer, I am trying to type and he will try to lay his head on my hands on the keyboard. *eyes rolling*


October 17, 2014

Serenity


Sometimes we need a fairy godmother to wave her wand over our lives. A wave of her wand and old cars are new, house repairs are done, yard work a thing of the past and sad feelings go away. Or I know my Christian friends would say we need Jesus and all that is needed is to pray to God for help. That is how I was raised, to believe that Jesus is the answer to all our problems. I know in my head that is true, but sometimes, what I observe doesn’t seem to be in my heart that prayers fix problems.

Either way, whether by fairy godmother or God, we need some relief from stress and worries that tend to be creeping into our lives. And since I’m certain a fairy godmother doesn’t exist, I must rely on my God who I know does exist. It is nothing earth shattering like catastrophe by nature or tragedy by death or any of a number of horrific circumstances we hear of unfortunate individuals living with these days that has me wishing on a star. No, it is simply change in life. Transition from a once active person both physically and mentally, to a slower person’s days interrupted by the occasional specialty doctor visit or even an ER visit while we deal with new aches and pains in our mortal bodies. Some of us don’t slow down with ease or grace. Accepting that our lives much change just because our bodies are aging is difficult. We enjoyed, and mostly took for granted, our abilities to simply go out in the backyard to pull weeds, bend down to pick up sticks or mop the floors, even doing our daily jobs is different now that we are older.

When we can’t do what we want because of physical or mental stress, it is a big deal particularly if we have not experienced that feeling of helplessness or illness before. Something others might not notice is that we are sad about this change. We long for the old days when we had more energy, could move easier, stay up long hours, sleep late on Saturdays, work around our house and go to work on Monday with the vitality we once had. Above all we miss being happy about our lives.

Retirement at 55 years old perhaps was too early for me to throw in the towel. I still substitute teach and give tests with our school district. I attempted other part time jobs, but none seemed to be a good fit for me. The jobs didn’t feel comfortable or like I was making a needed contribution that mattered. Substitute teaching and getting back into schools around familiar surroundings and things I know has felt like going home. Working with students, in my opinion, is making worthwhile contributions to society and it’s like riding a bike for me. The money would be better if I’d work more days, but then, where would the retirement come in? No, I am past dealing with children’s behavior issues or getting worked up because my stomach is not cooperating on an early morning before classes start. It’s just too much to deal with anymore, but still, I miss being part of the education team. The thing I particularly miss is the paycheck every month. So, to work a few days a week or in situations where there is little stress, suits my needs even if it doesn’t suit my bank account.

My husband has not retired yet, but switched jobs 2 years ago from a high school theater teacher to a community college theater instructor. He’s good at it, but I believe the change in institutions was more than he anticipated. There are new rules, policies and lessons to learn, more pressure to succeed. Hours rehearsing a play are long and tiring, plus preparing/teaching classes are a strain for the older person he is now. He strives to put forth his best efforts so students, audiences, and the college benefits from his work. That is a lot of responsibility to shoulder even for a person of his experience in this line of work.

This stage of our lives presents new challenges and expectations. I didn’t anticipate our bodies to groan so much as quickly in our early 60’s. I suppose that was na├»ve of me to think that we’d go along painlessly as we near the end of our second third of life. In my mind I have divided my life into thirds of 3 decades each. That would put us in the last decade of the second third of life. Does that seem morbid? Well, if it does, it’s fine because that is what I thought about as I turned 60 years old. If I live to be 90 years old, I have less than 30 years to live. Both of my parents and my older brother passed away by the time they were in their early 70's. If genetics play any part in my lifespan I may have less days to enjoy life on earth. Morbid to think about perhaps, but how am I going to handle this? Sadly, I thought that I’m running out of time to do something worthwhile with my life. What do I do? The best thing I've tried to combat the sad feelings was quite by accident. I began to notice others who are already well into the last third of their lives. Many people I’ve observed are well into their 80’s, approaching 90 with life still to live. Some are writers, others church teachers, some play instruments, sing, and paint or give example of living well simply by the way they treat others. What I love to see are elderly people smiling, laughing at children, and enjoying this day in their life.

Our lives can become melancholy as we age and we reminisce of days gone by whether we want to or not. Living in the past is not healthy, it can even be depressing as we continually mourn the passing of a life that once was. Change is inevitable and life is constantly evolving. In what form we live out that evolution is up to us. Make plans, do good to others, make sacrifices of some kind for the greater good, and helping other people might allow our minds to transition into the “twilight years” with a happier heart.

The Serenity Prayer
by theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr (1930’s or ‘40’s)
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.