The people who know me well, know my high energy levels and active mind. The ones who know me best know all about my frequent changes in activities and unpredictable personality contradictions. If there is something that will get my adrenaline level spiked, my curiosity aroused or my creativity engaged, I’ve probably tried it or its on my bucket list.
I wish I was unique but I see my Jack-of-all-trades mentality in most people my age. I may be a bit more left of centre on this than some but elements are there in most of my acquaintances my age. Things lose their shine and it’s off to the next big thing. Hobbies, careers, friendships, and relationships all just dabbled in, then abandoned at the first sign of trouble or next new commodity.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to dabble, I hate being locked into anything. A few years back I decided to live free. In one load of a truck and horse trailer, I can be gone as far as that truck can take me. I don’t owe anyone a dime. I have enough leave at work to cover two weeks notice all the time. I have no ties anywhere. I’m not responsible to anyone.
I’ve rarely used my ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card but it’s always there, my golden ticket.
I looked at my life, my attitude and my culture; I was disappointed. Life spent with one foot in and one foot out suddenly seemed shallow and empty. Not because of the free fall through hobbies and careers; because we fail to consistently invest in each other. Friendships are easily abandoned, family ties are strained and severed, relationships rarely get off the ground and the end with little consideration. Individuality at the cost of connection and convenience exchanged for conviction. Text messages, Facebook likes, Tweets and Instagram; show the world your best face because no one wants to handle your messy side. So busy protecting our image, we can’t be ourselves.
Somewhere along the line I realized, I’m uncomfortable fitting in. I don’t want to be like everyone else or even anyone else and I’m ok with not being perfect, I’m ok with everyone knowing I’m not perfect and worse yet I’m ok with letting people know I can see they aren’t perfect either. Either people love me or hate me for it; I stopped caring which.
Shakespeare was quoted as saying: ‘Love me or hate me, both are in my favour. If you love me I am always in your heart; if you hate me I am always in your mind.’ Makes perfect sense to me, in either case it makes my life a catalyst for change. Hate and Love are not opposites, they are parallels. Indifference is the opposite of both, and with indifference comes apathy.
In apathy, we waste moments we can’t get back. Five bucks says you are on your phone, computer or tablet right now ‘multitasking.’ Busted? Yeah, me too. How many minutes of your day do you spend lost in your cell phone failing to connect with the people around you. I started logging off electronics for 12-24 hours a day. I put them on airplane mode, leave them behind and wouldn’t you know it, the world doesn’t end! I have a dozen or more texts to answer, about that many emails and Facebook notifications, a voicemail or two.
What happened in the phoneless hours? I lived, I saw sunshine, noticed small children being cute, I tasted my meals, talked to strangers and familiars and learned more in 5 minutes than I can in 500 texts. No selfies to prove I was alive, eating lunch or being friendly. No updates about my physio or slow going recovery. Just me, alive and in the moment.
When was the last moment you were alive in the moment: with no cellphone safety net, no electronic distraction, no picture to prove it happened, no virtual witnesses, no thought about what social media feed you would publicize it and no plan to tell anyone about it. Living out a private moment of your own pure life essence. I make time for mine, I plan them, schedule them in and live them out in complete secret on purpose. This may be a candid and vulnerable blog but those moments are sacred, mine and mine alone. I wouldn’t tell you if you asked and wouldn’t post them for anything.
Do me and yourself a favour, log off, log out, and live a private ‘Alive’ moment and connect to more than the internet at some point everyday. The in real life people around you need you too and they need to too.