This month has been a struggle. Since I had a hard time getting pregnant, I had to be very cycle-focused, and that never really goes away. Even now that Lilly is 7, I am still IN TUNE with my body, right down to knowing where I am in relation to the moon's cycle. We have always been "one and done" with children, and took measures years ago to ensure that, but a prior battle with infertility means that every time I'm "late"in perimenopause, I'm ruminating on all the "what ifs", most of them too crazy to type anywhere but google at 2 am. It's a roller coaster, to put it mildly. Add to that many doctor appointments, not eating very well without a fully functioning kitchen, and getting ready to sell my first house, and you have my personal recipe for doomscrolling. I'm a social media addict. Apparently, when I quit smoking, and then quit drinking, and quit unhealthy relationships, I just filled in the gap with "stranger's problems". That's not always a negative thing - often it's a love of advice columns or answering questions in a travel agent group. I also have a problem with worryng I'm going to miss something important and embarrass myself, that I will disappoint people by Not Knowing. It's Former Gifted Kid perfectionism; I can't make mistakes. And the other Former Gifted Kids can be so critical, I often don't share what is really going on. Learning to "live authentically" is such trite influencer bullshit, but here we are. I'm going to share with you my bedside bookstack for getting out of a rut, even though I can picture the people in my head who will scoff at this, because they scoff at everything.
1. How to Break Up With Your Phone - This is a short read. The first half is the WHY of being addicted to technology. How your phone, websites, and apps are designed to capture and hold your attention, and keep you coming back (if you can even manage to leave), and what we know that does to our brains. The second half is a 30 day "detox". The goal is not to break up with your cellphone entirely, but to be more aware of what gets your attention, and what to allow. Full disclosure, I have not accomplished the 30 day plan yet, but I have implemented a lot of tips and made improvements. Most importantly, when I'm sliding, like I have been this month, I know it, and know how to get back on track. I often see homeschooling parents and travel agents asking in groups, "How do you manage work AND kids, I don't have enough time!" After reading this book, I always suggest looking at your Digital Wellbeing on your phone. Chances are, you can carve an hour out of your day that was spent on social media, without giving it up entirely. My personal weak spot is reading groups to answer questions. I have to acknowledge to myself I'm spending time that my child or business needs, helping other people with THEIR business or homeschooling. I can still do those things - obviously I enjoy helping people - but it needs to have a time limit, not an endless scroll looking for more problems to solve. 2. The Book of Joy - I've read this book all the way through and then have revisited it with a highlighter & taken notes in my journals. The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu were very good friends who, for political reasons, were not often allowed to spend time together in person. This book chronicles one of their rare in-person visits. They teach us that we are allowed to find joy in life, even though there is suffering in the world. I think a lot of highly intelligent people need this sort of permission, especially if they have a doomscrolling problem, as I do. I also admit that I need their lessons in compassion. The internet has become such an ugly place, especially in the comments sections of, well, everything posted publicly. So many people feel superior, telling others they are wrong. I'm still not perfect, obviously, but I think this book played a big part in me learning to walk away when it's pointless to argue, and to respond with more compassion when someone clearly believes false information. People don't know what they don't know, they aren't taught media literacy, and they aren't going to learn it from a smug and sarcastic internet comment. 3. The Ride of a Lifetime - Bob Iger recently retuned to the Walt Disney Company for a 2nd tour as CEO, and I've been meaning to revisit this book. I am a little uncomfortable recommending a book by a CEO of a major corporation, as I think we're all aware that CEO compensation is a big problem. Major corporations pay my bills, though, so no one is perfect. I do admire his discipline, leadership, and emotional intelligence (the latter being the biggest thing lacking in Bob Chapek's reign). The lessons in this book fit with the other two books here. When I find myself mindlessly scrolling, or about to type a comment telling someone they are a moron, I ask myself, "What would Bob do?" Is Bob even on Facebook? Does Bob think about how someone hurt his feelers that day while he is brushing his teeth? No, Bob has bigger fish to fry. Honorable mention: Former Imagineer Joe Rohde's Instagram. Joe spends his social media time educating people about art, architecture, & history. When people disagree with him - and they do, because they are attracted by "famous Imagineer" and then find out he's one of those "coastal elite liberals" - he is always very measured and considerate in his replies. Joe has a lot to teach you. Follow him!