Monday, February 6, 2017

Not This Time, Facebook

It's hard to resist the temptations we see on facebook to determine our personality type, to see if we are smarter than a 5th grader, to see how many heroines of literature we can identify. But one that popped up today was a cautionary tale. Reduce your life to one word. All you have to do is login with facebook, which we know gives access to all your photos, comments, info to someone that we can't see or know or evaluate. Sometimes I do it anyway, because curiosity killed the cat.

Reduce your life to one word by letting someone see your facebook posts. It's really absurd, even for a facebook lover like me. But sometimes I have lemming tendencies, so I ignored my thinking brain and listened to my lemming brain. Ha! I got a big old smack on the lemming-head. The one word this entity picked for me from my facebook offerings- Perfect. I laughed out loud.

My life is as far from perfect as anyone else's. I do post pictures I love of places and people (and food, wink wink) I love. I do post positive thoughts and quotes. Not because I'm perfect, or my life is perfect, but because spending time celebrating the positive parts lifts me up. Anyone who knows me will get a chuckle from the word "they" picked to describe my life.

It's more proof of the same notion many of us grapple with. The Great Compar-ithon. We see the good parts of the lives of others, and compare our laundry room with their dining room. We see glimpses of the lives of others, and if we are not thinking, if we are stuck in our lemming brain, it can make us feel less-than.

I love the book our son Josh gave me years ago, The War Of Art, by Steven Pressfield. It is full of wisdom, full of practical advice for facing down the noise of self doubt. A line I read this morning is perfect as a  follow-up to the practical-joke on facebook. "Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into what we imagine we ought to be, but to find our who we already are and become it."

I went on a women's retreat last weekend and spent a day and a half enjoying women I admire, and being challenged by our wonderful presenter, Jane Pettit (look her up if you need inspiration) to ask myself two questions: Who am I? What am I doing here?  We spent time looking deep for answers to those questions, and it is work that will go on as long as I live. Finding the answers isn't the goal. Asking the questions, looking for authenticity within my response, holding myself accountable to rigorous honesty with myself, those are goals.

I know someday I'll be perfect. But not in this lifetime. Not on this earth. Not here where I say hurtful things or judge others unfairly, or insist on my own way too much. When I'm gone, if there is still a facebook, they can feel free to add some wings (although I'm not sure about the limitation of feathers in heaven) and put that word on my life. Because it will be my new life. My life where I will leave behind the "blunders and absurdities" I made yesterday, as Emerson says. They won't follow me like little lost lemmings. At least, that's what I'm counting on.

You get some stuff right, facebook. You help me stay in touch with friends and family. You give me baby goats to laugh at and thought provoking posts of others. It's just this time, you are kinda laughable. Oh, facebook, thanks for the blog-prompt.

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