Unfortunately, I think it is my fear of missing out that is actually causing more FOMO in my life.
I’ve noticed that I scroll through my Facebook and Instagram really quickly. And here’s what I constantly do: I will see an article someone posted, or a video, and think, “That looks really neat. I should read/watch that. I can probably learn something new.” BUT I tell myself, “I’ll go back to it, once I’m done scrolling.” After all, there might be a better article to spend my time on. (With this new intentional living I’m attempting, I try to be much more careful with my time.)
So wise, right? Ha! If only. Because I rarely go back to it.
Why? I don’t know… I get distracted? I find the social media loop never ending? I just keep looking, looking, and looking because I’m curious. I don’t want to miss anything, right?
But what I’m actually doing is missing out. Which is opposite my intent.
So now when someone references an article I want to read, I make a point to read it. If necessary, right at that moment. Because if I tell myself I’ll get to it, without intentionally book marking it, I’m basically lying to myself.
Sure, my social media hit is on pause, but it’s very a good thing. Social media isn’t going anywhere. If anything, it’s growing. And if I “miss” a picture or an Instagram story my friend was eager to share, she will no doubt show it to me later or mention it’s on her page.
I have failed at my own resolve, but I’m getting better. I’m finding it slows my pace a bit, which is much needed. I’m also seeing that I truly don’t miss out on a whole lot. And if I do, it results in JOMO – a phrase I read the other day that carries its own rewards: Joy Of Missing Out.
Many people dream, I know this. But let me ask you, does the dream version of yourself typically accept the strange situations in dreams and never question? For example, I’ll dream about my Mom. She won’t look like my Mom, she won’t act like my Mom. But dream Gina never stops and questions. She just accepts: “That’s my Mom.” Even though the red flags are everywhere.
I discussed this whole concept with a good friend. She too, admitted that there are incredibly bizarre occurrences in her dreams, and her dream self just goes with the flow.
So, it was a HUGE victory the other night when I was dreaming, and I actually took control of my dream. I was in a haunted house (I had seen a creepy TV show that day), and I was panicking because my phone wasn’t working. I vividly remember trying to push the buttons on the screen, and they didn’t respond. It was a classic nightmare situation.
But then, an incredible thing happened. I told myself, “This must be a dream, I just need to wake up.”
And I woke up!
To my relief, I was suddenly in my bed, wrapped like a burrito in my favorite blanket. Victory! I was so excited that I did a mini happy dance and told a friend. (Later that day, of course.)
Can I just say it took 39 years for this to happen? And will it ever happen again? Has dream Gina finally gotten the spunk and the knowledge to say, “Wait a minute, this is not reality. I can escape?” Maybe. Maybe not.
The whole point of this little story: we celebrate minor victories as we grow up. It might be a lost tooth or even something like learning how to braid. (I learned on My Little Pony’s long white tail.) My point is, I think we should not stop. We should continue to intentionally celebrate the smaller events as they happen in our lives. Whether we are 9, or in my case, 39.
Here’s to those little triumphs that keep happening and will keep happening! No matter how unusual, and no matter how old we are. Cheers!
I love that adulting is often about exposing ourselves to new viewpoints, which can in turn bring healing.
When I was a little girl, I remember one afternoon my great aunt was crying her heart out. My grandma went into the bedroom, shut the door, and was so gentle and comforting to her. But it was a such a worrying situation for me. Why was my aunt so sad? I can still remember her howls echoing through the hall.
Being older now, I can see another perspective that I didn’t have as that little one on the other side of the closed door. More mature me can see the situation for what it was: a typical spat in a marriage. I eventually found out that my uncle had frustrated my aunt to the point of tears. He had not murdered anyone, nor had he abused her. While he might have still been at fault, my auntie chose to express herself loudly (as some people do). But they made up later, and life continued.
And even if back then someone had sat me down and laid the situation out before me, I’m not sure I would have understood. I had yet to comprehend marriage relationships. But I sure understood crying.
Yes, life can get scarier as we get older. All we need to do is read the news, and we can learn about terrible things that we hoped weren’t happening but are. There are many, many reasons to weep.
Yet, as a small reprieve we also learn that some of the scary isn’t as scary as we thought. In my case, my crying auntie was going to be just fine. Because while crying can be incredibly sad, crying can be therapeutic. Crying can bring relief. And crying be healing.
I know I’m not the only one who gets frustrated by rude behavior* that can confront us on a daily basis: getting cut off by another driver, watching a customer disrespect a cashier, or hearing someone’s very loud conversation on their cell phone (next to a sign that says “Please, No Cell Phones.”)
I don’t know why, but I feel it’s my place to put on a cape and bring some type of small justice to what I see as an unfair situation. When really, for the sake of my own health (and sanity), I need to fold my cape back up and stow it away.
Do you know what I’m talking about? Do you ever feel as I do when you witness rude behavior? Despite these feelings, often the smartest and best move is to keep our mouths shut and not get involved. But what about that rush of anger and irritation? That desire for justice? The anxiety that we can’t “right” something we see as “wrong”?
I’ve found that a beautiful perk of adulting is that I see more and more that there is always another side of the story. Oftentimes, situations are not black and white no matter how much they seem to be. Over the years, I’ve learned to be less judgmental of other people, less angry, and instead, let compassion overwhelm me. I want to hold hands with compassion and take it everywhere I go. Because I like myself more when I have compassion for others.
So, I now intentionally use these three reminders to keep me more compassionate:
1. While any behavior may appear strange, disrespectful, or incredibly unacceptable, I remind myself there is always more to the situation than just what I’m seeing.
When I find myself annoyed with an impolite stranger, the best thing for me is to try to think about a reason they might be acting rude. The person might be in physical pain, have just lost a loved one, or be in the middle of a divorce. The list of reasons as to why people do what they do is endless. I still laugh when think of a bumper sticker I once saw that said, “I’m speeding because I have to poop.” But hey, it could be true. We’ve all been there!
Does a “good” excuse justify speeding or any form of aggressive behavior? Mostly likely not. But all this helps me to remember that while the other person might not be right, I can’t control their behavior and maybe, just maybe, they need my compassion more than my condemnation. (And most importantly, even if they aren’t controlling their behavior, I have the power to control mine!)
2. I remind myself that I’m doing my own health a favor when I keep anger and judgement at arm’s length.
Even just getting upset for another person is a type of involvement, and I believe it can be unhealthy for me or really anyone. Because what ultimately happens is a change in mindset and attitude. My mood moves into something more morose, more anxious and I start validating these feelings with thoughts like, “Here’s yet another reason the world is such a dreadful place…” Experiencing anger does nothing but hurt my mental health and that’s just not worth it. We can’t help the sudden thoughts and emotions that might come to us, but we can choose to let them linger. That’s where we have some authority, and we can turn our thoughts to something not as emotionally draining, but still true.
3. I remind myself of this truth: I don’t really know what is best for others.
As much as I like to think I know how to right a wrong that I observe, I am just not that knowledgeable. The world we live in is so complex. People are made up of layers upon layers of life experiences and behaviors that mingle with one another and influence each other in ways I will never see and know.
Bottom line: When a person seems rude without reason? Or plain mean? Unfair? Having these three reminders keep me calm and less negative. Without pulling out a cape of justice, I think we can still have a victory when we have less anger and negativity. Plus, when we exercise control over our minds, it’s incredibly empowering. It’s self-control at its finest. It embraces compassion, leads to intentional living, and ultimately, more healthy, peaceful living. And I don’t know about you, but I can certainly use more of that.
*Clearly I’m not talking about behavior that needs police/authorities called into action.
Natalie Borton and Conni Jespersen: two Instagals that share their knowledge of fashion. What can I say? They are incredibly inspirational to me. (I mean, look at those happy smiles!) Even at almost 40, I still find fashion confusing. When these ladies created an online Elevating Your Style class, I jumped on the early bird special and signed up. And I have no regrets.
NOTE: If a fashion course is not currently in the budget, these gals have fantastic Instagram feeds that you can follow. They are chalk full of fashion help. I really like Natalie’s try-on sessions (full of tidbits) and Conni’s Wine Wednesday Style Chat.
However, here are three MAIN reasons I enjoyed their course and continue to follow them on Instagram:
1. Conni and Natalie break it down to SIMPLE.
“Keep it simple sweetheart” (aka KISS) is really at the heart of their course. For them, clothing can have a bit of a formula behind it, BUT, we shouldn’t let that scare us. It’s a fluid formula that allows for out-of-the-box thinking and works for all body types.
When I saw that the teaching videos were short, I was a little "judgy" and wondered how much I would learn. But the succinct videos pack a lot of knowledge, further demonstrating that we can enjoy the complexity of fashion, but also stay away from deep diving if we want to. (Some of us just like to dip our toes in the shallow side!)
2. Conni and Natalie start with what you already have.
While this duo keeps things simple, they very much acknowledge that there are many elements of fashion beyond the scope of the course. But what I like is that they encourage you to use what you have in your wardrobe and start from there. No intense shopping trips needed. Armed with their personal knowledge and tried and true tips (and worksheets), I found solid direction for putting together clothing in new ways.
3. Conni and Natalie’s course demonstrates and encourages intentional living.
If you follow my blog, you know I’m working to live more intentionally this year. Natalie and Conni are very intentional with their wardrobes, and you can see the fruits of their labor. Using their guides, I am able slow down, focus on what is literally hanging in front of me, and make more confident fashion choices. Fashion doesn’t come easy to me, so the investment of my time has already had major payoffs.
I hope you will take a look at their Instagram pages (Conni’s is here and Natalie’s is here) and give these gals a moment of your time. I love supporting other women who have such a healthy approach toward life and of course the fashion that goes with it.
I was the youngest in my family. On top of that, I didn’t grow up around many young children. I didn’t baby-sit much, and if I did, the kids were older. Unfortunately, as a naïve, very young adult, I was pretty critical toward other people and their kids. Why did they let them continually scream and cry in the grocery store? Why did they let them out of the house with weird or grossly mismatched clothing? These were just a couple questions that would fly through my mind. (I love that I thought I knew what was acceptable/expected, even though I’d never had children….)
Then I spent time with my sister’s family, including a precious niece and nephew. It didn’t take long for me to realize that sometimes just getting out of the house with a child FULLY dressed is a win. Seriously, who cares if the pants and shirt don’t match? And children misbehaving in the grocery store… Oh my. I realized quickly that parents and guardians probably wouldn’t get much done if they waited for their children to act perfectly before stepping out with them in public.
How judgmental could I be? Especially about something I knew so little about. Why in the world would I be like that?
I think it was easy for me because like all of us, I was learning and adulting and my pool of knowledge was expanding. I had within me the capacity to make sound judgments. But while I had learned so much, I had to also learn that I knew so little.
I definitely needed a slice of that humble pie. And I think, for the sake of all of us, we should keep that dessert close by. Because our knowledge will keep expanding. Daily. And it’s easy to be a little self-righteous and a tad judgmental: “Yeah, I know a thing or two. I’ve been around that metaphorical block.”
Instead, no matter our age and experience, we can take the healthier response and let more knowledge lead to more understanding. Gently reminding ourselves that there is typically so much more depth to what we see with our eyes and to any situation that we observe.
Learning MORE should be just a reminder that there is EVEN MORE to learn.
I see a therapist to help me cope with the anxiety that I face. And in a recent session, he recommended I read a book published by British author, Charlie Mackesy titled The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse.
Hmmmmm. It looked like a children’s book, and honestly didn’t catch my eye. I felt I instead needed to spend more time diving into the latest publications by respected psychiatrists and other anxiety gurus. I needed coping strategies and powerful words of wisdom. Not cute kidlet stuff.
But I bought it, because during this quarantine time I’ve had some really hard moments, and I found myself more than willing to try something unusual. So, I sat down and read the book.
And I was HOOKED.
I read it again. Then I read it again. Then I sent a copy of it to my Mom.
I don’t know if it was the combination of the illustrations and simple truths, but that book was food for my soul. It's the little journey of three animals and a boy, and they discuss life. And they share very simple, encouraging truths that I really needed.
I honestly have no idea if this book will do for you what it did for me. Everyone is different. BUT I think the lesson I learned is for anyone. I know I’m not alone when I say I need coping strategies and powerful words of wisdom. And these can be found in unexpected places and in unexpected ways. We can study theories until our eyes are red, but maybe what we really need is to watch an inspirational movie or browse the children’s book section. Maybe a fun cartoon or a novel will speak to us.
As a child, I loved storytime, and as adults, I strongly believe we still need storytime. Because we still very much need stories.
Creator of Love, Auntie.
About LOVE, AUNTIE
Welcome! My blog is a journal of sorts as I seek what makes "older" worth celebrating in a world that tends to glorify "younger." I hope it's a place you will find encouragement and positive words.