Voyeurs or Friends?!

When Facebook first came out it seemed like a cool way to travel through space and time, to reconnect with new and old friends, coworkers and family. Slowly though I wonder if it hasn’t become a venue for voyeurism more than a place to share information, thoughts, friendships and images. I feel like there are times when someone is posting something extremely personal, and I’m uncomfortable viewing it. Suddenly I am engaged an extremely personal conversation with someone I know very little, or only as an “acquaintance.” The level of information being imparted for all to view, is sometimes cringe worthy and deeply private.

Without warning I find myself brought up short by knowing the ins and outs of someone’s IBS, ,(irritable bowel syndrome), their divorce and hatred of the ex, or a photo of…”what is this on my back?” I wonder, is there no one else that can look at that thing growing on your back to decide what it is and more importantly how to treat it? Must I be scrolling through my timeline with my coffee, barely awake only to see a boil the size of a small bird perched on your back, gag a little and sit back and wonder..wth!

Back in the day, there was a saying, “TMI”, too much information. It is my nature to be guarded and less likely to share personal successes and failures with “virtual strangers.” Make no mistake, while we are all FB friends, we are strangers in one another’s daily lives. It’s difficult enough to be talking with someone who is bashing their ex in real time but at least, hopefully you know their back story. On FB, it’s a momentary blurt of information without context. It doesn’t account for nuances, for two sides of a story, or for questions. Instead, we’re left with judgements and I wonder, what knowledge have I gained? Is there value in knowing you hate your ex? What if I like your ex as a person?

Have we reached the point where the “likes” are the driving force behind the posts. Who liked it, who commented, who started trolling to initiate hate and discord? Who is listening?? Is anyone listening? Perhaps that is the problem. In our lives it seems things are moving so fast and now everyone has a way to gauge who is moving faster? Who is traveling, who is getting married, having babies, buying houses/businesses, going to fantastic parties and meeting amazing people? How do I measure up? Am I losing?

In a way, it sets us all up for dissatisfaction with our own lives. Why am I not getting anywhere when everyone on FB is going everywhere? How can we live our lives with gratitude and be in the moment if the moment is only there for the sake of the post? If the motivation for having the experience, is so you can post it, are we really connecting to one another? I have been out with friends and while we are hanging out having fun someone inevitably says, let’s take a picture and post it. Suddenly everyone is primping wondering if they look alright, how do I compare with everyone else and Boom…you’re completely out of the moment. Transported again through space and time as the picture is immediately posted and you pray that everyone likes it, I mean really likes it so that everyone can see you’re doing alright. Is it a validation of who we are or are we voyeurs in other people’s lives, constantly watching, trying to measure up and wondering, am I liked?

If you combine this with the unprecedented hacking of FB, I wonder if we are soaking up hate and division more than we are benefitting from the connectedness of sharing? Have we lost the ability to see beneath the surface? Are we all just creating movie posters of our lives without the story. For me as a writer, the post is the cover of the book but the richness of the person is in their stories. Without knowing the rise and fall of triumph and the agony of defeat it seems less meaningful, less authentic. Almost like we are inviting people to look at us, to judge us, only don’t look too closely. Just tell me you like what you see.

Rejuvenation Vacation…

I couldn’t take it anymore, I needed a break. I just couldn’t solve one more problem, listen to one more argument between my sons, or do one more load of laundry. I got a chance to go away for a few days, by myself, and I was packed and in the car in 40 minutes. Not rushing exactly, but there was a hustle in my step. This was no time to dawdle.

Getting away allowed me to hear my inner voice, listen to silence, (which of course is never really silent, but you get my drift), and chill out. I just sat, with no guilt, no plan, no direction and I felt myself exhale as the breeze washed over my face.

I got a chance to sit on the beach, ride a bike, read 3 books cover to cover, eat, laugh, walk, write, take pictures, see a movie, talk with friends, watch the water, swim, and rest. It was wonderful and just what I needed to get myself back on the creative track.

 

boating...
boating…
lavender whisps...
lavender whisps…
reading room...
reading room…

Camp Mom

Well, the kiddies are out of school, finally, and I foolishly thought I would be able to incorporate the kids summer needs, (read demands) and work and write and take pictures, and frolic on the beach and chill.  HA!

This year my sons requested they spend a little less time at camp and a little more time with me, “you know Mom, just hanging out together and having fun.” An idyllic image of us playing croquet on the front lawn, sipping lemonade, and laughing uproariously with one another, while the crickets and cicadas serenaded us, sprang to mind. Our summer vacation resembles none of this moments.

Realizing the true depth of my commitment, I discovered I had replaced the traditional camp experience, (with other people running the show) with my own version of Camp Mom. My sole role; to entertain my sons and sometimes if I am lucky, their friends and cousins too.

At Camp Mom, I have provided a bevy of exciting adventures designed to thrill and delight young boys of all ages. We begin our day lazily, debating what to eat and deciding if the choices offered are agreeable to their sensitive palates. While there is usually a menu, provided at Camp Mom, I am often barraged with suggestions that would enhance their eating pleasure. What chef doesn’t appreciate the culinary critique of a 9-year-old?

Then comes the endless questions, thoughts and concerns about our plans for the day. This is the trickiest part, as a miscalculated suggestion can create blank stares, and glazed eyes as they ponder the seriousness of my plans. As mentioned above, I make suggestions and they make adjustments. A canoe trip down the river was fun but apparently I overlooked getting seat cushions for their paddling comfort. I bet a real camp takes into account the comfort of their campers bottoms while they paddle away.

At Camp Mom, I offer campers; crafts, photography, games, water play with hoses or water guns, swimming in a pool or down by the lake, go-carting, roller skating, biking, boating, hiking, driving range, and water bumper boating, meals, drinks, snacks, ice-cream, eating out, sports, movies, and traveling.

This has all taken place in the past 3 weeks and I just realized the summer is just getting underway and I’ve used up all of my creative ideas. I have tried to coerce, cajole and bribe them to try another camp but they are having the time of their lives. Suspiciously, when I thought I could do no more, I heard my oldest son say to his brother,  “No one is a better camp counselor than Mom.” Hmmmm.

I haven’t had time for much else and I may have bitten off way more than I can chew. Who knows what will happen next year? With all of this been said, I do love spending time with my two favorite souls on the planet, even when they look at me with their beautiful bright eyes and innocently ask, “what did you plan for us to do today Mom?”

 

Orange Reflections…

   “Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself.

They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.”     Alan Cohen

 

Ocean View...
Ocean View…

 

 

Happy Memorial Day!!

Today we marched in our town parade and gave thanks to all the Men and Women who serve our country with valor, bravery and pride. 

Though my boys marched for the Scouts and for their sports teams, I am grateful that Memorial Day means more to them than just being in the parade. As we proceed on to the cemetery to pay our respects to the fallen veterans, and both of their grandfathers, I am filled with pride as they respectfully take their hats off and place their hands over their hearts and say, thank you for your service to the Honored men and women who attended the parade and those across America.

In Our Little Town, we bow our heads in gratitude and respect. Thank You!

 

Our Town Common
Our Town Common
Our Veterans
Our Veterans