30 by 30 Update

I am 127 days into my 30 before 30 List.  Of those 30, I’ve done one item, and I’m in the middle of 8.

I’ve also decided to face reality that (as usual) I live in the ‘unreality’ known as the land of “bite off more than you can chew.”  To be honest, it’s actually kind of nice living here, when you look back and see all that you were able to accomplish by just believing you should be getting more done. More on the pressures of overachieving another day. Ha.

As written 3 of my goals are totally impossible, and honestly, 2 are ultimately out of my control.  I’ll have to edit this list if I want to be serious about it. Do I?

Why am I doing a 30 before 30 list?

I’m doing this project because…

- it’s what bloggers do! In my mind that’s a legitimate reason.  Even though over the last two years I’ve stopped blogging more than two to four times a month, some part of me still identifies with the title “blogger.”  I’ve come to realize most bloggers identify as list-writers more strongly than the general public. Bloggers make lists and do them.

- to stretch myself. I put a lot of my hopes and dreams on that list.  Getting a job is somewhat out of my control – but the individual components of it, like writing cover letters, networking, practicing interviewing, and actually applying to jobs aren’t.

- to affirm that experiences matter.  Experiences and knowledge are more important than things.  That’s why my list is heavy with items I want to do with friends, or that cause me to recollect fondly on the things that I’ve done in the past.

So, yes. I’m still working on this list – even though I had to edit some of the items to make them a reality.

Also I’m updating my progress on the facebook page for this blog more often than I do here.

30by30 updates

 

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The Key to a Great Summer

It’s July.

How did that happen?

I’m a planner and a doer by nature – and between those two, I slightly emphasize planning more than doing. It’s very easy for me to forget there are three components of every experience – anticipating, participating, and remembering.

So often, rather than remembering – or savoring – the experiences that I’ve had, I’m off planning the next experience.

Savor

Reading “Thinking Fast and Slow” in May and June, however, taught me something new.

The Remembering Self is in Control

What does that mean?

Daniel Kahneman tells the story of two groups of subjects who were invited to participate in a research experiment involving submerging their hands in a bowl of ice water for several minutes. (I know, makes you really want to be a research participant… right?) The first group of people experienced the frigid waters for a few minutes. The second group experienced the frigid waters for the same few minutes, but a key difference was the experimenter had the subjects keep their hands in the water an extra 30 seconds or so, but warm water was added to the bowl, which lessened their discomfort. After rating their experience, participants were more likely to choose to repeat the second, but longer, experience because it ended on high note!

There are several conclusions psychologist draw from this and other research.  They note that there are two “selves.”  One self experiences events – the frigid hands in the water.  Another self remembers that event – but through the lens of completion with a higher priority placed on the end of the event.  That warm water suddenly meant the experience wasn’t that bad… right?

The remembering brain shapes our memories, lives, decisions, and what experiences we will choose to repeat in the future.

How can I use this knowledge?

As I was contemplating my whirlwind June I realized – I want to have a GREAT SUMMER!  I don’t want to look back in August and ask “Where did it go?!”

I’ve decided to Spend More Time Savoring this Summer.

I used a framework I learned earlier this year – More Less Same – in order to focus and prioritize activities so that I could actively savor the summer experiences I love so much, like church softball, camping, and just being outdoors.  I needed to decide what I needed to do more of, and what I needed to do less of, and what I could keep the same.

MoreLessSame

Have you made a list like this before?

Using a calendar and flipping through my journal, I noted frustrations and triumphs and then listed several things to do more of – so that I could build in more time to Savor.

I want to do MORE…

Pictures – Especially, taking, posting on facebook, and getting into physical photo album form. Although there is always a danger that taking a lot of photos will destroy your memory of an event (citation) – looking at photographs of good times actually increases your happiness and confidence (citation). I’m only so-so about remembering to take pictures – but I want to be better.

Writing – I keep putting writing on the back burner in favor of reading or friend time – but I’d like to move toward more writing, whether it’s journaling, blogging, or even tweeting.

I want to do LESS…

Reading. I’m reading some great stuff right now (especially enjoying co-reading Kyle Strobel’s “Metamorpha” with my husband, and discovering AS King – recommended by LCarsLibrarian. ) But rather than trying to read a book a week, I’m just reading a few chapters at a time.

Exercise.  I’m still trying to run the North Shore Trail Series (Saturday the 12th, 6 miler!) But I’m focusing on maintaining my fitness levels, rather than increase them.

I want to do the SAME…

Praying – As I recently read and found amusing – praying for 30 minutes or more a day actively changes the way your brain works. This is probably about how long I pray every day – so I’d like to keep that the same. I also find prayer to be an excellent way to remember and savor experiences, as well as consider how to reorient your life to reflect your priorities and focal concerns.

Friendship Building – I love how many fun events we’ve been doing with friends lately – from church softball, to family volleyball, up to last weekend time spent camping.  I definitely want to keep going out a couple times a week in a socializing low-key fashion, but finding time to rest after each of these activities is key as well.

camping walk

So what about “Summer To-Do’s?”

Like other friends, I love making Summer To-Do lists, and have in the past… but I’m not going to this year.  There are a lot of items from my “30 by 30 list” that fall I want to check off – and that fall into the “More” and “Less” category.   I’m hoping to finish a wedding photo album before my 4th anniversary, as well as write some Thank You cards to big influences in my life.

Finally, I want to look ahead to August and plan a peak experience for sometime at the end of the summer – something that I can both anticipate – as well as savor as extra enjoyable.

How about you? What are you doing More, Less, and the Same of this Summer?

As always comment here, or on my facebook page.

 

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Flash Friday: No Bags in Bins!

nobagsinbins

Tuesday night was the monthly Salem Recycles meeting. Part of the meeting involves time to select a message and target a particular recycling issue that we will communicate over and over during the month.  We selected “plastic bags” as an area on which to focus this June.  Plastic bags are part of the the whole problem known as “single use.”

They are ubiquitous, yet transitory.  Plastic bags save us the trouble of remembering cloth or reusable bags, and in general are flimsier and contain only one or two items.

Although I’ve seen plenty of different statistics regarding the length of use, a range of 5-12 minutes of use is cited.  Yet, they can take as long as 500 to 1000 years to disintegrate.  Again, regarding how many people accumulate, numbers can range from the low 100s to 400/ year or more.

Furthermore – plastic bags, at least in Salem, MA. absolutely CAN’T be recycling in your recycling bin at the curbside.  Doing so contaminates the load of recyclables at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) It’s the equivalent of making a healthy salad for lunch, and then topping it with blue cheese dressing, cheese, meat, and croutons.

Be smart about plastic bags! #nobagsinbins.

Salem Recycles will have plenty more info this month in their newsletter, on facebook, and on the website.

 

Flash Friday: No Really, It’s Finally Spring

What a difference 3 weeks makes in Massachusetts.

May 2nd. Trees. Buds. Fiddleheads.  Mostly brown brown brown.early spring leafless trees  spring buds  may fiddleheads

And May 24-26th. Full leaves. Ground Cover. Trees, glorious trees.  (and of course, mosquitoes ;) )

ground cover  father son woods walk  spring in Glouceser, MA woods  plants alive

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Last week’s Flash Friday: Zentangle

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Learning how to use Facebook

I started re-thinking my facebook usage after reading this post in Relevant a few months ago. Why it’s time to Stop Facebook Lurking.  That article made me blush, laugh, and think.

I’m not quite a digital native at 29, but almost.  Sometimes it’s a toss-up which of my friends will text, and which won’t.  I remember that first cell-phone (at 20), it was a flip phone, and didn’t have a camera.  When I first entered college people still brought telephones to their dorm room and plugged in a LAN cable.

I knew from the moment I heard about it that facebook would be a time-suck. Which is why I held out exactly five months after what felt like everyone else at my college had joined.  Until November 2005. Then I dove straight in.

Creating groups like “I can only draw stick figures.”  Joining groups like “Myspace is for trashy hoes.”  In general I was embarrassing myself in ways that only 20-year-olds can do.  And it’s preserved for posteriority, which, in my case, now has a name, face, and charming three-year-old sense of humor.

Over the last nine years I’ve used facebook in a lot of ways. To invite others to events. To stalk others. To find babysitters. To find out both local and world news. To congratulate myself with how well I’m doing in life.  To feel as though my life is going nowhere.

But, lately I have decided to stop lurking on facebook. The Relevant article makes many points I agree with – that community is a two way street, that facebook takes up real time you can’t get back, and that facebook many create unattainable ideals of faux friendship.

However, I disagree with a few of the possible (but unstated) conclusions – that facebook is a) Generally a negative or neutral use of time. b) You should use it less.  The author leaves the conversation without suggesting positive ways of using facebook, of which, I believe there are many.

How to use Facebook to build Community:

1. Stop talking about facebook as a waste of my time.  After I did the quick calculation that I spend about 60 – 90 minutes on the site every day (albeit, multitasking) it’s still time spent. If I am intentionally choosing to do something for 90 minutes a day- I make certain to be mindful. No more scrolling through dozens of posts.  The recent tweaks to the layout helped me to be more intentional about this.

2. Share memes, blog posts and quizzes with specific friends that will enjoy it, rather than the entire facebook universe as much as possible or as often as you would like.

3. Use facebook for a specific purpose (like those listed above).  Double points to if it’s to make real life plans possible.

4. Try to engage multiple people in conversation through messages or tagged posts on topics that spark conversation and invite (polite) discussion.  Maybe this one only works for me, but I certainly enjoy using facebook in this way.

5. Remind yourself that the friends who pop up in your newsfeed are not necessarily your closest friends now, but that doesn’t mean in the past they weren’t meaningful people in your life who still deserve attention and care. Use facebook for what it’s good for reconnecting with past friends, as well as present.

6. But… Re-organize the people you want to hear from the most into lists and groups.  Although I personally don’t care to “de-friend” people, I also don’t care to see run-of-the-mill memes from people I haven’t seen in person in over two or longer years.  I have no qualms about hiding old friends from my regular newsfeed.  But I do love to see their babies!…

In general my latest facebook philosophy has been what most of my life is about – living according to my deepest convictions and beliefs – including ways to improve communication, authenticity, and deepen community.

What about you? Is facebook something you are intentional about? Don’t care about?  What other social media do you use to stay in touch?

PS: I’ve blogged about social media and the internet before, like when we didn’t have it for 79 days two years ago! (I’m still shuddering in horror), and how a theologian from the 1950s taught me something new about the internet. AND you could always follow All Growing Up on facebook too.

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Flash Friday: Zentangle

Many bloggers do weekly round ups, one word or one picture posts, link-ups and plenty more. I’m considering the idea of a “Flash Friday.”  A snapshot of my life, whether in words or images, that illuminates some of the smaller moments of my life.

So much of my life, volunteering, and hobbies revolves around using the computer or writing words.  I’m highly word oriented, and love using the computer, so I’m not complaining that screens dominate.  But every now and then I remember that I should perform less pixelated activites.

In April I picked up a book called “Zentangle a Day” and I’ve been doodling in spare moments or just to relax. Zentangle involves combining “repetitive patterns of deliberative strokes” into a single image.  All you need is paper and an ink pen, though of course, there are certain recommendations given by the experts.  I’ve had a lot of fun progressing through the book, learning some of the ‘official’ and ‘unofficial‘ Zentangle patterns, which have funky names like “Pepper,” “Verdigogh,” or “Hollibaugh”  and am on “Day 16.”  To me, this art form is the perfect combination of structure and creativity.

You might consider tangling yourself up in this idea too.

Zentangle3  Zentangle2  Zentangle1  Zentangle4

PS. Feel free to check out my lil’ Pinterest board about Zentangle, and explore others designs there too.

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