Why is it so much easier for us to take a look at our lives and realize we need to simplify at the beginning of a new year? It’s as if January 1st signifies this need to purge. We cut back our food intake and focus our schedules. And that’s me, like a lot of you — longing for the simple, a less messy space, and margins in my life. Why is this so difficult?
It’s so hard to simplify when the world screams more.
I’m not talking more shoes, clothes, and homes. That “more” I conquered years ago. Hallelujah! I took the Summer of 7 challenge and simplified — y’all I lived eating only 7 foods and wearing only 7 pieces of clothing. And although it wrecked me up good — there was a breath of refreshment that came along with it.
But looking over my calendar, I’ve realized it is not my food, clothes, days of work, ministry, and home that are standing up waving and screaming more. Rather it is this crazy online world.
Think back. Can you remember the times before there were likes, shares, tweets, friends, instagram and pinning? It wasn’t even that long ago.
The world was a little less noisy and loud. Helping others still existed. Making new friends was personal. Influencing others happened. But there was no need to tweet or post about it. It was our personal life and it mattered.
A whole notha’ level.
You matter! In this world where we all naturally compare ourselves one to the other, now we’ve added a whole notha’ level to it in this online space. This quiet, but noisy space that follows us everywhere we go — computers, phones, ipads, etc. Somebody help me — where’s my iphone — it’s my life!
Everywhere we go we want to be connected and we want to be connected for free. Lord forbid that we should get notified we got a “like” or a new follower and we not know about it.
It’s as if we are running through this life at such a quick speed and meaningful interactions have succumbed to likes and retweets. It’s hard for some to slow down because it is all so addicting. Who doesn’t want more friends or followers?
But that’s just it — who said it was all about more? Who said?
Who said others were more valuable because they had more followers? Who said?
The world tells us who we are supposed to be.
We live in a crazy time that’s for sure. We hear things like “you need pinterest, twitter, facebook, linkedin, google+, etc” daily. Hey, we are even told we can pay somebody to get us more likes and friends. And for those of us who have business online — we feel adding friends and followers a must. But why?
Because the world tells us to.
The world tells us who we are supposed to be — will we conform or stand up and be ourselves? [well, if you want to tweet – go ahead and tweet that. :)]
As a writer, this world is a conflicting place to live.
I totally get all the numbers, likes, and shares because after all if you write you want your words to matter. You want your words to make a difference.
But here in my writer’s world, I’ve noticed I’ve fallen out of love with the process. While the world told me to find my “one thing” and write about it and then share way, it became more of a procedure and not a love.
I didn’t begin a blog so I could count the traffic it got. Rather I began a blog because my cousin said, “Hey you should write online and start a blog!” And so I did to connect with others.
I named it Positively Alene because I was tired of everyone telling me who I was and I just wanted to live as positively myself. Professional, heh? So here we are years later and I’m longing again to live positively as myself online. Crazy, right?
Here’s what I’m going to do:
1. Go back to my first love — writing to process life.
I’m such a messed up piece of artwork that I’m not even sure what’s going on in my life until I write about it, hash-it-out and process it. Seeing fleshed out in black-and-white brings clarity. Maybe you should try it? Get that journal out and bring those thoughts to life.
I’m going to apologize in advance for the length of this, but I want to lay the foundation for what 2015 will look like.
2. Share what can make a difference to others.
For years now I’ve written about stopping for those less fortunate, helping the homeless, and stepping over fears to serve others — my one thing. I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything for great conversation has started around the topic. But y’all — that’s not all I do. I get emails from some of you (which I love because it’s personal!) and y’all think I live on the street corners loving on the homeless and prostitutes. That just makes me giggle! While that is a passion that burns so deep within and I’m out there often – that does not encompass my life as a whole.
I want to do life together with you all — not just one thing. (therefore the new look and tagline of Positively Alene) I’ve embarked on some new journey’s this past year and I want us to talk about them. Also, this next year I’m becoming a g-ma and marrying a daughter — I’m going to need y’all sharing your experiences with me.
3. Get off social media.
Well, I probably need to clarify that one. I’m keeping a few because they are fun and I love the connections. I’m keeping my personal facebook and will be letting go of my writer page. It’s too much to keep up with and I fail, plus I just want to be me — Positively Me — not just a writer-like girl. So, if you are following the writer page, please hop over to my personal page and let’s connect.
Oh and Instagram has to stay! Who doesn’t love pictures — I love living behind camera lenses. Show me your life in pics and I’ll show you mine! Smile . . .
4. Be present.
It’s really hard to be a great friend and help others when you are more concerned about notifications on your phone. Because we carry our phones around now like they are a way of life or death (aren’t they?) we miss many opportunities to be in the moment. What I’ve realized is that it is hard to make a difference in someone else’s life when you are not present in the moment!
I’ll be putting away my phone more. I can’t totally put it away because it is my business phone, but if I’m having coffee with you — I’m putting it away. And feel free to call me out if I fail here!
5. Connect with you.
While I will be writing to process life, what I post will hopefully connect with and encourage you. I don’t want to be haphazard, but rather write out the words longing to pour out of my soul. After all what’s life without connections!
Connections are key to thriving, as well as helping others. So, let’s connect. I want to provide ways where we can connect in person. Stay tuned in the year ahead for more info about this.
While purging myself of more clothes, shoes, and food years ago wrecked me and left me changed, I’m praying the same will happen as I let go of what the world is telling me. I’m sensing freedom and less stress is on the way. That thought alone leaves me smiling and eager to move ahead.
Do you feel scattered and overwhelmed by your online life? Are you ready to be present and not let the world rule you in 2015? If so, I’d love to hear about the steps you are going to take.