archives

being human

This tag is associated with 113 posts

How DOES One Pay It Forward?

When one is broke?

I have been so fortunate in this life.  Not in the money/riches sense, but in the helpful friends and family sense.

These most recent trials involving my roommate’s surgery (and subsequent loss of income), coupled with my own health issues (heart, rash, suspected clot) AND repair of the shower leaking through the ceiling (with an insurance deductible, and the insurance company promising they would pay for a hotel room – they didn’t(!)  They said the hotel wouldn’t take it (!?)

I’ve a Sister stepped up without my even asking, with the deductible.  That was eaten by the plumber and the hotel.  And other friends have come forward to make certain I would have a positive bank balance(!)

The insurance company said, as the hotel refused their method of payment, that we could subtract the hotel charges from the deductible.  Making today’s visit from the adjuster forty-one dollars and change!

We actually have that.

Will wonders never cease?

But, back to the question.  I’ve been told by my generous friends that there is no balance sheet, and, when I am able, to pay it forward.

I’m on permanent disability, and have no savings left, nor credit!  Exactly HOW am I supposed to pay it forward?

And, I have some other payments due shortly with which my friends traditionally assist.

(As an aside, I certainly do not feel worthy of such help, or friends.  How they made such determinations is beyond me.)

To all of you (and you know who you are) I have undying gratitude and thanks for all the help you have given me over the years.

I just don’t know why I deserve such help, or how to pay it forward?

“To SELL, Of Course!”

(from TFB, in part)

They say there’s a sucker born every minute.  No where does this seem to be more true than in the firearms industry.  Poorly thought of add-ons, holsters, ammunition design, etc.

I remember Col. Cooper being asked (with regard to the latest variant of some pistol, which certainly was not necessary), “Jeff, what’s it for?  To sell, of course!” was his reply.

I’m certain you can think of many others, as well as selections of the ‘good’ variety that didn’t get marketed properly and went away.

Such is the nature of business…

Perspective

If you’ve not noticed, I’ve been doing a lot of whining recently.  (And how could you NOT?)

Health issues, money issues, issues with insurance, maintenance and repair of the residence, yatta, yatta, yatta…

Sometimes it’s all on which I focus.

I’m human.

But, recent events have come to pass involving others, which puts things in perspective.

My friend and former boss, John, with whom I recently re-connected on FB, has had it rough.  When I knew him back in college, he had it ‘all’.  Former Marine, married to a beautiful woman, a nice house.  I had none of these things.  During the subsequent years, he lost his marriage, his home, his livelihood.

Sometime in the interim, he rejoined the Service, the second time the Navy!

After his discharge he lived on the streets for eleven years!

He is now on VA-related disability, and helps homeless vets with his own funds when he is able (!)

Sadly, he is battling a slow leukemia.  And just found out that his heart is failing, AND, he has lung cancer!!!

In another part of the Republic, Brigid’s father may be on his way out.  He is a WWII AAC veteran, and still lives in Brigid’s childhood home.  He recently contracted pneumonia, often deadly for older folks.  His next birthday he will be 97.  If he makes it.

Here are two fine men.  They have served their country.  Raised decent and proper children.  One of whom is a dear friend.

And here I am whining.

I am currently in an undisclosed location (paid for by J’s homeowner’s insurance).  A hotel, enabling us to get a hot shower and stay out of the repair zone while the insurance adjuster, contractors, plumbers, et al  fight it out for repair of the one bath in the house with a shower.  Because of a ceiling leak.

I worry about the minutiae.  Having to use part of the deductible funds to ‘secure the room’, for example.

But, while I am ill, it doesn’t appear lethal.

Perspective, I’m tellin’ ya!

Be grateful for that which you have.

I’m still learning this lesson…

Memorable Movie Mistakes

I’ve not been ‘on a date’ in some time.  It’s simply a matter of logistics – I’ve no extraneous funds and my car is a beater with no air conditioning.

The fact that I don’t travel is any circles with available women has nothing to do with it!

😛

I was thinking this morning about a few of my more memorable dates in the distant past.  Some with fondness; some not-so-much.

I used to like to attend the cinema.  There were many first-run films each week, lots of theaters from which to choose, and who doesn’t like sitting in the dark with a young woman? (this was in my 20’s – before I had been married, and subsequently divorced).

Now, of course, there are fewer movies and movie houses.  And one may sit at home in one’s skivvies and watch videos until the cows come home, with beer, pizza, and (if one is so lucky) company.

AND, one may pause to go to the bathroom!

Times have changed.

ANYWAY, I remembered a couple of dates.  One was a later Hitchcock film.  I did (and DO love Alfred Hitchcock).  My date said she did as well.  Were post-date antics in the offing?

Sadly NO.  The film was Frenzy.  A film of a serial killer rapist, made in London.  I think it was the first time Hitch actually exposed breasts on film.  Following a violent rape and strangulation.  Hardly something to arouse a normal young woman to later romance.

Sigh.

Another time, a former girlfriend returned to town and looked me up.  We went out a few times, and I had hope of rekindling the romance.  But, it was not to be…

She had mentioned she liked Burt Reynolds.  There was a new film out with him in it.  I thought “Hey!  Maybe this will get things going again?”

Hardly.  The film was Deliverance.  You remember – dueling banjos, homosexual rape?

I just couldn’t get a break!

(as an aside, the consummate actor Ned Beatty was the rape victim here.  I’ve wondered about the audition…“Hey, pages 18 and 19 are missing?  Don’t worry about it, Ned.)

And The ‘Adventure’ Continues…

(in our last episode…)

Let’s see…Heart pain (NOT!), a rash, leg edema, J’s health, water from the upstairs shower into the downstairs…

THAT’S IT!

(It’s been a busy month!)

Shower leakage!  We’ve not taken a shower for seven days.  Not that we don’t want to.  Water began coming through the ceiling into the downstairs, and continuing to bathe in that manner just seemed imprudent.

My washcloth and I have become VERY close.

Call the insurance company, you say?  Sure, why not?  Not having the $500 deductible at hand was a bit of an issue.  Fortunately, my very kind and generous Sister stepped up with a surprise gift allowing us to begin the process of again being able to get clean!  Thanks, EL!

Of course, the process is never easy.  The plumber says first they must check for residual moisture and damage before beginning.  And, due to the age of J’s home, asbestos. 

ANOTHER $400.

Fortunately, the company who removes the ceiling (and maybe the shower pan) tells us they can eat that cost (the insurance does not cover it!)!  Whew!

This morning comes the asbestos test.  If negative, the above company may remove the ceiling w/o further adieu, and the plumbers may begin repair this afternoon.

If not…perhaps another day or two of asbestos remediation is involved.

Sigh.

At least things are in process.

Thanks, again, Sis!

As to the other ongoing issues…

J’s health.  She has many health issues, some of which are chronic.  And is seeing many physicians monthly.  She IS recovering nicely from her rotator cuff surgery, and is currently involved in physical therapy for the same.  Our thanks to you all again for your kind wishes and help!

NO heart or chest pain.  The hospital said I was diagnosed ‘non-cardiac chest pain’ – which means they don’t know, could have been gas or muscle-related.

The rash.  I finished my second 5-day run of prednisone, and the rash returned.  Going to the pharmacy today to get a third course of graduated prednisone – so when I stop, it tapers off (per the Doctor).  If that doesn’t do it, then onto a specialist.

Sigh.

The leg edema.  I completed a 10-day course of broad spectrum antibiotics, and it seems to have improved the appearance and size of the leg remarkably!  The Doctor has me picking up a diuretic to hopefully complete the job.  Coupled with orange juice.

The proximate cause of either the rash or edema?  They’ve no idea.

I’m posting this early, as the itching kept me awake, even with the loratadine I’m taking.  Anxiously awaiting the pharmacy opening @ 0900 to obtain the additional meds.

Well, that’s it from us here in The Valley of the Sun.  Hope you all are doing better than we?

Bob Owens R.I.P.

We (both the firearms rights community and humanity) have lost yet another.

Bob Owens.

I knew him through the Internet and other bloggers.  He was both personable and knowledgeable.

BearingArms.com reports that Owens was “a graduate of roughly 400 hours of professional firearms training classes, including square range and force-on force work with handguns and carbines.”

The site added that he was “a past volunteer instructor with Project Appleseed. He most recently received his Vehicle Close Quarters Combat Instructor certification from Centrifuge Training.”

According to Young Conservatives, “Bob was well-respected among conservatives and Second Amendment advocates. He would frequently take on gun control advocates in social media with his classic brand of intelligence and sharp wit, often leaving them in the dust.”

As news of Owens’ death spread on social media, many people expressed sadness. Others hit back at pro gun control supporters who made political statements about Owens’ death.  (Heavy.com)

Of course, there was so much more to Bob than just a couple of dry paragraphs.

From Bob, himself:

About the Author

Written By: Bob

Bob Owens is native of North Carolina who began blogging at the politics-focused Confederate Yankee in November 2004 before transitioning to this site in 2011.

In August of 2013 he has been the editor of Townhall’s Second Amendment web site, BearingArms.com, where he now does most of his writing.

Prior to Bearing Arms, Bob was a contributing writer at Pajamas Media and Shooting Illustrated,

He also does Twitter.

He is currently working on his first novel, The Long Way Home, and has published a short Kindle e-book for people interested in purchasing their first firearm, entitled So You Want to Own a Gun. He is a Rifleman and volunteer instructor in the Appleseed Project, where he shares stories of our history and heritage and teaches rifle marksmanship, but mainly likes to play Line Boss.

He is married to the girl of his dreams, and they have two children.

I was told during an extremely low time in my life that being a father meant suicide was no longer an option.  In spite of this, I’m not judging Bob – who knows what demons resided in his psyche?

Godspeed, Bob – Requiescat in pacem

(PLEASE – If you are distraught, or worse, ask for help!  Everyone, whether they realize it or not, has friends and family who care about them.  Don’t take this path! – Guffaw)

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255

How To Ruin A Perfectly Good Saturday 

First, get together with a group of friends for coffee and such, and listen to the the latest versions of their respective weeks.

On the way home, experience an odd internal pain while driving – particularly while turning the steering wheel.  Not vigorously, mind you, and with power steering.

Experience this three different times in the space of fifteen-or-so minutes.

Drive home and internally debate calling the RN nurse help line, offered by your insurance carrier.

Make the call, and experience a chain of health-related advertising while on hold. Disconnect the call and redial the main number, eventually being menu-prompted to a live nurse.

Discuss the specifics of the multiple events, including the depth, type of pain, duration and other symptoms experienced.

Receive the strong suggestion I visit either an E. R. close by, or an urgent care.

Soon. 

Ask roommate J. to drive you. She has recently been released to drive, but with her shoulder on the mend, I’ve insisted she not yet so do, until now.

J. begins experiencing her own symptoms she has had repeatedly for a couple of years, involving her heart and asthma. Decide to drive yourself the 1/8 mile to the Urgent Care, based on the fact an E. R.  is more distant, and costs more money.

The Urgent Care performs an EKG, says it ‘might’ be unusual, and recommends an immediate hospital intake for further evaluation. Drive home and ask J. to do the honors, just in case.

Arrive at the E. R..  J. ‘s breathing has again become labored, probably because of stress and the smoke in the air from the nearby desert and city fires.

They admit her first, for observation.

At length, get admitted, have blood taken, and another ekg done. And answer the same questions the same way to three different doctors, the same way you did at the urgent care.   And have another ultrasound of the still puffy leg.

Eventually get moved to a room. You are hungry and tired, and J. gets released on her good behavior.

Attempt to call family and friends via cell.  Apparently, this is verboten.  Text everyone and go on FB.  (Thank you for your support!)

Finally, get a doctor’s permission to eat.  Initially, as the lunchroom is now closed, they bring you a well-traveled turkey sandwich (I LOATHE turkey!)

Negotiate and end up with BBQ chicken and a baked potato!

Awaiting later blood work, to compare with the earlier, to see if any actual heart damage occurred. Get told you might have to stay overnight.

Get released twelve hours after the initial pain happened, not having any additional pain or symptoms, with the diagnosis ‘chest pain of a non-cardiac nature’! (IOW, they don’t know!) 

Received referrals for your regular doctor and a cardiologist, just because.

Ask J. to return to collect you.

Realize you are subject to the power of suggestion, as one of your friends had been discussing her heart attack last week in this morning’s coffee, with the subsequent placement of a stent.

Consider suicide (just kidding)…

LAZINESS

Borepatch recently posted regarding his dearth of posts.

Hardly.  I told him I wait for friends and quality!

I, too, have been remiss in my blogging duties.  Either in performing more than the minimum, or in leaving comments for my blogging brethren and sistren.

Turns out, there are reasons.

First, both my roomie and I have had recent health ‘issues’ and concerns.  She, a number of surgeries; me, a rash-of-indeterminate origin, a bad fall and a blood clot scare.

Second, my focus has been on trying to help keep us afloat while she misses work (and income).

Third, the ongoing household chores and maintenance – they never stop!  Dogs and cats to tend, trash to be taken out, groceries…

Two days ago, a leak from the upstairs shower became apparent, as water began coming through the ceiling!!  Do we have homeowner’s insurance?  Of course.  Can we afford the deductible?  NO.

And we have neither diagnostic nor physical plumbing ability…

The good news, is J. was released from her restrictive sling yesterday (following rotator cuff surgery).  Only eleven more weeks of physical therapy for her to follow!  And four more doctor’s appointments later this month.

My rash is largely gone (although I still itch, somewhat) and my bloated calf seems to be getting smaller.  I return Thursday for another follow-up with my doc.

So, Life keeps us busy.  And my focus has been less-than-perfect on the blog.

But, we will continue and prevail.

Peace.  Out.

 

I’ve Not Visited Here In a While…

The Art of Manliness! (a blog to which I often refer) (in part)

Decluttering Your Digital Life

Hamlet’s Blackberry. The Joy of Missing Out. Irresistible. Reclaiming Conversation. The Tech-Wise Family.

Recent years have seen a boom in books (and articles) about being digitally mindful — putting down the smartphone, closing the computer, and engaging with real-world, tactile things. All this content makes the case that our devices are sapping a bit of our soul.

And I have to agree. Here on the Art of Manliness, we’ve written about FOMO (and interviewed Christina Crook about JOMO), breaking the smartphone habit, the importance of conversation in a digital world, and more.

This isn’t to say that the digital revolution is a bad thing, just that it needs a little more mindfulness than simply picking up the latest iPhone and diving into the digital ocean with reckless abandon.

In reading these commentaries on the effects technology is having on our lives, and considering both the negative and positive sides of the coin, it occurred to me that perhaps the best way of thinking about how we should engage our digital spaces, is to compare it to how we inhabit our physical ones.

In the same way that “analog” possessions are neither good or bad in and of themselves, but only detract rather than enhance our lives when they become too great in number, require too much maintenance, and clutter up our garages, kitchens, and bedrooms, apps and websites aren’t inherently problematic, but become such when they overwhelm our devices and require too much attention. When they become digital clutter.

Just as physical clutter can cloud the mind and hinder your focus, so can digital clutter. It takes up an inordinate amount of mental space and bandwidth.

Fortunately, just like with physical clutter too, the digital variety can be readily sorted through, organized, and cleaned up. By making the effort to do some digital decluttering — putting everything in its place and ditching what isn’t desirable — you’ll be able to focus better, breathe easier, and reclaim many of those spare moments that have been lost to endless scrolling on Facebook and Instagram.

If you’re ready to vacuum up some digital dust, clean out your closet of apps, and pare down your technological junk drawer, then grab a metaphorical trash bag, and let’s get to work.

The Harm of Digital Clutter

Just as physical clutter leads to stress and a muddled mind, so does digital clutter. It leaves you with what author Scott Hartley calls “constant partial attention.”

It works in the same way that physical clutter sometimes leaves you unable to fully focus on a task: You need to finish up some administrative work at home, but you know there’s a pile of mail that needs your attention, the living room needs vacuuming, and the coat closet is bursting at the seams with junk.

The digital version: Your inbox has thousands of messages. Your smartphone notification window is alerting you to 6 different social media apps that need your attention. You have 19 tabs open, each with some purpose that you’ve probably already forgotten. You have a conversation going with a family member in a variety of different places — text message, Facebook messenger, email — and you can’t keep track of what was last said.

With all that going on just in your little device that you hold in your hand, it becomes impossible to truly focus on any one thing, let alone something that’s truly important.

Scott Hartley states this problem well in The Fuzzy and the Techie:

“It’s a process of constant minor interruptions that delude us into thinking that we’re highly engaged across a number of shallow conversations, but in fact, we’re just continually, partially attuned.”

The very technology that we’ve created has in fact very slowly hijacked all of us. As Christina Crook notes, “Facebook in 2006 was fun, Facebook in 2016 is downright addicting.”

You know the feeling of satisfaction, relaxation, and relief that comes when you’ve tidied up your room or house? It’s the exact same when you tidy up your digital life. You regain the ability to focus on important things — not necessarily productive things, but important things like your family, a good book, even a great meal. (When’s the last time you went a day without checking your smartphone during a meal?)

Identify and Inventory the Problem

The task of physical decluttering often starts by surveying what areas of the house have become overly filled with junk, and deciding on a rubric for figuring out what should stay and what should go.

The job of digital decluttering should begin in the same way.

In The Joy of Missing Out, Christina Crook offers a helpful yardstick for evaluating the effects of our digital “possessions.”

She was inspired by a seemingly unlikely and decidedly un-modern source: Saint Ignatius Loyola, who lived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries.

While it’s unlikely he created the discipline, he considered what he called “The Examination of Consciousness” (sometimes shortened to simply be called “Examine”) to be the most important spiritual practice one could partake in. It was really quite simple — twice a day, the Christian practitioner would guide themselves through a reflection of their actions and time spent, using the 10 commandments as a guide.

With Ignatius’ Examine as a starting point, Crook created a shorter, modern, secular version designed to inspire reflection. She asks readers to inquire of themselves, on a daily basis, two things (and in this case especially, thinking with your device and internet habits top of mind):

  1. What today was most life-giving?
  2. What today was most life-taking?

In just two days of practicing this contemporary Examine I came to realize that most of my digital actions were far more life-taking than giving. What was most life-giving in a normal day? A splendid cup of coffee in the morning alongside a real book, a breath of fresh air in the middle of the day, playing with my son after picking him up from daycare, writing a letter to a friend. Not once in my reflections has anything social media or internet-related been most life-giving.

And yet, before this digital decluttering, I spent a lot of my time on my phone. Granted, I was better than a lot of people. It’s rare that phone time was truly disrupting something, but in spare moments I was playing games, or perusing Facebook, or trying to pick which adorable picture of my kid to post to Instagram. Those spare moments really added up — I’m a little ashamed to say that my game of choice was Two Dots, and I got up to level 1,006 before recently working up the nerve to delete it.

Viewing my digital habits through Crook’s Examine questions helped me to identify the areas of my tech habits that were problematic, and gave me criteria on which needed to be re-organized, pared down, or eliminated.

Before beginning your own decluttering project, I recommend engaging in the same illuminative exercise. The insights that you get will be different than mine, which will allow you to create a more personal plan.

In a lot of the material out there on digital detoxing, you’ll find plenty of prescriptive advice. The thing with clutter (of any kind), though, is that it’s actually fairly personal. A desk with piles of of books and papers and mail on it doesn’t bother me, but a sink full of dishes does. Some folks are just the opposite. Similarly, an email inbox with more than 30 messages in it stresses me out, while plenty of people have never deleted or archived anything and are perfectly happy to leave it that way.

You’ll have to find out for yourself what bothers you — what takes up mental space — and what doesn’t. Don’t necessarily just blindly follow what’s been recommended by others. Experiment and tailor your digital decluttering to your wants and needs.

How to Declutter Your Digital Life

Once you’ve determined which of your digital habits are more life-taking than life-giving, it’s time to take a broom to the former.

Below I walk you through some steps — both easy and not-so-easy — to tidy things up. Some of them may seem a little intense, but I encourage you to give them a try. As Flannery O’Connor wrote, and as The Strenuous Life implores — “Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you.”

Since our age is pushing us hard into the abstract and distracting, don’t be afraid to be similarly ruthless with your decluttering — to go to what other people might call “extremes.” You can always add back in what you miss and what you discover is truly life-giving. Sometimes when cleaning up, you just need to throw it all out and start with a blank slate.

Christina Crook did this by going internet-free for 31 days. After going nuclear for a month, she added back in what was useful and beneficial (and also kept the good habits and routines she discovered in that month).

Kyle Eschenroeder did something similar with his Input Deprivation Week. For seven days, he lived without blogs, social media, and online news sites of any kind (among other non-internet forms of input too). He realized the space they were taking up in his life, and noticed a slew of benefits from taking a break:

“It will increase mindfulness, increase the respect you have for your own ideas, you’ll have more ideas, unsolvable life problems may begin to make sense, you’ll have an increased appreciation for the news that actually matters, you’ll become more social, you’ll gain perspective, and you’ll become more original.”

With the principle of doing more rather than less in mind, let’s get into specific tactics for reducing the digital clutter in your life:

Cull your email inbox. Let your inbox become a sacred space. By utilizing filters for any advertising or social media email, and by unsubscribing to anything I’m not actively interested in reading, my inbox has become a place where I know that almost anything that comes in is either important, or from a friend or loved one (which I’m interested in even if it isn’t all that important!).

Rather than letting Redbox into your inbox to tell you the new releases, just go to the website when you want to rent a movie. Rather than letting Target suck you in with coupons, search out the coupons when you need something.

Practice Inbox Zero if you’re into that; if it doesn’t bother you, not a big deal. Personally though, knowing I have a fairly empty inbox at the end of the day clears up a bunch of mental space.

Get rid of apps on your homescreen(s). The homescreens on our smartphones are hotbeds for clutter. Between apps, folders for apps, and notifications, it’s pretty much constantly beckoning for our attention. If you have an Android phone, if you delete an app from a homescreen, it’s not gone, it just goes away into a slightly-harder-to-access app section. I’ve done this, so if I want to get to Instagram, I’ve added a step besides simply unlocking my phone. I now have to navigate to apps, then to Instagram. Just one extra step has me checking on a weekly basis rather than a few-times-per-day basis. My homescreen now only has apps that I use regularly for life-giving or practical purposes: Kindle, flashlight, kid’s mode, camera, phone, email, text messaging, and Starbucks. And boy is it nice.

(On iPhones, it’s a little harder, as apps are downloaded automatically onto the homescreen. Utilize folders, multiple homescreens with less on them, or the below option of losing your apps altogether.)

Decluttered homescreen(s), decluttered mind. You’ll no longer be mindlessly sucked into 20 minutes of Facebook scrolling because you’re worried you’re missing out on something. If you don’t see that little blue F button, there’s a good chance you won’t even think about it (or if you do, you’ll think about it much less).

Ditch apps altogether and use your browser or your computer. Frankly, I love this tactic. Get rid of all the apps on your phone and force yourself to use its browser, or your home computer, when you need a social media fix or to search for something. Apps are clutter. Period.

Need to look up flights? Right now? Doubtful. It can wait until you’re in front of a computer. If it can’t, use your phone’s browser. In general, apps give us permission to feel the need to check or look something up instantly, when that is rarely, if ever, a true need. We check the weather app constantly only because we can. Ten years ago we survived with weather reports on the news, maybe looking it up on a computer, or heaven forbid, stepping outside to feel the temp and look at the sky. Now, I check the temperature on my phone while standing in front of a window. Seems a little silly.

As noted above, don’t be afraid to go nuclear with your apps and mass delete things, and if you find you really need something, download it again knowing that it’s truly useful.

Ditch all notifications. Okay, this is somewhat prescriptive advice. Notifications are clutter, just like a pile of mail on your table is clutter. It’s stuff that’s just begging to be opened and looked at and dealt with. Except whereas your mailbox might have 5 items to look through, between email and social media and news alerts, you could have hundreds of things to wade through every day. Mental clutter.

Treat your notifications more like you do your actual mailbox. When you get snail mail, it’s not chucked through the window at you the instant it arrives at the postal service’s distribution center. That would be rather distracting. Instead, it’s sorted and delivered in a bundle all together at a single time during the day. Take 15-20 minutes once or twice a day to check email, news, social media, etc. Don’t let it clutter your day and interrupt the important things you’re doing.

And while you’ll generally think of notifications in terms of your smartphone, ditch ‘em on your computer too. There are multiple inboxes I keep track of for work, but I’ve limited desktop notifications to only my main account. And I’ve also disabled all social media desktop notifications. Those are things that can be checked at set times during the day.

Stick to 1-2 social networks. I have personally found that trying to maintain regular use of multiple social networks to be just too much. It takes a lot of brainspace to check and be active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat, and more all in the same day. So I’ve decided that in addition to deleting most apps from my phone, I won’t even try to keep up with more than Facebook or Instagram, and won’t maintain a presence on even those platforms beyond posting a weekly or bi-weekly photo. I’ve also taken up letter writing to keep in touch with people I truly care about. It’s far more satisfying for both parties than simply “liking” a social media update.

Put your phone away. When you come home and throw your keys into a basket, catchall, or other small container, toss your phone in with them. When it’s with you — and in your pocket — the mental clutter of an entire internet’s worth of headlines and viral videos can be too much to resist. Having your phone always next to you is like having a stack of newspapers and magazines on the floor that you have yet to read. Only when you ditch the newspapers because you realize they’re literally old news will the mental space they’re crouching on be freed up. Same goes with your phone. Those memes don’t call to you if your phone isn’t within reach.

Change your “zoning out” routine. Plenty of people, myself included, cite phone use as a way to zone out and chillax a little bit at certain points throughout the day. Maybe you had a long day at work, or your kids were being extra rambunctious during dinner. So when it’s time to kick back and relax a little, you grab your phone for some mindless browsing and social media scrolling. You need to just not think for a little bit.

But in doing so, you’re adding to your digital and mental clutter. You’re actually filling your brain with more FOMO and more headlines that don’t usually convey anything important. You want to empty your mind, but you’re only adding to it.

Rather than zoning out by engaging the digital clutter, do something else. Anything else. Pick up a book — some easy-reading cheap thriller will do. Sit outside with a homebrew or a cocktail and watch the sunset. Bake some bread. Carve a spoon. Jumpstart your journaling. These are the things that will truly declutter your digital life. While your phone calls you in a million different directions and to dozens of apps to constantly check, doing something tactile often requires that you focus on one thing at a time.

While these actions often necessitate more effort to start than simply grabbing your phone, resolve to do it, and once you’re in the moment, you’ll realize it’s far better than staring at a screen.

When it comes to spring cleaning this year, don’t just think of tidying up your physical spaces, but take time to declutter your digital ones too. Determine which of your digital devices, apps, and emails are taking from your life rather than giving to it, and organize or eliminate the vitality suckers. “A place for everything and everything in its place,” doesn’t just apply to your clothes and dishes, but to your phone, and your habits, too.

Do I follow their sage advice?  Not as much or as often as I should.

But I AM learning!

 

From The ‘Just When You Thought It Was Safe’ Dept.

In the past eight years, I went from a low-to-middle income ‘career’, to short-term disability and illness, to long term disability and remission.

Thus far.

While I am most grateful for having survived(!), with long term disability has come a lower income, and the loss of my job and home.  I tried to recover in the short term, and ended up maxing out my credit cards coupled with the inability to pay for them.  And the medical bills that followed.

Along the way my firearms collection was stolen.  Just to add to the ‘fun’.

Through the kindness of friends, I’ve been able to increase my firearms acquisitions to a small collection* (my surviving .38 snubbie and 1911, a Ruger .357 revolver and a compact Sig-Sauer .45!  And, of course, a spring-operated pellet pistol and single-shot gas one!!)

My cup runneth over.

Not the over 50 firearms I once owned, but, it’s a great beginning.  (I know, poor me.)  😛

So, what do I get in the email the other day?

Your Dream Gun Within Reach

One Gun One Gunsmith combined with oversized hand fit parts makes Nighthawk Custom pistols more expensive than assembly line guns. We know many of you dream of owning one “someday”, well someday is now today. With just 10% down and payments as low as $94 a month we have been able to make owning a work of American Craftsmanship attainable without having to cut corners.

The best part is, even if I had the down payment (which I don’t) with my trashed credit, there’s no way they would approve my application!

Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t apply…

 

*We say collection.  Arsenal has developed a negative connotation.

 

(FTC – Nighthawk gave me nothing.  Apply for your own pistol!  My roomie has one she bought years ago.  It’s delightful!)

 

 

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…