Monthly Archives: March 2018

Social Media behavior…

tabletIn the last couple of weeks I’ve had more than one discussion with friends regarding social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. –  these  friends indicating disdain for how most posts depict unrealistic PERFECTION – loving relationships, fantastic vacations, well-behaved and beautiful children…in general, wonderful, healthy lives.

I’ve been pondering these conversations and here’s what I think.

Reading about everyone else’s success and taking it to heart can be depressing and frustrating if your life status doesn’t match up.  I, too, at times may find my life is lacking the pizazz I read about others having – their positive and perfect lives!

BUT, I think it would be even more depressing to read posts only showing how crummy life can be.

Imagine this – how happy would you feel after seeing posts about how someone just lost their job; someone’s child is dying of cancer; someone’s cousin’s husband relapsed for the 4th time; someone’s neighbor’s dog just bit their mother-in-law; someone’s dad hasn’t spoken to them in 3 years; and so-on???   (I suppose these types of down-on-luck posts could buoy you up as you consider your own problems which seem minor in comparison.)

Personally, I’d rather read the good stuff – embellished as it may be or not.  I’d like to think we’re all astute enough to discern when someone is going overboard with posts about their glamorous life.  We’re smart enough to know no one is immune from trials and tribulations.

I am a regular Facebook and Instagram reader – I read them daily, in fact.  I mostly appreciate how I can keep up with the lives of family and friends that I don’t see often.  I love seeing pictures of children and grandchildren, and being able to watch them grow.  I enjoy others’ vacation pictures – imagining how nice it would be to see the places to which others travel that I might not.  I don’t follow many celebrities, and I know many use social media to “sell” their own fame, movies, music, etc.; but, I am intrigued to see their posts…not unlike reading People magazine in the dentist’s office for the latest pop culture gossip.

I’m rarely offended or left feeling inferior reading the good stuff because I appreciate most things in my life and don’t want to begrudge anyone telling about the positive aspects of their life.  I’m happy for them.  I occasionally make those very types of posts myself, and don’t do it to show up others –  rather, just show what I am grateful for.

Here is how I approach dealing with social media.  The points seem very logical to me, but perhaps if you’re lamenting about how posts are so faux, you can adopt some of my strategies.

  • I keep in mind that everyone has problems and nobody’s life is perfect – whether or not they tell every sordid detail of their life on Facebook or Instagram.
  • I have the ability to scroll right past anything that bothers me, without reading it.  (I actually do this regularly with posts that have anything to do with politics!)
  • If somebody’s posts really get under my skin or annoy me, I hide the person or unfriend them.
  • Sometimes I take a break and just don’t turn on my tablet or phone and therefore, am not exposed to outside influences in that way. (Who am I kidding – I am addicted and can’t imagine not checking in regularly!)

As for me, I will strive to make my posts about my life realistic and hopefully, uplifting.  I don’t intend to complain about life’s unpleasant happenings for the most part.  Everyone has their crosses to bear – don’t need to hear about mine unless exposing my issues in a humorous way can make readers smile or feel like they are not alone in dealing with everyday life.

And, meanwhile, I’ll continue to read Facebook and look at the photos on Instagram – enjoying them for what they are and not letting them bother me.  If you use social media, I hope you can do the same.


Daring to be uncool…

Spring is will be springing out this week - YAY!
Spring will be springing out this week – YAY!

When my youngest grandson was in pre-school, he wore his pajamas just about everywhere.  One morning he was in my care and I was responsible for getting him to school.  It came time for getting out the door and on our way, and Max absolutely would not get out of his pjs and into his school clothes.  Thinking I couldn’t allow him to go to school dressed like that, I did everything I could think of to cajole him into putting on appropriate clothes…that is, what I deemed appropriate.  I even tried to shame him – “the other kids will laugh at you if you go to school in your pajamas.”

I honestly don’t remember if he won the battle, or I did – we’re talking several years ago now.  Today, when I think of this episode, I am filled with regret.  Yes, he was only a young child so may not have been consciously trying to be “uncool”, but in fact, that’s exactly what was happening.  Max was perfectly comfortable doing his own thing.  I was the only one in the room worried about him dressing out of the ordinary and drawing attention to himself.

Isn't he adorable!
Isn’t he adorable!

I’m not sure I ever was a free-spirit like Max, even as a youngster.  As an adult, I have never wanted to stick out in a crowd as being different or to bring attention to myself.  I fear being thought of as foolish, silly, or awkward.  But, I am beginning to realize I sometimes stifle my self-expression or creativity by being self-conscious.

The problem in the Max story was mine, not his.  I tried to project my self-consciousness onto him.  He had the right idea – whether conscious or not – I did not!  Wearing his pajamas to school bothered no one. 

Get a grip, Grammy, and let the kid express himself!

Fortunately, Max a has a wise mom who knows when to let him do his thing.  I believe Max even wore his pjs in a Christmas program back then – and, no one in the audience cared, made fun of him, or likely even noticed! (Except Grammy, of course.)

Laughing, singing, dancing, wearing clothing that may not be in vogue are all good for the soul…they allow the “doer” to be authentic.  All are activities I don’t always feel comfortable doing in public.  I’m going to work on changing my hang-up about being “uncool” – work on lightening up.

My spouse is a great example of someone who can let his hair down, so to speak.  He thinks nothing of bursting into song while walking from the parking lot into Target; or playing the car radio loud enough for all around to hear.  Both of those activities embarrass me for him – you don’t catch me doing either of them.

My effort to change my self-consciousness and act authentically once in awhile will have to be deliberate.  It won’t come easily for me; but, I’m thinking I may find letting go very freeing.  It’s a lot of work to stay in control and act “cool” all the time!  Wish me luck.


Throwing a hissy fit…

This morning I threw a COLOSSAL hissy fit.  The trigger site was my laundry area in our unfinished basement.  I pulled bed sheets out of the dryer, turned around and put them on the ironing board so as to reload the dryer from the washer.  When I then pulled the sheets off the ironing board to carry them upstairs to my bedroom, I also knocked the iron off the board and watched in horror as it clattered to the cement floor.  They must make irons durable enough to handle such a jolt as the only thing that I could see happened to it was the dial for choosing the heat level came off.  I was able to easily replace it – no harm done.  (I have not yet plugged the iron in to see if it still works, however.)


BUT, in the seconds during and after this mishap, I erupted in a tantrum.  How could I be so clumsy and careless??  Fortunately, I was home alone so no one heard my expletives or my cry, “I hate my OLD self (that’s old age, not former self).  I hate the way I look.  I hate the way I feel.  I hate the way I act.”


Wow, what’s left to like??  And, how do any of these feelings relate to dropping an iron?  I stormed up the steps and began to cool down – realizing how pathetic my outburst was (not that at that moment it wasn’t exactly how I felt.)  I knew that I had to calm down.

Obviously, I was in a funk today that was just ignited by the iron incident.  I needed an attitude adjustment.

Interestingly enough, just yesterday during a discussion with RC about an acquaintance who is struggling, I uttered the suggestion that this person should just “pull himself up by his bootstraps!”

Just what I needed to do this morning; yet, realistically, I do know that is not always easy to accomplish.

After calming down and reflecting on the outburst.  I thought about how easy it must be for older adults like myself, to turn to alcohol or other mood enhancing drugs to help them cope.  When I googled alcoholism amongst retired people, a whole slew of articles popped up.  So, apparently, this is indeed a problem in my age group.

Before I go any further, I will assure you I’m not considering drinking any more in a day than the glass of wine (ok, sometimes, two glasses) I enjoy fairly frequently as I watch the evening news or prepare dinner.  But, I can see how persons feeling inadequate or depressed or just generally down on themselves might turn to drinking thinking it could be a solution to masking negative thoughts they may have.

As I read some of the articles Google referenced, I gleaned the following reasons older/retired folks might turn to drinking –

  • to counteract feelings about the elimination of work structure
    • loss of status
    • loss of employment based social support
    • loss of life purpose
  • to cheer oneself up
  • to combat loneliness
  • to counter boredom
  • to fill newfound leisure time
  • to assuage grief – loss of spouse, friends
  • to overcome negative thoughts about the loss of youth – MY BIG GRIPE!

Of course, the articles I read also noted why excessive drinking was not a good solution for elderly folks –

  • interference with meds
  • potential for causing liver disease, high blood pressure, heart attack, some forms of cancer
  • propensity for accidents – falls, etc.
  • increased sensitivity to the effects of alcohol due to problems metabolizing it

Logically, there should be ways to overcome all the issues that may cause an older person to turn to drinking.  In some cases, however, I realize this is easier said than done.

In my case, I will overcome my hate for the loss of my youthful self (see 2nd paragraph above) by –

  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, continually reminding myself of all I have to be grateful for
  • looking for meaningful ways to stay busy with fun outings/activities, volunteer opportunities, get-togethers with friends
  • engaging in hobbies like reading, crossword puzzles, gardening
  • and, how about hanging out with young people – grandkids for instance?!

I hope you realize I use this blog space to lecture myself and give myself a kick in the pants.  If it provides you with any inspiration, that’s a plus for me.

P.S. I am embarrassed to share my outburst about the iron mishap.  It was totally ridiculous!