A Heart-to-Heart Conversation with Facebook

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Facebook, you and I need to have a little talk.

When I signed on to social media in 2008, I did so at the urging of my son-in-law, who told me Facebook was a great way to keep up with my family and friends and to share photos and life experiences with them. It would also be a quick way, he assured me, to check in with my family to know what was going on in their lives and to keep them updated on what was happening in mine.

Facebook, you have let me down. Or rather, people on Facebook have let me down. And I am angry that I can’t visit you now and then to touch base with my family and friends without getting upset. Instead, when I open my Facebook page, I am bombarded with stuff I have no desire to see, hear, or know about.

I’m talking primarily about the recent presidential election. I was for neither candidate, and I felt that we had pretty poor choices for our country’s leadership. But one of them was elected, and I am still – three months later – reading horrible things from both camps about the other. I understand that you are an avenue for people to express their opinions and beliefs, but I don’t understand why I have to read through these in an effort to find the kind of news I want to see. Before you were part of my life, I didn’t know (or care) who won the Golden Globe Award or what the winner’s speech was about. I wasn’t subjected to venomous rantings about people who followed certain political parties (and I am talking about BOTH of them). I wasn’t exposed to the hatred that seems to permeate throughout the postings on your pages.

I have already unfriended some folks that I really care about, because they are using you as their platform for airing their grievances, fears, and anger to the universe. And I am seriously considering saying goodbye to you altogether. I hate to do this, because I truly enjoy keeping in touch with my Facebook friends, looking at photos of children and grandchildren, learning about travel and life events, finding delicious new recipes and neat DIY ideas, and offering up a prayer when someone is hurting or ill. This week I have watched as my son travels cross-country to his new home in California from New York, and I have savored each message and photo that he has posted along his way. I have also celebrated a few birthdays with some dear friends, and have read about life milestones, major decisions, and other bits of personal news that I wouldn’t know about if it weren’t for your presence in my life.

Facebook, I have tried to figure out a way to block messages that I don’t want to look at. As a librarian, I would love to catalog them into neat little boxes, and then have the ability to choose those categories I want to look at. But I don’t have that luxury or choice, beyond your birthday bar on my personal bulletin board. I have to plow through the venom to get to the new grandchild, the family reunion, the latest travel destination, or the graduation celebration.

On a personal basis, I have to admit that I am easily sucked in. I have a hard time scrolling past items that look distasteful to me. I am compelled to give them a quick perusal, almost always ending up with an upset stomach and angrily clicking off of you until I can settle down and breathe normally. This is not my idea of social media. It seems more like anti-social media to me.

I don’t know what to do, Facebook.

I am holding on by a thread and not pulling the plug completely yet, because I know you have many redeeming qualities that I value. But I am not happy with you, Facebook, not one bit. And I’m not sure what to do about it.

For now, I think I will continue to write in my blog and share my collection of days with my Facebook friends. And, yes, I will use you as my portal for sharing what I write. I will also post photos on your pages that I want to save and share.

But I’m going to have to think long and hard about what our relationship is going to be for the future. Facebook, you and I are in serious trouble. I think we need to separate for awhile and give each other some needed space. Whether we split for good will be something to consider down the road. I am hoping our relationship can be salvaged and that we can reconcile our problems. There is so much good in you, and so much potential, I can’t cut the cord quite yet.

Facebook, I have some thinking to do.

Living in The Past – The Present – The Future

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Guilty as charged. As long as I can remember, even as a little girl, I have always lived as much in the future and in the past, as I have in the present. My blog is proof of that. My collection of days are mostly memories of my past!

Throughout the course of my life, the future seems to have been always on my mind, as I strain my neck to see what is around the next curve in my road. I daydream, I plan, I hope and pray for good things in the days ahead.

I dreamed of getting married, having babies, and living happily ever after.

I then dreamed of going back to college to complete my degree as soon as my sons were old enough for me to attempt the challenge.

Later, I dreamed that one day I wouldn’t be living in a parsonage, and that I would have a place of my own.

I dreamed that I would have a career, and that my career would take off, awarding me with no more financial woes.

I dreamed that I would grow old with my second husband, since my dream hadn’t panned out so well with my first one. That one didn’t work out so well, either. Both are now safely stored in my memories of the past!

On a smaller scale, I dreamed of summer vacations, of planting vegetable gardens, of summer breezes and sandy beaches.

It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate my present moments and soak them in. But they were so fleeting! I’d turn around and they were gone – into my past. It seemed that sometimes it was easier to look toward the future, planning for my next day, week, month, or year, than it was to recognize that where I was at that specific time was a very good place.

And, with each day I encounter, my past grows. Memories pile up, and I find myself sorting through them to determine which are worth keeping and incorporating into the ME I am today. Some are merely life lessons to think of every now and then, and some are those I really need to leave in the past, and quit beating myself up over them. I watch them grow dimmer and dimmer in my rearview mirror, with a heartfelt thank you to God for delivering me, loving me, and strengthening me. This is where my new favorite word, “gratitude” comes into play on a huge scale!

I still look to the future and plan – mostly, for my retirement these days. I know the day is coming – and it won’t be long – when I will have to rely on what I have saved and what I have accomplished to move me into these last years of my life. Sometimes the future looks bright, and sometimes bleak – depending on my present circumstances and frame of mind.

I am becoming more and more aware of my present moment. Prayer and meditation have helped me with this. Instead of “I will be”, I try to focus on “I am.” I want to be the person that God created me to be, which is definitely in the future, since I am still learning and becoming. But each moment is precious to me, and I try each day to focus on the NOW, and not on tomorrow. My aim is to not waste any of my NOW moments, but to appreciate each one as it slips quietly and quickly into my past.

A very dear friend once reminded me as I was moaning over mistakes I’ve made in my life  that I am the person I am today because of who I was in my past. As I center myself in my present, look to the future, and remember the past, I know that with each NOW moment, I am changing and becoming who I was created to be.

Past, Present, and Future. In truth, I live in all three. My goal is to find the balance in my life where they all serve me well and keep me centered.

It’s too much for my little brain to try to figure this one out! I have today. It’s bright and sunny outside. I’m taking my little dog, Sunshine, for a walk.

I’ll see you in my future!

Saying Goodbye to a Wine Glass

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I broke a crystal wine glass today.

I didn’t do it on purpose. Nobody deliberately breaks a glass, especially a piece of fine crystal.

It was one of my set of wedding crystal that I now use and enjoy on a daily basis. I feel elegant when drinking my wine out of the platinum rimmed goblet, or sipping a glass of water or a taste of cold milk from one of this lovely set. This simple activity takes me out of the ordinary, and into the extraordinary! There’s just something special about enjoying a meal on one of my mother’s Radford china plates with my sterling flatware and my lovely crystal while sitting at the little kitchen counter in my apartment. It is good for my soul.

The entire set rested in a china cabinet for years, only seeing the light of day when I’d open up the cabinet every few years to wrap it up, one by one – oh, so carefully – and place each piece into a sturdy cardboard carton preparing for my next move. Maybe once a year, if they were lucky, they would find themselves displayed on the dining room table for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, but it has been years since those days of dining room extravaganza.

Yes, I broke a wine glass today. I accidentally hit it against the kitchen sink while preparing to rinse it out after dinner. I didn’t fret its loss. I tenderly picked up the pieces, placed them gently into the kitchen trash can with a silent “thank you for your service”, and noted that now I have one less glass to worry about.

Yet, in spite of my seemingly cavalier attitude about this event, I mourn its loss. This little wine glass represented one of my many starry-eyed and romantic dreams of marriage, home, and family. Nothing turned out as I had envisioned as a nineteen-year-old, planning a wedding and accepting gifts from friends and family, while collecting my sets of china, crystal, and silverware. Life happened, and along with it, divorce. Disappointments and loss came my way. Children grew up and showed little interest in these things that were so very dear to me. But tonight, as I picked up the pieces of the wine glass, I said a little prayer of thanks for my journey and for the place I am today.

Goodbye, little wine glass. I’ll miss you, but I still have six more on the shelf, waiting.