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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Blogtember: Put the phone away.

Saturday night, we went to the LA County Fair.  I've never been, but my idea of a county fair is the local on back east - dirt field, carnival rides, fried dough, and weather that necessitates a sweater and a knit hat.  Imagine my surprise when we arrived at the LACF ("the largest county fair in the world," C reminded me,) to a Disneyland-esque parking situation, complete with a tram to the entrance, and tons and tons of people.  (And 80 degree weather.)

I decided that before we went, I would take one or two pictures with my phone, but that was it.  No checking it to see if I got a random text message, no scrolling through my news feed, nothing.  In the past few months I've really been feeling like my phone is such a cop out, and Louie C.K.'s recent discussion on Conan that's gone viral has really, really gotten me thinking about it.  (Here's a great yoga-centric post about it from YogaDork.)  I originally planned on having phone detox Sundays, but that became a problem when football season started and I needed to keep an eye on my Fantasy score.  I then decided that I'd just ixnay the phone usage after 6 pm on Sundays, substantially easier now that Breaking Bad is almost over and most of my news feed are east coast watchers.  (Yet, that said, Breaking Bad IS ALMOST OVER and that means after next Sunday I'll need to find a new excuse.)

While we were at the fair, I did only take a few pictures, including cute bunnies who were snuggling together in their pen, and a photo and video of C bungee jumping (BUNGEE JUMPING!).  I managed to avoid Facebook altogether, and unsuccessfully tried to post a photo to Instagram.  I noticed I was much more aware of what was going on, how I was feeling, and what we were doing, so much so that now, three days later, I'm still remembering details that I would have definitely forgotten by now had I been engrossed in my phone.

The irony is not lost on me that last night I got to a chapter in Yeah Dave's "Living in the Moment" about the exact same thing.  The idea that time you enjoy wasting isn't actually wasting time.  (Or something like that.)  In a society where we equate productivity with success, its easy to fall into the 'I have to check my email, I have to call this person, I have to do this thing,' to feel like we've accomplished something.  Take it from me - my office phone is an iPhone and it pretty much follows me wherever I go, so no wonder I've been contemplating running away to a cabin in the woods with a bunch of books and no internet in sight.  But some of the best moments in life are truly the ones where we stop to take in what's around us, what's happening, and how we're feeling.  And that can be scary.

My summers spent in Maine used to be like this.  When we first started camping there, I'm pretty sure they didn't have wifi yet, and I certainly didn't have a cell phone or a laptop.  Days meant going for long bike rides, reading by the lake (one weekend I read 4 books, and I still remember doing it!) and playing cards on the picnic table.  Even in the more recent years, when I did have a smartphone, it was far easier for me to ignore it in that environment.  It meant I was out making memories and spending time with people I cared about, rather than taking photos of said memories to then post to the world.

The more this lesson keeps popping up in my 'sphere, the more I become aware that I miss the days where smartphones didn't exist.  Sure, its a great tool in many ways, and by no means am I regretting having one.  (The paranoid 'what if there's an emergency?' part of me outwins that battle every time.)  But I am going to be much more cognizant about how much of those calm, quiet moments I waste scrolling my news feed or playing Tetris.  One of my favorite things to do on Saturday mornings post-yoga is to open our balcony door, listen to the birds, and drink a cup of coffee in silence.  I just need to remember that feeling whenever I feel the 'grab the phone' itch.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Blogtember: A skeptical ESFJ

Last week I mentioned that some of the Blogtember posts have REALLY been hitting home.  When you ask the Universe for some guidance, it will give you guidance, just in ways you don't quite see, and today's prompt is no joke.

A little back story: a few weeks ago, C and I went to dinner with a good friend of mine and her good friend, who I had met once before.  We had a really great conversation over dinner which lead to her recommending to me a book called "Do What You Are".  She mentioned that she had been in a job for years that she was, for the most part, happy doing, but something was off, and lo and behold, this book showed that her personality was ill fitted for the work she was doing, and it totally changed her perspective on careers and jobs.  She recommended I check it out, take the personality test, and see where it guides me.  I bought the book used on Amazon, and have slowly been working through it the past few weeks.  Let me tell you, figuring out your personality is not black and white!

I mentioned this book to Jillian last week, and then had to laugh when I saw that today's prompt was taking an online version of the personality test.  What are the odds?!

Here are my results:

Extravert(44%)  Sensing(12%)  Feeling(62%)  Judging(56%)
  • You have moderate preference of Extraversion over Introversion (44%)
  • You have slight preference of Sensing over Intuition (12%)
  • You have distinctive preference of Feeling over Thinking (62%)
  • You have moderate preference of Judging over Perceiving (56%)
Before I go into details, what I find really humorous about this is that when I first took the test via the book, I thought I was one personality type.  Then, as the book suggests, I looked at the things that I was more or less halfway on (Sensing/Intuition, Judging/Perceiving) and swapped sides, and looked at that personality, and thought it was mostly fitting but not 100%.  I read both types to two friends, looking for their input, and both said, without a doubt, I was type #2, which shocked me.  I take the personality test online and lo and behold, type #2.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Guardians of birthdays, holidays and celebrations, ESFJs are generous entertainers. They enjoy and joyfully observe traditions and are liberal in giving, especially where custom prescribes.

Uh, yeah.  As my family and close friends know, my birthday is celebrated all March long.  I love all holidays as well, and can easily turn anything into a celebration.  (I went to yoga today? Celebratory cronuts for everyone!)

  • ESFJs enjoy being in charge. They see problems clearly and delegate easily, work hard and play with zest. ESFJs, as do most SJs, bear strong allegiance to rights of seniority. They willingly provide service (which embodies life's meaning) and expect the same from others.

There is a reason why I was president of my high school Student Council.  This would also explain my desire to be involved in committees and groups.
  • An ESFJ at odds with self is a remarkable sight. When a decision must be made, especially one involving the risk of conflict (abhorrent to ESFJs), there ensues an in-house wrestling match between the aforementioned black-and-white Values and the Nemesis of Discord. The contender pits self against self, once firmly deciding with the Right, then switching to Prudence to forestall hostilities, countered by unswerving Values, ad exhaustium, winner take all.

In lamens terms, I really struggle with deciding where to go out to eat on a weekly basis. I am my own worst enemy.

My journey on discovering my personality and learning my strengths and weaknesses has been really fascinating.  I'm taking is super slow with the book, often rereading sections or chapters to make sure I'm really understanding things, and its been enlightening.  It has also helped me recognize personality traits in others, and helped me slowly become much more understanding and empathetic.  If you haven't taken the online test, I highly recommend it.  Totally worth your time.

Now, what to eat for lunch...

Friday, September 6, 2013

Blogtember: 3 months.

*I have been 100% slacking already on Blogtember.  Not the best start, right?  I've felt uninspired, but the whole point of Blogtember is to follow the prompts so I don't have to muster up the energy and figure out what to write.  So, be ready for me to attempt to pay catch up.  (Yes, I get that's kind of anti-Blogtember, but there are so many great prompts, I don't want to miss out!)

Do you ever have one of those moments where a friend will bring up a topic to you, and you've totally been thinking about it for a while, and it feels sort of like kismet that (s)he mentions it at all?  This is sort of how I feel about today's Blogtember prompt, on how I would spend 3 months off from from life.  I've spent a lot - A LOT - of time lately ruminating over what I'd be doing if I could do anything (dream big, kids!) and when Jenni at SoML posted her Blogtember prompts, I laughed when I saw that day 2 was exactly what I had been thinking about.

First and foremost, I'd travel.  Another cross country road trip, starting with Yosemite, then criss-crossing down to New Orleans, and back up the east coast to see family.

Then I'd look this fear of flying square in the face, and go to Ireland; sit in pubs all day and drink and make friends, go on long walks, and buy a bunch of wool scarves to ship back to California that I'll never get to wear (but will always be a fun reminder.)  I'd then make my way back to London for a redux; last time I was there, I was 10, and got homesick and got sent home early.  I have some catching up to do... which is really just code for shopping at Harrods.  I'd then make my way to Paris, FINALLY, and drink wine with every meal and people watch.  I may even skip the Louvre and instead run the Champs Elysees.

Then, Italy.  Lots and lots of Italy.  Florence, Rome, Tuscany, Cinque Terre.  Writing, eating, taking pictures... do you see a pattern here?

Besides the reading, eating, writing and photograph taking, I'd also do my damnedest to detox on the social media front.  I've already been attempting Sunday detoxing (which is now going to be difficult to maintain with fantasy football season) because I think I just spend too much of my free time checking in on everyone else and not in on myself.  What more could I accomplish in the minutes or hours a day I spend checking my phone?  A lot, I think.

Could I live three months without Facebook and Instagram?  Well, maybe Facebook..