It’s been a hell of a year. I have to say, I’m kind of relieved it’s almost over. I’m not usually one to look back and say, “Good riddance!” because I’m usually so anti-regret, and invariably there’s good to be found in every year that’s passed – even the really, really tough ones.
This has been a really, really tough one.
And not even for reasons one might think. I guess I’ve kept pretty quiet about what I’m sure appeared to be some tough and unfortunate parts, at least from the outside looking in, so it’s likely that outside perspective is a whole lot different than the reality. And yes, I’m being intentionally vague, because this isn’t at all the forum for discussing such things.
But whatever. It was still pretty rough there for a while, in a few different parts. And yet I can say, with all sincerity, that I am thankful for every single thing I went through, and every single thing I learned this year as a result. I’m supremely grateful and amazed and relieved for how it’s all worked out. Even when the packages in which the lessons came wrapped were painful (or stressful or confusing or scary or ugly or dramatic or dysfunctional or avoidant or manipulative or dishonest or or or… etc.), I don’t regret any of it – even the intentional “learning/growth experiences” for the sake of the long game. I’m coming out the other side of it all in a way better place than where I started and really, that’s all I can ask.
So… yeah. I learned a lot in school, and loved every eye-crossing second of it; I learned a lot from my family (every last one of ’em, but especially my niece); I learned a lot from other people (woof, did I learn some things); I learned a lot at the old job about what does (and definitely doesn’t) work for me; and I can already tell I’m going to learn a ton at the new job, too.
Have I mentioned how much I love to learn and grow as a human?
A few weeks ago, I read a book by Sam Harris called, “Lying.” It’s short, sweet, and touts the benefits (as well as the morality and logistics) of simply telling the truth, all the time, no matter what. It’s an interesting thing to contemplate; I’ve got a strong desire to put that into practice in my own life, and I have a whole lot more I could say about that, too, but in the meantime I will just say that it got me thinking about what it means to me to be real, and how I can incorporate that into my life in the coming year.
Real friends, real life, real connection, real talk… this is what I want for myself in the year (and life) ahead. And a small part of what that means for me is cutting out some social media accounts completely. Like, for good. I’ll keep Instagram for pictures, probably Twitter for following people who are a whole lot more interesting and smarter than I, this space… and that’s it.
What I’ve come to observe is that people might use social media (namely, Facebook) for different things – catching up, staying in touch, updating friends and family on special happenings (or day-to-day stuff too, I suppose), business or band promotion, event invitations, treating the timeline like a litter box for opinion turds, bragging, stalking, dramatic blowouts, messing with people and perception by putting up pictures that don’t accurately represent what’s really going on… but you know, gee. Not surprisingly, pretty much none of it feels real to me. It feels like a false, shallow replacement for real connection, letting everyone (including me) off the hook for maintaining actual relationships with other people. I think a lot of our problems as a community, society, and members of the human race would be alleviated, or at least lessened somewhat, if we just put the electronics down and TALKED to each other. I realize I sound like an old fart, and maybe I am, but we’re not wired for being wired; we’re wired for connection.
I’ve had enough. I want to reach out to people, and I want them to reach out to me, too. Like, for real reach out. Not just pass over a picture I posted and walk away feeling like they know how my life is going. You know? I want to have real interactions and real relationships with real people in real life. Real connection, real love and affection… all of it. And, conversely, I don’t want to keep getting or giving any false impressions about levels of connection and friendship, either.
So, come 1/1/16… no more Facebook, and a significant paring down of other social media. A whole lot of other life changes, too. I’m excited to see and experience all that the coming year has to offer, and am equally excited about all the lessons and wisdom I’m bringing with me.
“If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.” – Émile Zola