Monday, October 15, 2012

Hey Good Lookin!' Whatcha Facebookin'?

At the beginning of the year, I shared what is quite possibly the most random compilation of goals and wishes ever created and dubbed them my New Year's Resolutions. One of the key points on that list was to "Facebook less."
I have a love/hate relationship with my Facebook account for the same reasons everyone else on the planet does. I love that I can keep in touch with family and friends through pictures and messages. I love that I can feel like I am a part of the big moments distance would otherwise cause me to miss out on. I love being able to talk to someone when I need them, even if my stupid cell phone broke and I lost their contact info yet again. I love always being able to find the details for local events and happenings. I love the great deals I can get through a business's Facebook page...
I don't love the drama and negativity that often creeps into my daily newsfeed. I don't necessarily love knowing every nitty gritty detail of another person's day. I don't love how it incessantly feeds people's needs to be "liked" and somehow makes me feel inferior if I am not as well "liked" as others. I don't love the privacy issues. And more than anything, I don't love how much precious, fleeting, God-given time I waste puttering around on it.

With all of the push-pull, it would seem as if the best answer would be to just completely disconnect from Facebookland. But alas, I am already too tethered to it. And our society is as well. Living without a Facebook profile would be like living without indoor could do it, but you would just be making things unnecessarily difficult for yourself.

When I set this goal for myself in January, I didn't really have a clear view of what it meant--I still don't. What exactly does "Facebook less" mean? What would it look like? How exactly would I implement that goal?
For a while, I thought that maybe I would try an experiment where I would refrain from logging onto Facebook for a week. Then I decided that would be dangerous, because a)Facebook is one of the main ways I have much needed communication with other grown-ups when my husband is gone and b) people who know my husband is gone are most likely monitoring my well-being through my status updates, and if I didn't post anything for a week, they would probably assume I had dropped dead. No need to cause anyone undue stress!
But while we're on the subject matter, let's implement the following as a new rule for me, okay? Okay!

Anyway, my Facebook goal was not coming together for me, but I wasn't ready to give up on it completely. The neat thing about goals is that you can change them as your needs change. My goal just needed a slight revision. I think I have decided that my "Facebook less" goal has now become "Facebook better."
But what does that mean? What does "Facebook better" look like and how will it be implemented?

I am happy you asked :)

In order to Facebook better:
1. I will try not to bore you with my own nitty-gritty details. And while it is bound to happen sometimes, especially on days where the hubby is gone and I just need to vent, I will do everything in my power not to become this person:

2. I will try not to subject you to my soapbox.

3. I will not post a million self-portraits of myself. (I don't really do this now. I just needed an excuse to post this picture!)

4. I will not be a Negative Nancy, Debbie Downer, or Crazy Kate.

5. I will not be overly-sentimental. Sometimes, life is awesome and you have to shout it from the mountaintops...but not every day.

6. If I "like" you, I will tell you that I like you. (Roughly translated, comment more than click.)

7. I will try not to make it all about me. Because Facebook was originally created to be a forum for fostering social connections and not a site for personal showboating...that's what my blog is for :)

Here's hoping this goal is met with more success!

*Side note: Be sure to LIKE my blog link on Facebook!*
(I got jokes.)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Once Upon a Dream

I have a confession.

I watch almost no tv for normal grownups. One should expect that I watch more than my fair share of animated programs with two littles to entertain. But even so, you would think that after the kiddos headed off to bed I would finally find something a little less rated G and a little more OMG.


I got on a "Friends" kick during the deployment, but the only real reason that one took off (aside from the fact that it is completely hilarious) is because it plays on Nickelodeon, which is the channel my tv was usually on anyway.

I tell you this so that you won't judge me as I completely gush over my newest obsession, "Glee." OMGlee!
Last week, I was at the library trying to help my son find the Wiggle Safari DVD that he likes to rent out like every other week, and I found season 2 of Glee wedged between Homeward Bound and Yo Gabba Gabba. (Seriously, the movie filing system in that place needs a major overhaul, but that's neither here nor there.) I decided that if I had to be forced to watch The Wiggles wiggle yet again, I should finally check out a little something more grown up for me to watch to take the edge off at the end of the night. (Besides, I think I am on my tenth recycle of all the Friends episodes on Nick at Nite at this point anyway.) Plus, I like musicals. "This should be fun," I thought.

It really, really was. I finished the entire season in four nights, and I am terrified to look to see if the library has the other seasons--partly because if they do, I am going to neglect my school work indefinitely trying to watch them all--and if they don't, I might just fall into a panic attack not knowing when I'll get to watch another one.

Anyway, onto the main reason why this all matters to me...

I may have mentioned this a time or two before, but I love to sing. Madly. I remember sitting next to my sister on road trips and getting into so many fights because I wouldn't stop singing. Every single song that came on the radio I belted out at the top of my lungs. She would flip the stations and I would just pick up the new song right where it was at. Genre after genre. My poor sister. I didn't suck, but it probably would have been nice of me to shut up every once in a while :)

Even now, I find myself getting lost in the radio and only snapping out of my daydream when I finally hear my daughter screaming at me that her brother.......
Well, he did something. I wasn't really listening to what she said he did, because I was in the middle of my jam.

Watching this show has made me ache to sing. On a stage. Or in the middle of a school cafeteria. And with some super awesome choreography. I am not partial. That's why I've been settling for my shower--sans choreography because that just sounds dangerous.

I've always done a lot of daydreaming about singing and I still nurse the dream a little bit every day. Probably one of the reasons I can't shake my dream is because it is the one I neglected to chase--either because I was too chicken or because I felt it was too far-fetched. I sang in choirs. I did the occasional church solo. I even took lead in my highschool musical. But I never once made any serious effort to pursue the thing that I have always felt so strongly about.

There are certain conversations in life that bring you to a crossroads. Mine was with my mother. We were sitting in our car together outside of a school parking lot and she asked me if singing was something I wanted to pursue for the future. I told her I thought that chasing a singing career would be foolish without having an education and career plan as a fallback.
Now I am jobless and sing in the shower.

Obviously, it is too little too late to chase that dream--and that's okay for me, because I am living one of my other ones. I don't for one second regret the life I live now, but I think I do regret never even trying for a life I'd pictured myself in so often. I reached my crossroads and I put up a roadblock. My dream felt too big to chase so I shut it down with a single response and went the other way.

I think a lot of kids worry their parents would sneer at the idea of them chasing a singing career. That was never my parents. My mother was always such a wonderful supporter of my dream that I didn't even have to voice it. I remember her taking me as a child to audition for the musical "Oklahoma" and renting the movie to watch it with me so I could learn the music. She took me to concerts that most kids my age would have cared less about, and in doing so, made me a lover of disco music. (My dad has made me a lover of Journey, which is probably another reason I love Glee so much!) Both of my parents showed up for every single performance of my high school musical, which is saying a lot, because we weren't all that super. They believed in the dream maybe more than I ever did.
If I have learned anything from reflecting on my experience, it is that I want to be a parent like mine were. I want to help my children pursue their dreams big and small. But mostly, I want to encourage them to dream big. I want to teach them that the bigger a dream is, the longer it lingers in the back of their mind, and the more imagining themselves living that dream fills them with joy, the bigger duty they have to themselves to chase after it.
I never want their fallback plans to stunt their dreams.

Currently, my daughter wants to be a "princess soldier chef" and my son wants to be a Wiggle and a dinosaur. Dream big, babies. Dream big.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I Cast My Lot

This Army wife stuff is not for the faint of heart.

There are a lot of highs and lows.
A lot of anticipation and a lot of dread.
A lot of unknowns and a lot of "wish I didn't know."
A lot of opportunities to make new friends. A lot of opportunities to be a good friend. A lot of good-byes to people who have become your best friends.
A lot of "hurry up and wait."
A lot of lonely nights. A lot of work calls in the middle of the night.
A lot of "there's no way I can do this" and a lot of "I can't believe I just did that."
A lot of planting roots. A lot of uprooting.
A lot of welcome homes. A lot of watching him go again.
A lot of first kisses.
A lot of loving the Army and a lot of cursing it.
A lot of days spent dreaming about retirement and a lot of days spent fearing it.
A lot of feelings of empowerment and a lot of feelings of helplessness.
A lot of love and war.
A lot of tears: happy and sad.
A lot of trying to make a life outside the Army. A lot of life defined by the Army.

I've decided one of the reasons I am so crazy is due in large part to the fact that my days are so naturally conflicted by the Army lifestyle.
But "I cast my lot in with a soldier," and in doing so, I suppose I chose to soldier through all those "a lots."

18 more days until our next first kiss...