Is it about the lifestyle?

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Tonight I heard a reply about a very sad situation which took place earlier this week, and started to wonder how the fast pace of our lives contributed to this situation.   Some  still think that having a lot of money is the answer to all their problems, but there is more and more proof that money doesn’t buy happiness.

If you haven’t heard the story, I won’t mention names because it isn’t who, it’s the what that I am concerned with.  A man who from all outward appearances should have been the happiest man in the world.  His dream job, a new baby, and plenty of money banked.  Every thing he had worked for he had reached.

What did he do?  He killed the mother of his baby and then himself.

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A co-worker when asked about the situation answered that he has been asking himself if there was something he should have seen.  His comments after that were shocking to me.  He talked about how instead of talking to those he works with, he spends time on his phone, on  Facebook or Twitter.

As you may notice I don’t have Facebook or Twitter or any other social networking on my blog. I don’t want to be so tied to my computer or phone and have chosen to avoid these things.  I’m not saying it’s wrong to use these networking services, only that I choose not to.  I do have a personal Facebook account  so I could see pictures of my youngest grand child.  I don’t use it for anything other than connecting with family and that works for me, but then again I come from a generation that still remembers what it was like not to be connected all the time.

What about being on a phone? I’ve talked before about how annoying it is to have company texting rather than being fully with the rest of us.

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This photo is of a beautiful spot in nature, okay the water looks a little muddy, but it’s still serene.  I can see two friends who thought it would be a nice relaxing place to just sit quietly and have time in a natural setting to talk maybe even brought a packed lunch, but they both brought their phones, and whoever is on the other end is more important than the person they are with or the views they came to see. See the house in the distance, could one of them be talking to some one inside the house, who felt it was easier to just make a call then a walk outside?

What would life be like if we pulled back from being connected all the time?  What if we spent less time on video games, watching YouTube, or posting every thing we do on our Facebook account?

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I read that we, for all the technology that connects us 24/7,  are more isolated than ever before.  What if we unplugged for a day each week and went outdoors, had a barbecue with neighbors or family?  What if we joined a bowling league or a choir, or whatever interests you?  Would we see less suicides?

I considered how my life has changed.  If I were working full time to pay for a larger apartment or material things I still believed I needed I wouldn’t have the time to help my family, to be able to watch the grand children when an emergency comes up, or to be available to spend time with an ill friend when I sense she needs an ear.

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We are in the middle of the biggest consumerist holiday of the year, so obviously money is taking center stage for many families, many going into debt to have the perfect Christmas, how are they going to deal with the stress of that debt later?  So is money a blessing or a curse?  Is earning money for what we deem we want taking center stage to the relationships in society?

Let’s remember this Christmas to make it about the people in our lives, not the presents or the decorations, or even the food.

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10 thoughts on “Is it about the lifestyle?

  1. Wow… I hadn’t heard those comments about being on Facebook etc, but somehow it doesn’t surprise me. It sorta seems like people are losing the fundamental ability to communicate with each other. I think that all of those “social media” sites really give people the illusion of connection without ever really connecting them. I mean… a real relationship involves work. You have to deal with people not just when and how it’s convenient for you. I just wonder how a generation that considers someone you trade occasional barbs with online to be a “friend” is ever going to develop the interpersonal skills to meaningfully connect with other humans.

    I also think that all of this focus on technology has pumped up the whole “larger than life” illusion of success. Back when I was designing glitter dingbats for MySpace (when it was all the rage) it seemed like what everyone wanted was to be “famous” even if their fame only extended to some small corner of the internet. It almost struck me as a desperate plea for validation. But ultimately, that sort of “success” is doomed to ring hollow.

    I dunno… when I worked in the music world I sorta felt like I was surrounded by people who were desperately trying to prove something to the world… well, to themselves really. Not that I wasn’t one of them at the time. But it became really clear to me that with a very few exceptions, in order to be a successful performer you have to not only thrive on the attention you get on stage, you have to “need” it as well. Because on some level the lifestyle really sucks – you spend most of your time on the road, you’re lonely, you live on fast food and out of hotels or worse, sleeping in your car. It just seemed to me that you had to really need the validation of an audience cheering for you in order to be willing to put yourself through what was necessary to succeed in that world, and my guess is that professional sports are much the same.

    I’m rambling… I guess I just think it’s sad.

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    1. I think Eco had an important phrase in her comment. “a great relationship involves work.” Technology makes it easy for us to take the easy way out in so many ways. There is usually a backlash to everything and I’m hoping that the pendulum starts swinging the other way soon and we stop depending on technology for all of our connections.

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      1. I would love to see a day when technology had it’s place, but in a smaller way, yet I don’t think that is going to happen any time soon. EcoCatLady is smart, and yes a great relationship does involve work, so does anything we want in life to achieve.

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    2. I see you knew what story I was talking about. The comments were made by a teammate at the post game conference.

      I hear all the time that someone has x number of friends on their Facebook or whatever and I wonder how many are real friends in real life who simply talk to them online as well and how many are virtual strangers. YOu and I work from home, but we keep connected to the outside world at the same time, and we grew up before the internet was around so we learned communication skills, I wonder what is in store for the next generations.

      I never thought about music in quite the way you put it, but I guess it would end up that way, lonely. My youngest son was the one in my household that became obsessed with sports, it was his life the way music was yours. He made it as far as semi-pro, for him it was about the game, not the adoration or the audience. I still remember the phone calls I got from him talking about this or that pro player that stopped by and how arrogant this person was and how he didn’t like it. So I think it takes both kinds to make it that far.

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  2. Hi Lois….I just checked email and got my weekly digest of articles from your website. You’ve had a very busy week! Especially loved your posts about gratitude, remembering what is important during the holidays and getting a good nights sleep, for sure. All good stuff and worth looking through…taking my posts in one bunch, once a week, is one way that I step away from my technological habits 🙂 Perspective and moderation is a big key for me –and although I love my FB book (and fans!), I recognize that’s not true friendship….and yet, it is a connection in consciousness that allows us to spread good news and hopefulness in the world in a way that would not be possible otherwise. Just the fact that you and I have connected through the internet is proof of it’s potential. My personal belief is that most tragedy occurs (like the one in your blog post) when people feel a lack of meaning and purpose. That’s when addictions like drugs, alcohol and technology are used obsessively–and when they fail to deliver, something terrible happens… As Victor Frankl proved, give people purpose and meaning and they can survive just about anything!

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    1. That’s a great idea for limiting how often you have to check your email. Yes, I blog, but I had to draw the line somewhere on my time on the computer so I chose not to include the social media, but I know it works for others and I understand it’s a good way to get more feedback for a blog.

      Victor Frankl could teach us so much, I know I need purpose and meaning in my life or I too would be very depressed.

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  3. EcoCatLady, you should make messages for fortune cookies. I love your reply about validation. Facebook notifications I receive (“So-and-so liked your status”) make me feel like I’m significant to others. Not a good reason to involve myself in social media. But at the same time, Facebook is also a quick way to voice my passion about living green & simple by acclimating to today’s “convenience world.” Perhaps if my words can slide in to someone’s Newsfeed between catchy memes and over-personal status updates, he/she will eventually have a values veto and realize the silliness of cute cat photo albums and will start to care more about the earth around them and educating others about his/her newfound importance of life.

    If we are involved in a cause merely for personal gain, ie: validation of self worth and/or money, a lack of fulfillment will always follow. Ecclesiastes 2:4-11 mentions a man who built and amassed so much stuff and attained greatness– all for himself. When he finally looks back on his accomplishments, he says this:

    Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
    and what I had toiled to achieve,
    everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
    nothing was gained under the sun.

    He realized that his version of success gave him no fulfillment because his whole life had been about lifting himself up instead of helping others. A documentary (on Netflix) entitled “Happy” follows people around the world who seem to have figured out happiness and success. Family. Community. Volunteering. Being a part of something greater than ourselves. How can I be involved more in my neighborhood? By closing the laptop and stepping out the front door. Facebook is great for organizing big events or getting a message to a big population, but it doesn’t help me cook lasagna for a friend down the street or help me better converse with my mother-in-law. My hands cook; my voice speaks. Connection is better in person.

    Off the soap box now! Sorry for the rant. Wow, you seem to bring out positive ramblings in your subscribers! Thanks for the refreshing post. I’ll trot around your blog and find many other words to help shape my life.

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    1. You can get on your soap box anytime around here, I loved your rant. It is so true that social networking has it’s place and can be a good thing, just not if you are documenting all the stupid things you do,this was brought to my attention when a relative pointed out someone was even documenting on Facebook when they went to the bathroom and the outcome of such, yuck. I like how you use it.

      I too saw Happy and enjoyed it, gave me much to think about. I’m currently reading “Little House on a Small Planet” and have found much there for thought. I just started it last night so I won’t comment too much on it yet.

      There are some great gems in the Bible, Ecclesiastes that you quoted should be on a bumper sticker or some other out in the open place where people could read it frequently and maybe one day think about it. Some times we walk right by or read something and it isn’t until the tenth time that it sinks in.

      Oh and for fortune cookies, that’s an idea, I have an in with a local Chinese restaurant as one of my new friends works at one and frequently brings me a cookie from time to time when she stops by.

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