Tuesday, August 29, 2017

How blogging is going to help me fight my addiction to social media

The summer of 2017 will go down in our family’s history book as the one of massive upheaval and change: new house, new job, new school, new town, thrown in with a dose of career change and a new-ish baby.  No big deal.  Everyone has been dealing with the change in their own unique ways, for better or for worse.  My children, God bless them, have had their fair share of intense squabbles, and I’m trying to be as patient as possible. Everyone has lost a sense of control of their environment, and their stress has been manifesting itself. 

I tend to shut down in the midst of too much change.  My brain short-circuits and I find myself escaping the massive to-do lists by easier, less intentional activities.  I used to allow myself to become absorbed by a good Sudoku. Nowadays, however, it’s been Facebook. 

I know it robs too much of my time.  I know it messes with my attention span.  I know it’s ultimately an avoidance of dealing with my own anxieties, and yet, I am constantly drawn to my sleek phone and that little blue icon.

Lately I’ve found myself wandering rather aimlessly in my home, looking despairingly at unfinished projects and cluttered corners and hearing too many opinions in my head.  Too many lists, too much advice, and way too little of my own voice.  By mid-morning I've had to fill up my coffee mug yet again to jumpstart myself from the slump, but it has only ended up making me a jittery, irritable grouch.

I’ve been reaching for the phone instead of doing the dishes.  I’ve been lingering a little too long reading that insignificant article about that celebrity.  Ultimately I’ve been hiding from this one truth: Moving to a new place is lonely.

So I turn to the immediate stimulation.  Social media is quick entertainment.  It’s distanced relationships.  There is no mess and no uncomfortable interaction.  There is a sense of control, as I choose what to click and who to follow. 

And yet, it’s completely superficial. The mindless scrolling produces so much noise, but so little substance. 

Because to have good friends you have to be a good friend.  And frankly, I am not good at that.  It means I have to put myself out there, I have to say, “Here I am! Here are my flaws and insecurities and my quirks and awkwardness.”  It also means I have to listen to the other person, to hear about their own struggles and triumphs, and to put my own story on hold for a few minutes. 

This weekend I was blessed to attend the Catholic Women’s Blogger Network at the amazing Ana Hahn’s house.  The experience was surreal in that I got to meet, in person, so many inspirational writers that I had previously only met on the screen.  They were real, beautifully authentic, funny, and full of joy.  And the truly remarkable thing was that they interacted with each other like true friends will do.  I did not witness small talk and guessing games (What’s the name of your blog again?). There was genuine and graceful conversation (It’s so good to see you again!  I loved reading your latest post about your new e-book.  How is your husband doing?).  And even though I had never attended this conference before, and even though my blog is virtually unheard of, they welcomed me with warm smiles.

By the end of the day, I was hugging these women.  I was laughing with them.  (But I was certainly NOT jumping on the trampoline with them.)

I was able to look in their eyes and find commonality. 

Yes, Victoria, there is community in the blogging world.  We support each other with comments and link-ups, the experienced and popular bloggers sharing their expertise with the new kids on the block.   

Putting a face to many of the witty and thoughtful blogs that I follow gave me hope and purpose.  I will continue to write so that I can connect to these courageous women.  I will take more time to read their own work because I will be supporting and participating in our community.  That is not to say that I will neglect meeting folks in our new town.  There will be plenty of opportunity to meet fellow parishioners, soccer moms, and school families.  But it will take time.  For now, at least, I have a venue where I can share my personal victories and vices.  

(Photos courtesy of the lovely Rosie Hill.)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Back in Action (7QT)

I’m baaaack!  It’s been a while since I have posted anything (good reasons for that, perhaps explained in another post), but I thought now is as good a time as ever to get back into it. I have missed writing.  Even though, admittedly, by the end of the day I feel so fried from breaking up endless sibling squabbles, feeding five littles (simultaneously! And three times a day!), and the maddening to-do list that has so many checks unanswered.  Too often the last thing I want to do is a brain-requiring activity. But the fact remains that I have SO MUCH MENTAL ENERGY just swarming around in my head with nowhere to go. Writing is a release for me, and even if my corner of the cyber world is small and nearly unnoticed, I at least can sleep a little more soundly.  Like children, the thoughts in my head have to get their ya-ya’s out.

I thought I would take advantage of the 7 quick takes format to update everyone on the big changes in the Lynch household:

1.       We have a new Lynch Little!  Baby Lynch #5 was just before Thanksgiving.  Here he is at eight months:  

2.       Hubby got a new job! My dear husband has moved out of the classroom and jumped into fundraising.  He is working at a real gem of a school, Chelsea Academy (check it out!). 

3.       We have a new address!  And I never want to move again.  Blerg.

And yet...the swing set has been resurrected.

Oh, and did I mention that we are right around the corner from Shenandoah National Park?  So there's that.

4.       We are doing something completely different for school! It’s not homeschool.  It’s not public school.  It’s actually not even Catholic.  It’s Montessori.  I am a public school gal, so the Montessori method feels kind of out of my comfort zone.  But I think it will be a great fit for our very independent and curious kids.  

5.       We go to a new parish! And it’s huge! It's been an adjustment going from teeny tiny mission among the dairy farms of south central PA to a packed church of over 1200 families (you mean there is more than just one Mass on a Sunday?).  We went from feeling like the oddball, weird Catholic family with five kids to one of many large families.  It's awesome, but overwhelming at the same time.  

6.       Our kids have grown! Kids' ages are 6 (x2 of course, because twins!), 5, 3, and 8 months. We are in the throws of potty-training (I feel like I ALWAYS have a child who is potty-training), loosing our front teeth, and even beginning to read.  Baby can sit up but hasn’t quite figured out how to scoot or crawl, which is perfectly fine with me 😊

It's all good.

7.       I’m reading a new book! Trying to read more, exercise the brain, get the mental ya-ya’s out, etc.  I have had this one on my to-read list for many months.  Highly recommended.  Stay tuned for my review.

Find more 7QT's at This Ain't the Lyceum!  Kelly has some great tips on keeping a clean home when you actually have a lot of people living in it.  Happy weekend!