Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Real Reason Behind Unfriending Over Politics

When I hear about people unfriending each other over politics, on the surface it seems wrong. People should be able to tolerate differences in politics or religion, right?  If we only surround ourselves with people who agree with us, aren't we turning those social bubbles we live in, to walled compounds?

The Personal is Political--issues of religion and civil rights are issues we get passionate about.  I blame no one for feeling strongly about their views, even if those views are different from my views, which I also feel strongly about.

I am astonished, however, at the condescension I see on some of my friends' social media posts, by their supposed friends. Sometimes I can't resist the siren call to wade into the discussion myself, to dispute a false statement, or to support my friend against a troll.  Then I find myself arguing with strangers and that seems pretty pointless.

When I see that level of gloating, hostility, or condescension, I can understand the unfriending after all.  It's not usually the difference of opinion that is the problem.  It's the attitude toward the other person. If someone is that disrespectful, that unwilling to even try to see the other perspective, then yes, I can see ending a relationship over that.  It might be that the relationship didn't have much else going for it in the first place.  None of us should tolerate abuse or disrespect.  Disagreement, yes.  Discussion and attempts at persuasion? At the right time, right place, and within bounds, yes.  But always civil, polite, and respectful.  Otherwise it's just harassment or abuse.  Any rational person will limit that in their lives.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Don't Blink, You'll Miss It!

Parenting teens is not as fun as parenting toddlers.  I remember the tired, sleep deprived days of toddler parenting, when we would ask parents of older kids, "It gets easier, right?"  We thought it would have to get better, when you no longer have to worry about them putting everything in their mouths, or falling down stairs, or drowning in bathtubs.  When they have enough sense and experience to make their continuing survival require less constant eyes-on supervision.  When they would have words to explain their wants/needs/frustrations.

The parents of older kids would always smile ruefully, "It gets different."

Huh.  What the heck does that mean?  Not very helpful.  Or hopeful.

Now that we are here, I totally understand what they meant.  Sure, some things are way easier--teens don't need you minute-by-minute.  And they are articulate enough to explain almost anything.

I wasn't prepared for them to not WANT me though.  Or be unwilling to use those brilliant words to talk to me.  Their thumbs hardly ever stop as they text their words, thoughts, feelings to their friends.  Parents get only grunts, or maybe nods.

I am learning to watch for the secret signs of affection that come rarely, and disappear so quickly, you wonder if you imagined it, like the rain in a desert that is gone and dried before your thirst is slaked.
  • The silent fist bump at a band performance (I thought he was coming over for snack money)
  • The direct eye contact at school pick-up which must suffice for "Thank You"
  • When he mentions a fear of spiders, and I can't resist the impulse to put my hand near his lap and wiggle the fingers and he pretends mock-horror.  I am sure the corners of his mouth lifted a millimeter before he returned to his regular bored expression.
To the parents of adult children, I want to ask (but am afraid):  "It gets better, right?"

Friday, May 8, 2015

Career Diet: Just What I Need

Today's blog title is inspired by the "Six Word Memoirs" concept, which you can find at many online sites, including these:
A friend posted on her FB page challenging us, and I came up with today's title.  I am now back from my international business trip, and have finished our annual company conference.  Excited and energized by both events, but also tired, I am pleased with my six word memoir's double-meaning.

"Career Diet" encapsulates my approach to life.  Careers, just like food, can be wonderful, sustaining, enjoyable parts of our lives.  Like food, though, too much of it, or the wrong type, can also seriously hamper our quality of life.

I am fortunate to be happy with where I am working, and that has been the case for many years now.  I am challenged, have control over my schedule, and am paid enough to live comfortably and save for the future.  There have been times, and will be times again, when the work overtakes my life, and I have to go full throttle for a while.  Then I look forward to the pauses in between campaigns when I can spend some time on myself and my family.

At motivational work events, it's easy to get caught up in "what if" exercises.  Should I be a Director, or a VP by now?  Should it bother me if I am not?  Why am I not?  And what would it cost me to have gotten to that level of corporate achievement?  Sheryl Sandberg aside, it's still difficult to be a working mom.  And every family, every child, every marriage is different.  What worked for her won't always work for the rest of us.  She says "Lean In", and I understand why.  It's a great message, that I was eager for when I was 25.  Even at 35 it's good to be reminded not to take the foot off the gas unless you really have to.  But at 45 and up, I'm not shooting for the executive office anymore (though anything is possible).  And even at 35, you have to ask yourself if you are climbing the right ladder.  When you get to the top, is that really where you want to go?

Just What I Need:  not more than that if it will cost me my family, my other interests, my whole self.
Just What I Need:  Seems like the job is always wanting more of my time and energy.  Not sure if the diet is to limit how much career I consume...or how much of me my career consumes.