The importance of finding time.

Too often I find myself saying, ‘I don’t have time.’

This expression has become a part of my internal dialogue that allows me to neglect my well-being.

My Facebook experience earlier in the week caused me to reassess my idea of friendship. It is obvious that friendships require commitment and time spent together. I know this and yet I expect my friendships to cultivate themselves in my absence, stupid or lazy I can’t decide. So I need  to act upon my vague promises to catch up with people and return their calls. I need to make time to be a better friend and recognise what is important in my life.

Change started with saying yes to the invitations that came my way.

I was able to catch up with some beautiful women I had not spent time with in three years, despite them living only 20 minutes away! We had endless cups of tea, and before I knew it a quick chat turned into three hours;

  • we gossiped,
  • solved the world’s parenting dilemmas,
  • outlined the attributes of a great husband and marriage,
  • commiserated over the crap that happens,
  • and laughed, mostly at ourselves.

I finally made good on vague promises to see a dear friend. We hogged a corner of the coffee shop bought one cup of tea each and became the very definition of appalling customers! We summarised our past, present and future;

  • Our jobs are hard but funny, very funny, resulting in much laughter from our corner,
  • Sometimes we aren’t good enough at many things and that is OK,
  • Additional academic qualifications are something we aspire to,
  • We daydreamed about working together,
  • Sometimes people behave badly and you need to walk away, and not keep throwing yourself under a moving bus,
  • We went to the bookshop and grieved over the shrinking classics section, pointed out good and bad books to each other,
  • Importantly, we decided that the cost of her haircut was worth it as she looks awesome, seriously she should be a hair model.

I almost missed the last one as I slept in, forgot about it, got sidetracked and double booked with my long-suffering husband (that is a whole post alone). Luckily, my friend knows me well and rang to confirm. Have I mentioned my friends are patient? I was fortunate enough to spend some quiet and considered time with my friend and her 2-year-old daughter, (H);

  • H and I read a book together and compared the characters to her own life,
  • H and I talked about shoes, her Mum views shoes as an evil necessity,
  • Friend and I spoke about how thankful we are for our husbands,
  • We all looked at hair clips, necklaces and bangles, a rare treat since I live in a house of males,
  • My friend and I discussed her plans for the future and I marveled at her determination,
  • I saw my friend being a patient and consistent parent while honouring her child.

These points make a mockery of my excuses. This is only the short list and reading through them makes me question why I don’t prioritise something that renews my spirit in such a positive way.

I am very good at making vague promises and procrastinating, so here in writing;

  1. I commit to returning calls within a couple of days ( I will need to charge and leave my phone on) and,
  2.  I will actively organise regular dates to catch up with friends (and put them in my phone with an alarm).

What do you need to find time for?

My friends are my estate.”
Emily Dickinson 

* I am in the process of streamlining my Facebook so that it contains only friends, controversial?

Fifty Shades of ………?

ImageFirstly, let me make clear I don’t agree with censorship, it is more dangerous to attempt to control and regulate ideas than let them flourish, censorship never ends well.

Secondly, I have not read Fifty Shades of ….. as I don’t want to support it in any way. Initially, I struggled with the concept of engaging in a discussion of a book that I refuse to read however, I don’t read porn magazines and feel fine about voicing my opinion and concerns on those. My opinion comes from reviews, the wiki site (yes shun me if you will), the author’s own page and reading random pages in my local bookstore.

So, here we go, let’s start with the cover. The book is apparently centered on our heroine Ana, yet the cover features a man’s tie, representative of middle class white male power and possibly a reference to the bondage contained in the book. The colours are not representative of a young female heroine at all, so from the beginning the question must be asked ‘whose story is this really?’

I am willing to skip past the creation of this as Twilight fan fiction, and really we should be thankful they don’t have fangs.

My issue is that this book normalises the structure of a relationship where a much younger woman becomes the plaything of an older man who controls her emotionally, intellectually and physically. Explicit sex scenes are not an issue, authors have included erotic imagery and language in novels regularly throughout the history of literature. Sex in this book is very clearly about power and Ana has none.

What is wrong with this? The real concern here is the popularity of this book and the message it sends;

  • why are women drawn to this tale of objectification and subjugation in such droves?
  •  Is it that our lives are so busy and often complicated that having someone make the hard choices (no pun intended) becomes so attractive?
  • Do we yearn for times when we had clearly identifiable gender and life roles?
  • Or has explicit sexualisation of women in our world resulted in a desensitising to what we consider normal and acceptable relationship roles for women?
  • What message do we send young women when we read and approve of novels in which they are essentially victims?
  • Where are the roles models of women that walk in their own power?
  • What does it say about our society that this is a number one bestseller?

Does it really matter? Books represent the ideas of the time they are created in and so this story isn’t just Ana’s it is also a reflection of the the place of women in our society.

Can I recommend Jane Eyre instead of Fifty Shades of …..?

* I should note this is the discussion that landed me in the middle of a huge Facebook mess, apparently I was only meant to click like on the book cover image posted.

Why do I really use Facebook? The honest answer

To be upfront this post is due to a recent discussion that I engaged in on Facebook, it ended badly and I unfriended someone.This has made me consider what Facebook ‘friendship’ actually is and why I waste so much time on social media when I have an overflowing life. I realise I am sounding like a complete nanna but manners and authenticity are important and here is the kicker; it matters more the older I get.

Initially I chose my ‘Facebook friends carefully, however, I have ended up with more people than I could honestly name as friends. I have joined groups and ‘friended’ people that I rarely see. I never seem to hit that unlike button as I feel guilty, yes it is ridiculous and I feel as though as I am in the playground and excluding is just morally wrong. On the other hand I use Facebook to ‘see’ friends I should meet up with to share a pot of tea. Facebook has become the equivalent of junk food fix friendship!

I have of course been ‘unfriended’ and have experienced momentary confusion as to what I have done that could have resulted in my rejection. No long term damage has been done as the result of these losses and I hold no ill feeling towards those who have moved on.

On top of this I have concerns about my privacy and the information collected about me. 1984 is increasingly looming as our reality and so I have opted for the most stringent privacy setting Facebook allows. Honestly, it is still woeful and provides a false sense of security.

The question I really must ask is, why do I persist with Facebook?

I don’t post regular updates, rarely engage in discussions, or use the online chat feature.

I do check it at least five times a day!!!! This alone is cause for concern what is really going on here? what do I think that I am missing out on?

I like the odd status and photo. I occasionally use it to organise social events. Ok, here is the ugly truth I use it in an almost stalker fashion, I like to know what everyone is doing, yep I am the cyber Mrs Mangel from Neighbours. The truth is people post information that rivals Neighbours and Home and Away I don’t need to watch soap operas, I can be entertained by my ‘friends’ status updates. This is an ugly truth that I am uncomfortable with and need to address.
I do use it to keep updated on social media campaigns, although I do also receive email updates so this is not an authentic reason.

Finally, I am tired of the poor manners people seem to think it is acceptable to display when they hide behind emoticons and a computer screen. I want kinder, quieter and more authentic relationships with my friends and world, it is time I ‘unfriend‘ you Facebook.