Why Ice buckets are fine by me- but maybe facebook isn't

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Facebook has been inundated with ice-bucket drenching in support of ALS. I think it's refreshing to see my newsfeed have a more macro-focus than micro-focus.

In recent years (arguably since the dramatic "timeline" transformation), I've seen an incredible shift on facebook from communication with one another (remember looking at Wall-to-Wall's?) to unbridled self-promotion. Quite often, my newsfeed reads like this: Look at me! I got a job! I got a 4.0! I got engaged! Look at my new shoes! I got married! I had a kid! I got a dog! My kid got a 4.0! I lost weight! Look at me!

Thanks a lot, "like" button. I'm looking at you, Zuckerberg.

I'm not just pointing fingers at others; I make posts like this, too.

I also sincerely enjoy staying up-to-date with friends' accomplishments, and wishing them congratulations for every milestone along the way. I have some awesome friends! Many who live too far away - who I wouldn't keep in touch with if not for social media. Thanks, Zuckerberg!

It's just, at what point are we taking our individual, personal, messy lives and marketing each moment? Transforming each instant into a picture-perfect, cleverly captioned (and hashtagged!) blip -- desperately seeking the most possible "likes."

Sometimes I feel like scrolling through my newsfeed is like watching individual self-made highlight reels. 

Ask any athlete, any player and any team can look good in a highlight reel. My junior year, my Bucknell basketball team was 7-21 (still love you guys!), but if you only watched our highlight reel, you would have thought we were NCAA-tournament bound. We weren't.

But we looked good doing it, amirite?

We decidedly did NOT shoot 100% from the floor that year - but you couldn't tell from watching the highlights. Did every single one of my facebook friends just have the most amazing weekend ever? Really?! Anyone else have a weekend full of laundry and catching up on sleep? Just me? Is everyone else I know feeling blessed and happy and ecstatic and surrounded by loved ones? Nobody is even slightly anxious? A little discontent with their current situation? Feeling a little let down by the people around them?

At what point is "filtering" our lives down to likeable flashes inauthentic? Ten years from now, are you going to look back at a really hard month in your life and think to yourself, "Wow, during that entire period, I posted nothing but duck-face selfies and pictures of my manicures."

I obviously think you should have some type of filter for what you post--for example, you shouldn't post things that could hurt other people, and some private aspects of your life are better left out of a public forum.

But you also don't have to have a picture-perfect timeline. You can have a fun, fulfilling weekend without documenting it online. You can post about things bigger than your own achievements and find balance. You can be happy, with or without "likes."

I worry for the kids spending their formative years growing up in this social media age of constant comparison - as Teddy put it:

{source: pinterest}

So, hate all you want about the ALS Ice Bucket challenge - but, for me, it's pleasant to see people post about causes - things bigger than their own little lives - in a public forum. Not to mention ALS is a horrible, debilitating, disease (watch this video if you haven't already - I find it promising over 14 million people already have.)

I was nominated for the ice bucket challenge opted to donate. First off, I rather bathe in a pool of spiders than post a video of myself online. I can't even listen to my own voice mail without cringing. Is that really how I sound? Eek.

More importantly, it's a wonderful cause. If there's any bandwagon I want my newsfeed to jump on, it's the "let's help cure a terrible disease" bandwagon instead of the "#selfiesaturday" bandwagon. Let's just hope we can stay off the "incoherent political rant" bandwagon for a little while longer.

Mondays Can Be Happy Too

Monday, August 25, 2014

The jury's still out on this one, but I'm thinking of starting a blog series called "Mondays Can Be Happy Too."

There are many reasons not to do this:

a. I've never had a blog series before (sounds like quite the commitment)
b. That name kind of sucks (there's really no ring to it - totally non-hashtaggable)
c. I'm usually better at pessimism vs. optimism (ex. complaining about moving, complaining about traveling, complaining about traveling again)
d. Can Mondays really be happy?? Is the name not only un-catchy, but also a bold-faced lie?

Regardless, here is my first attempt. This may just be a one-time post, in which case, the world will continue turning (or so I'm told).

I wrote in this Monday inspiration post about how Monday gets a lot of bad press. I'm determined that it can be a, you know, tolerable weekday. I'm not saying Mondays are going to feel like lounging on the beach in Maui (unless you happen to be doing that on Monday - if so - we are all ferociously jealous) - I'm just saying we can give the day a chance. We don't have to roll out of bed and feel a sense of imminent doom. Or at least I don't think we have to.

Without further ado, I present to you: two solid reasons why your Monday can be incrementally happier.

Reason 1: No unwanted naked people

Look around you. Maybe this is around your office, around your home, around an overstuffed airport (#businesstravelersproblems). Are people clothed? Are you forced to look at the stark naked bodies of strangers?

Because yesterday, on a SUNDAY, as I was walking downtown in the lovely city of Madison, Wisconsin, I saw not one, not two, but FOUR stark naked individuals. Just strolling around. I guess they weren't 100% naked - they were all wearing shoes. AND NOTHING ELSE.

I saw them not once but TWICE when innocently wandering the streets (eating froyo, duh). It was not a pleasant experience. Actually, it was the opposite of pleasant - it was downright uncomfortable and well, squeamish.

Thus far, this has NEVER happened to me on a Monday. Rejoyce!

Rather than share a picture of the cringe-worthy nakedness - here is the Madison capitol building aglow:

Reason 2: This puppy exists

Meet Hops. Hops is my friend's Burnese Mountain Puppy. Isn't she adorable? Hops enjoys socializing, biting furniture, puppy modeling, and, in general, being constantly adorable.

Hops' interests do not vary based on the day of the week. She is perpetually cute (and happy!), even on Mondays. Let's all take a lesson from Hops. Except for the biting furniture part. That would be a weird thing to get into, regardless of the day of the week. 

Me + Becky + Hops
So, if nothing else, hopefully you can enjoy two reasons for a happier Monday. Here's hoping. If all else fails, you're closer to Friday than you were an hour ago - go you!

Just in: Moving sucks and always will

Monday, August 4, 2014

I want to take the bold stance that I'm always going to loathe moving. Is there any worse pre-planned activity?*

Moving starts with packing which (newsflash) starts with organizing. JUST KILL ME NOW. At home, I thrive while living in a disorganized state. My boyfriend once (endearingly**) called me "a little ball of entropy" because I would enter his immaculate apartment, and, within minutes, everything would be in a state of utter disarray. Who needs to know where their checkbook is? Not this girl!

Moving is the universe's cruel way of reminding me that living a disorganized existence is not sustainable, and should be immediately rectified.

You also have to deal with this strange contradicting desire: on the one hand, you want to obliterate all your worldly possessions; on the other hand, you find yourself oddly justifying why you should keep your most obscure belongings.

Torn between the mindset of Henry David Thoreau and the mindset of a first-class hoarder, you live in a restless state of discontent, each possession simultaneously disgusting you and tempting you to keep it forever. How could you possibly part with your planner from senior year of college?! The memories! While packing, these were real thoughts that passed through my mind as it teetered on the verge of insanity:

"Hmmm...what's the easiest way to pack this stupid blanket? Maybe I'll light it on fire with a blow torch!"

"I don't know what this key does, but I guess I'm moving it" (as I toss into a junk drawer full of probably dried-out sharpies - can't get rid of those! I might become crafty yet.)

"I hate to donate these huge gold dangly earrings...if I want to be Esmerelda one year for Halloween, I'll surly wish I still had them."

"I probably should have thrown away the Walmart liquid eye liner 18 months ago." (toss in trashcan)

"I obviously can't get rid of my mini Bop it! key chain."

"I need to admit myself I'm just never going to be the girl who uses nourishing cuticle oil." (toss in trashcan that is now entirely holding unused bathroom products)

don't worry, I only threw out one Essie nailpolish. The first step is admitting you have a problem....

Don't get me wrong, I did discover some hidden gems while sorting through my piles of useless crap. My nightstand drawer is (apparently) where technology goes to die. Hello Blackberry charger! Also, remember when webcams were separate from computers!?

I didn't.
I also used this drawer (apparently) for important documents. Title of my car! Tax information! Newspaper clippings of my favorite Dear Abby columns! Not my passport, though. That was in my "junk corner" under a broken picture frame. I wish I were joking.

Anyway, we're done! (we = me and Stephen!) And by done, I mean, our apartment looked like this last night:
definitely ready to entertain
No more UHauls, no more dollies, no more broken elevators (don't get me started), no more lifting furniture up 3 flights of stairs.

Let the unpacking begin!

*I'm fully aware there are many things worse than moving - going to the E.R. to get stitches, being diagnosed with a terrible illness, getting in a car accident, etc. But you don't plan on those things. This is something you plan on, months in advance, but is still 100% horrible. It deserves some type of award for being that planned for and that bad.

**Maybe it doesn't sound endearing to you, but I'm going with it.