Month: May 2019

fractured

A collection of thoughts

I think it’s dangerous to make simple issues complicated or to make complicated issues simple. We like to do a lot of both, but we should try to remember the complexity as it really is.

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You don’t discover who you are as much as choose who you are. I think it’s dangerous to think you need to discover your true self. It’s a lot more useful to go and try things and choose what works best.

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Sometimes we need to zoom out on the moments in our life. My kids might all be crying and complaining, but I don’t think I’ll really remember that. I’ll tell myself a completely different story about this time of my life in five or ten or twenty years.

We believe the stories we tell ourselves.

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Do you remember what the internet used to be like? It was a whole bunch of information and text at one point, hand-coded html that was entirely simple. There was email and search engines and that was the internet. I sort of miss it. It’s so commercialized and manipulative now in some ways.

And then there was a time when the internet didn’t exist, and the computer consisted of word processing and games and programs (not apps, programs) that had specific purposes to help your life. In a way, I wish my kids could experience that. It seems simpler. But I suppose the technology we have is fine–today, they listened to music by telling a speaker what to do and they learned math by looking on my phone.

fractured, meditations

Stages of life

Baby. Incredibly fast learning and growing.

Toddler and preschool. Discovery that there is a physical world.

Elementary. Discovery of self in that world.

Middle school. Loss of self as the world gets bigger and more metaphysical.

High school. Rebuilding self in expanding circle.

Young adult. Connecting with the world as it really is.

Adult. Parent. It repeats.

Parenting babies. Fast learning and growing as a parent.

Parenting toddlers and preschoolers. Physical and fundamental teaching and parenting.

Elementary. Intensely guiding your children the best you can.

Middle school. Starting to let the kids make their own choices.

High school. Take a back seat role of support.

Young adult. Letting your children go.

And rediscover yourself again and again, the self that exists after parenting expanding you to something different.

We move from stage to stage, bored and busy, loud and quiet, tired and energetic, connected and lost.

Grandparent. Great-grandparent. It repeats.

In circles, one things remain: we must choose. 

my life

Doing things and getting things done

I like to make lists. But then I have a problem: I am so caught up in getting the list done and checking it off that I don’t spend any time actually enjoying what I’m doing.

This creates a lot of stress in my life because I am rarely present and mindful. Instead, I just think about getting it done and over with. It drains enjoyment out of anything to think that way. When the biggest thrill in my life is checking something off, that’s a problem.

I don’t need to accomplish everything on my to-do list. It’s not the point of life. I don’t want to have a lifetime of just accomplishing stuff that doesn’t always matter that much. I want to develop relationships. I want to build up a home that is filled with love, instead of just a home that is neatly organized and clean.

Instead of just cooking a meal to get it over with, it’s so much better to slow down a bit and take the time to cook a nice meal and even make it fancy or different. Instead of just rushing through schoolwork, it’s better to focus on the problems and the papers and to recognize how you are learning and progressing. Smiling through exercise helps me do more. Laughing with my kids helps them feel loved.

Today I made a really long to-do list. There is no way at all that I am going to get everything done on it. But that’s sort of the point. I don’t need a perfect, productive day. I just need to live and enjoy all the interruptions. Sometimes I need to learn how to leave things undone, and keep living off of what I value instead of just trying to be a productivity machine.

 

do something, fractured

Recent life hacks

Rituals are really helpful in order to express love. We love our children and our spouse and our family, but often we just think expressions of love will happen naturally and spontaneously. They don’t. We have to plan it a bit.

Love means that we always kiss each other good night. Or that we tuck kids into bed and sing them a song. Or we call our moms every Wednesday. Or that we make take time to wrestle every day at 4:00. Or we cuddle every evening. Or we end conversations with, “I love you.”

Everyone wants something dependable and safe, and creating rituals of love can be so helpful in feeling more loved and showing that love more often.

***

Two days ago, I watched a video on YouTube by Jordan Page about a block schedule productivity system. I’m always looking for better ways to manage my life, and this one wasn’t entirely unique, but yet it was just what I needed at the time.

She basically separates her days into a few large blocks, with a timer on the phone to tell her when it’s the next block. I really liked it because instead of using lots of small blocks of time, it was a few big blocks of time, generally categorized but flexible and not too specific. And it was pretty much what I was already doing, but just a slight improvement on it.

For me, I came up with the following blocks:

  • Morning (6-9). Wake-up, scriptures, prayers, mental health, exercise, family scripture study, breakfast, showers, kids ready, cleaning, home projects.
  • Learning (9-12). Homeschool and playing with kids.
  • Lunch (12-1). Lunch and clean up.
  • Projects (1-3). The kids watch movies or play. I work on school, blogging, and other projects.
  • Family/errands (3-5). Time to play outside, go and do things, etc.
  • Dinner (5-7). Dinner, clean up, and whatever.
  • Bed time (7-8). Tubs, stories, bed.
  • Evening (8-10). I catch up on projects and spend time with my husband.
  • Sleep (10-6).

It’s pretty easy. What was super helpful to me was I organizing my to-do list by block. It sort of just made things fall into place more. Instead of thinking what I needed to get done, I was planning on when I was doing it and then not worrying quite as much.

 

do something

Put yourself out there

When I started learning more about economics, I ended up adding some economic blogs into my feed reader. One of them was The Enlightened Economics, by Diane Coyle. She mainly does book reviews, and a lot of her posts were very interesting to me. But I am new to the subject, and I wanted recommendations so I could have a starting point of interesting books, particularly related to economics and philosophy. They don’t teach that sort of thing very often in undergraduate classes.

So I wrote an email and I asked.

I could have talked myself out of doing that very easily, because I am a lowly undergraduate and she is a busy professional. Sometimes I get scared to actually write something that I know someone else will read and respond to. But I did it anyway.

She answered. And then there was a Twitter post (I don’t really do Twitter, but there were 58 comments on it, and retweets as well). And a blog post, with comments on the blog post, and a fairly long list of around 50 books at the end of it. I will probably never read all the books on that list, but I will read some (they are on request from my school’s library).

Not only am I grateful for that list, but it is also helpful for other people who are interested in the same thing. They exist. I haven’t met those other people yet, but maybe one day I will.

I am really glad I asked. So many times we talk ourselves out of asking the questions and sticking ourselves out there. Even if people are somewhat famous and successful, they still often will help others, and do it gladly.

It’s good to just apply. Send an email. Call someone. I have had plenty of rejection and some embarrassment, but sometimes it works out really well.