September 2022

ranting

Social Ranting: Which Side Of The Fence Are You On?

#CoffeeBreakStory: Is Every Thought Worth Ranting About To The World?

I drastically cut back on my social media consumption during my summer hiatus, which I explained over here.  Now I’m cautiously dipping a toe back in. With a refreshed perspective, today’s story spotlights social ranting.  

To be clear, I’m not ranting about it—really! Instead, I’m pondering the value of over-sharing hot buttons while under-offering solutions. And since I’m not a rambler (a definite hot button for me), top off your coffee and let’s get right into it, shall we? 🏃‍♀️

🎉 P.S. Don’t miss the new section at the end of this story! ⤵️ September is the debut of “3 Fun or Fascinating Things”  I recently discovered—Enjoy! 🎉

ranting
image by karolina grabowska from pexels

One of my personal issues with social media is the plethora of “I think it, I’ll say it” or “I feel this way, so I’m going to lay it on you” posts.

Admittedly, I’m also telling you what I think and how I feel, every time I write, too! 🤓

However, my style is not skipping the critical subsequent step of sharing what it can mean to you—the value proposition.

In other words, I seek to provide some sort of useful takeaway: a laugh, an epiphany, a lesson, or a new perspective. ✨ 

We all have our share of negative experiences or difficult days. The struggle is real for everyone—no exceptions. So why add to that burden without offering some sort of relief when you want to talk about yours?

ranting

Three examples of ranting that make me sigh

#1: The Stranger who did them wrong

Nothing makes me wince quicker than reading a FB post which opens with, “To the person who…” and then the author proceeds to share details of an unsatisfactory experience with an unknown or unnamed person.

The transgression? It varies. But it’s typically a minor irritant, in the scheme of things. There’s never a shortage of driving examples. Perhaps someone cut them off in traffic. Maybe someone didn’t park within the lines at the store parking lot.

Does the writer really think the stranger is going to (a) read the diatribe, and (b) immediately change their ways? Or is the author simply ranting publicly … ISO a place to dump ruffled feelings or to receive validation for perceived indignations?

What are we supposed to do with this negativity? 💣

Or how about this:

#2: Whining about societal pressure to do things one way

Who doesn’t chafe against all the “shoulds” that social lays on us? What to wear, what to eat, where to go, how to be, how to do anything and everything!

It’s difficult enough figuring ourselves out. We also deal with round-the-clock bullhorns feeding us answers we didn’t ask for, which don’t necessarily align with our preferences.

But how tiresome are the unleashed posts about how the author doesn’t want to be told what to do … they are who they are and they refuse to bend. The language gets salty with “Fuck you, algorithm!” or “The Hell with you, society…I’m not ready for kids now!”

And that’s the extent of the story: leave me alone! 😡

So maybe the author is drawing a public line in the sand. I am a fervent “line draw-er” myself with being told what to do (just ask my husband, hehe).

Nevertheless, what’s the benefit for the reader? Where are the suggestions for how to do things our own way and be good with that? Or the chuckle about how to circumnavigate pressure to conform? Crickets! 😶

And lastly:

#3: A political stance about a complicated topic

I’ve yet to see how using social for ranting personal political beliefs has ever ended well. Either the author gets a bunch of head nodders, which means they didn’t change anyone’s mind, or they attract folks from the other side of the issue and it all dissolves into chaos. What was accomplished?

Even worse, I’ve seen writers dive in with “This is how I see it and I’m not interested in debating”. They may turn off comments or delete them if they aren’t in synch. Lovely, eh? 🙄

Sure, we all have freedom of speech. Rant away! But why serve up political beliefs you want others to embrace without giving them a chance to respond with their diverse views? Why not try listening?

If one doesn’t like society saying what we should do, then why do you get to rant to the rest of us  about “how it should be”?

Bottom line, is social truly the best platform for a thoughtful, considerate political discussion? In today’s increasingly polarized society, it appears to only have us dig our heels in deeper. And it also seems to sever more personal ties which is sad. 😢

ranting

Three Alternatives To Social Ranting

Firstly, when emotions are high, consider using a personal journal to process those feelings.

Maybe you weren’t a sensitive young girl who once upon a time wrote in her little diary about how rejected she felt when Johnny didn’t ask her out. Then she locked it with that little key, hid it under the mattress, and she carried on anyway. 💃🏻

But hey, same principle! Whether old school pen and paper or online digital journaling (like 750 Words which I adore and faithfully use), spew forth those negative or squirrely thoughts in private. 📕 

It’s a relief just to say them and get them out of your head, right? This allows your irrational impulses to join the party and be acknowledged.

Then, process the situation unemotionally. Think of all the times you spoke before thinking, and in hindsight, you had second thoughts or more useful conclusions. Too late now, eh? This is the power of the pause. 😎 

Secondly, figure out why you want to share your situation or outlook.

What action or perspective do you want your readers to take? Feeling compelled to vent is normal. It relieves frustration and that’s what friends are for—sometimes.

It just goes to another level when we broadcast it into the ether, going above and beyond our closest friends. How many people need to hear you gripe and moan so you can feel whole again? 🤔

How would you feel about developing a reputation for finding fault, complaining, or mounting a soapbox? Your dearest friends may not see you this way (unless it’s true 🙄) but what about those that you rarely if never meet up with? That could happen and who needs evidence of your misery in the world?

Thirdly, what value are you imparting to those receiving your words?

A vent can be turned into a useful post (look at what I’m doing here!💡)

For example, if you want to change someone’s mind, then there’s likely a lesson learned or a new way of dealing with a problem that you can provide.

Or maybe it’s about lightening up with the issue, and so you share a few laughs and jibes. You choose what your objective will be.

Ultimately, not taking every little thing too seriously is an invaluable life skill, don’t you think? 🤗

clearing space

The Wrap on Ranting

If you want to change someone’s mind or gain their support, don’t just broadcast your opinion.Tell them why your view matters to them, as well. Consider how your words will make others feel. 

In fact, sometimes saying less like I shared over here is an even wiser choice. Just sayin’ 😉

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What do you think:

  • Do you enjoy reading rants?
  • Do you regularly share them?

I’d genuinely like to hear your thoughts … and thanks for stopping by! 😀

New! 3 Fun or Fascinating Things

✅ If you’re a Foodie, you’ll enjoy the real back story of French Laundry. Savor this heartwarming short feature 🎬 of Sally Schmitt, one of California’s first female chefs who built and then sold this famous restaurant to Thomas Keller.

In Her Own Words 👩‍🍳❤️

✅ I’m FB following Fritz, the new baby hippo, at Cincinnati Zoo! Then I came across this throwback video of his older sister, Fiona, savoring an iconic summer treat.

Nom, nom, nom! 🍉

Calling all my long-haired friends! 💁🏻‍♀️ The inventor of the Scrunchie™ has died. Learn more about how Rommy Hunt Revson went from nightclub singer to millionaire businesswoman 💰

The Rise of a Boss Lady 😎

Social Ranting: Which Side Of The Fence Are You On? Read More »

step

Stepping Back Can Be A Step In The Right Direction

#CoffeeBreakStory: Taking Stock When Stepping Back

Happy September! 🍁 Like our ever-so-cultured European friends, I was on hiatus most of August. Actually, I started stepping back in mid-July, when we packed the RV and headed North on a road trip to Colorado. We were seeking cooler temps and different scenery. Turns out, I was also ISO a mindset reset. 🤪

My mini retreat was overdue. Per usual, I was focused on lofty goals at full bore, until they felt elusive and too much to pursue. The thrill was gone. As my discomfort increased, I worked my way into a rut without realizing it until I got stuck.

So stepping back meant no writing and (almost) no social media. I amassed endless travel photos and videos out of habit but few made an appearance on IG. I just didn’t have the energy to post on the “TikTok Wannabe” platform. Infinite reels made my eyes cross and I resented the excess time needed to find familiar, friendly faces. I was likely hidden, as well, so why bother? 🤷🏻‍♀️ 

Time off was incredibly healing on a number of levels. Now I’m easing my way back in, even though what lies ahead remains somewhat undefined. However, just getting back into motion can be instrumental for landing on what’s next. And if nothing else, I’ve also sussed out some of what it’s not going to be, which is equally useful.

Today I’m musing about what prompted a pause. I’ll be sharing more in future stories about the revelations uncovered along the way. This story is a little longer than others but clarity of purpose is a big topic. That’s why I’m breaking it into a short series, to keep the #coffeebreakstory somewhere between a Short and a Venti ☕️. So freshen yours up and here we go!

stepping back

¿ Midlife Crisis Maybe ?

To be honest, it felt like a second “identity crisis” was unfolding this year. (Yes, overachiever that I am, one wasn’t enough 😅)

If you’re new, here’s a quick 1-2-3 recap: my first one descended at age 53 when an unexpected corporate restructuring set me loose in 2016. Ambition was engraved in my work DNA genes, so it was a rude awakening to figure out my next move.  “Lady of Leisure” was not the new role I sought.

First, I grappled with the realization that relocating for this consuming career had left me fairly friendless in my new city, as I shared over here.

Second, I eagerly accepted an invitation for a road trip (I sense a 🚘 theme here, you?) with my former interior designer. She wanted a companion for a consultation with a new client in Ojai, California.

We bonded famously with our dry wit, passion for home design, and taste for aged tequila. When we returned, we built a small business. Our downsizing service was a time and labor intensive model but it filled a serious gap in the older adult community.

Third, I ultimately shuttered those doors permanently on the heels of Covid-19. It was time to use just my words, from the comfort of my own home. Which meant I pivoted to virtual coaching. And then once more to publishing my first book! 📕

Phew–that was a busy time! 😤 

stepping back

Stepping Back Clues

While I learned a lot about myself along the way, my energy and enthusiasm started waning in 2022.

For me, the tell-tale signs for stepping back included:

  1. An infrequent sense of anxiety (Remember that feeling when you didn’t study for an exam?! 😨) 
  2. General irritability with both myself and others (Inner Perfectionist rearing her nit-picky head! 😈)
  3. Discontent with my until-now perfectly lovely routine (I need a new project! 😞)
  4. Uncertainty with what to do next (Imma stuck … 😣)

It’s so unpleasant to find myself at these crisis crossroads again. Just when I thought I had my life figured out —surprise, not yet! 🤡   

Sigh—back to the drawing board!

time to grow

Here I Grow Again !

A friend recently suggested my angst is perhaps because I’m turning 60 this month. Hmmm…🤔…don’t think so…

The decade that I dreaded most (so far) was turning 40. It just seemed to define “The Official Start of Old Age” 🤣. Little did I know at 39 that I would still feel vibrant and remain active 20 years later.

I’m actually thrilled that my younger self was wrong about 60. To be sure, I’m oldish and well past my halfway point but I don’t feel old. I mostly feel wiser. More comfortable in my own skin.

And I’m in good company, with all the “50 is the new 40” declarations which started circulating several years ago. For good reason, I might add: We have a “third act” waiting to unfold!  

A couple years ago, I envisioned my third act would be as an author. I’ve always enjoyed writing. Once I started, it felt quite natural. Even when it’s work to find the right words and the edits are endless, I love it. And out of all the people who say they want to write a book some day—I did it! 🌟 Go, me!

I’m thrilled that my book has enjoyed moderate success. 2021 was a whirlwind of sharing it on podcasts, in local newspapers, with book clubs and in little free libraries. It’s available in both E-book and paperback with major retailers. 

But for wider commercial reach, the self-promotion can’t ever stop. The show must go on. And on. Ohh, I hates that I do! 😖 So cringey for me. I got burned out. I stopped. Can’t I just write? (apparently not)

Also, maybe I didn’t want to be pigeon-holed with decluttering after all. Maybe it was all just a metaphor for clearing space in my own life. Making room for more changes. For something new. Maybe I’ll write another book about something completely different. Or not…whoa! 🤯 

And just like that, I knew it was time for a pause. Time to start pruning old branches for new growth to occur. 🌺

trimester

Prepping for What's Next

When one chapter is ending and another is waiting to begin, stepping back is how I re-discover relevancy.

Simply going about my ordinary household routine, I’m giving my overworked brain a rest. Repetitive tasks like laundry or meal prepping are mindlessly comforting. So is lightly decluttering closets and drawers (it never ends). Or puttering in my garden. Or playing my favorite daily NYT games and puzzles.

In fact, my right shoulder had been aching for some time, too. Sitting at my desk, hunched over my keyboard for hours was partly to blame. I also don’t discount the mental overload manifesting as pain in my body, as well. Which is why bingeing on streaming services felt entirely justified. Afternoon matinees 🎥 on the couch with my dogs dozing next to me? Glorious!

In other words, I leaned in and savored present day real life moments and tiny pleasures. I dialed down the incessant noise of social media. Sure, I continued to keep up with current affairs. But anything that urged me to Be Big, Be Busy or Be Known? Hard pass! 🚫 

I’m not saying I’ll never resume engagement with social media. But I’m not falling deep down that rabbit hole again. It’s too easy to succumb to its infinite demands on my time, energy, and attention. I’ve made peace with saying, “No, thank you—that’s not for me. I’ll pop on and off when it works for me!” 

Instead, I’m focused on how I want to show up in my third act. 🧐 Breaking the twitch with a corporate identity is quite an adjustment. It seems I’m a “leetle” hard-wired for productivity. 

Friends my age confide that they would love being home full-time if they didn’t rely on their current gig or paycheck. I’m blessed that I’m not tethered to that.

But I do need to be creating or building something. I’m not a “Lady Who Lunches” kinda gal. Which is why I feel restless. Redundant. I need more to justify my presence. 

And so I’m pondering how to wield my skills once again. It’s not about making money, It’s about making a difference. Being useful outside my household.  Connecting with others to encourage and lift each other up. This could translate into so many different things but you get the idea.

More to come!

clearing space

The Wrap on Stepping Back

I’m not yearning for retirement years filled only with leisure. I’m sure that’s ideal for some but I’m just not there yet.

Shifting into a new life chapter is not always an easy transition. It can take some kicking, resisting, and soul searching. Throw in some sleepless nights and general angst, too. It all makes sense, when you consider that there’s a change in one’s identity occurring, too.

But the older I get, the better I am with recognizing when it’s time for something else. And so far, it’s been my experience that a new life chapter is always worth the effort it takes to turn the page and start writing a new script!

Does any of this resonate with you? I’d love to hear…and thanks for stopping by!

Other Resources for your enjoyment

***A sublime meditative poem for your listening pleasure!

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mixing up midlife podcast

***Terri and Melissa, of Mixing Up Midlife are back from their own summer break! Head here to catch up!

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Stepping Back Can Be A Step In The Right Direction Read More »

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