Sunday, June 15, 2014

Desert Diaries, Volume 3

Sooooo, I don't have a smartphone.
This means, among other things: I get to go on vacation and not post pictures every 5 minutes to Facebook (Instagram? don't have one).  I don't feel badly about not "sharing" everything I'm doing every second of the day, but sometimes, I do feel left out.
That makes me mad, though.  I'm like---why should I feel left out just because I don't always tell people what I'm doing? Does that make me antisocial?  When and why did socializing become posting pictures online all the time?  It makes me sad and infuriated at the same time.
I wish, though, that I didn't have to have any feelings on it at all.  But technology has just become this ever-present THING that covers every aspect of our lives.
I've always hated having to keep up with the cool kids.
I've always kind of liked to "boycott" things that others were doing or saying, or buying, or wearing. 
I've also always kind of felt left out and insecure.

It's so interesting what we find interesting.
Or what we find uninteresting.
We've become this extremely visual people, and if someone doesn't instantly gratify our craving for "connection" by posting a picture, and we actually have to READ WORDS to see what someone is up to, it's suddenly become too much work.  The person who doesn't post a picture to accompany their status update is not as interesting as the person who does post a picture.  I think that's awful!
I realize that I am one of those "not so interesting people" on Facebook.  That stinks!
(I'm almost giggling to myself as I write this.)
But I also value my in-person interactions, and my in-the-moment appreciation of the beauty around me more than what people think of me on Facebook. On my most confident days, that is.  :)
I'm not saying that everyone who posts pictures on Facebook with their smartphone, does not value those interactions in their own life, of course.  That would be a hugely unfair generalization.
I'm just thinkin' thoughts over here.
I so admire the individuals who can deactivate their accounts and not care one way or the other about Facebook.  I wish, like I said, that I had no opinion on it, but I do.  I'm human and I'm insecure.
Here's to seeking out ways to combat the insecurity, and striving for fulfillment in the choices I make and relationships I have!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Desert Diaries, Volume 2

I originally wanted to write EVERY SINGLE DAY during this trip.
Yeah, that hasn't happened.
Today, I'm thinking about all the ways I've handled different situations while on this trip.
One of my church friends/mentor ladies told me (paraphrased) "There's going to be lots of ways this week where you will be tempted to respond like the old man inside of you.  Remember that it is now Jesus Christ who lives in you, not the old man."
If you know a little bit about me, you know that my family relationships/dynamics are not the most....traditional.  But I'm really proud of myself for the way I've handled myself and interacted on this visit.  I've helped redirect and de-escalate some conversations at home, and even had some damage-control-type input, here and there.  My mom and I have had some really grown-up conversations about life things, and we've never been able to do that before. I would always let my emotions get the best of me.  Now, I know how to manage them and put them aside, in order to see clearly while I'm in the moment.
I've been able to clarify some things with mom which are huge for my future, and my sister and I have been communicating and brainstorming all week about common goals we have for my mom and younger sister, as far as what we can do to help them.
The communication between my sister and I (don't know if that's grammatically correct---judge me)  feels pretty good.  We have had to communicate about schedules and plans, dinners, breakfasts, DIY projects at my mom's house, and midnight burrito runs.  She has also let me borrow clothes a few times while I've been here, because I'm a crazy minimalist hippie who brings nothing but a carry-on suitcase, and a tote bag full of books.  She has encouraged plans with my friends, and not been overly needy when she has been off work.  And we haven't killed each other yet.
While I don't have a smartphone to snap tons of pictures and post them immediately to Facebook, I have thoughts.  And, I have the ability to write those thoughts down.  Then, I take those thoughts and I look for patterns, and I see what I'm learning, and how it's growing me.  I pay attention to how I feel about each lunch/dinner/coffee/midnight burrito run date I make (midnight burritos are important here in Yuma, AZ).  I feel my feelings; i get excited to see old friends; i smile at people, i think about people, i wonder what i can do to help.
There's this Watermelon Man who sits on the corner with his little pickup truck full of watermelons for sale.  He waves at everyone who drives by, or stops at the stoplight.  Just a friendly wave.  When I see him, I remember, and I am thankful.
I remember growing up, and seeing random produce truck-stands, and knowing this is normal. I remember stopping at many a produce stand to buy corn, watermelon, or cantaloupe with my dad when I was a child.  I remember all of the people who surrounded me while growing up in this city.  I remember how I've always loved all of them, even the strangers.
It is SO the little things in life---and on a trip back home---that make you stop, take a deep breath, and smile.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Desert Diaries, Volume 1

Well, this week, I've gotten to spend some time in my hometown--Yuma, Arizona---visiting friends and family.  I haven't been here in two years, and I had been getting pretty homesick/nostalgic.  I don't know that homesick is the right word, because I don't LONG for home or anything like that.  I've gotten to this point where I've accepted and created my home around myself in the state and city where I live now, so it's strange to come back here.
I find myself driving the streets of this city, wondering, "I really grew up here?" Not because it's a bad thing, but because my entire adult life has been somewhere else.
I feel strangely at home, and a stranger, at the same time. While I've been here on this visit, I've gone running on the canal, which I ran 2-3 times a week during cross-country season in high school; I've gone running at Smucker Park, another high school favorite; I've had meals with friends and people I love; I've reminisced on "the good ol' days" and had conversations about my next steps in life; I've been around all my friends' and families' animals, mostly cats and dogs; I've visited and bonded with my Ocean in San Diego (yes, I needed to re-bond with my Ocean).
I've helped with a lot of things at my mom's house, planned and brainstormed with my sister, taught my baby sister card games, and eaten lots of fresh avocado.
I always end up with same panicky feeling: it's never enough time.
There's always someone else I wish I could spend time with, another old haunt I wish I could revisit.  I hate always running out of time.
I feel like at some point soon, I want like a 2-3 week period to come back and visit.  Life feels so different out here from what it does in my little Midwestern city.
I am more present and more appreciative of certain things this time around: the sunshine, the occasional warm (cool?) breeze, the faces of all the people who need someone to acknowledge their existence and say hello.
It feels like nothing's changed, and yet, like everything has.
I'm not the same person I was when I was growing up here.  It's strange to go develop and spread my wings as a person somewhere else, then come back to visit and bring everything I've learned with me.
Life is a really wacky thing.