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Reclaiming Life By Taking A Stand

Featured image description is in the body of the post.

“Time is priceless, yet it costs us nothing. You can do anything you want with it, but you can’t own it. You can spend it, but you can’t keep it. And once you’ve lost it, there is no getting it back. It’s just gone.”

~Allison DuBois, Medium

Recently I accidentally found the above quote. Well, it wasn’t really an accident since I was binge-watching the Medium series. In my opinion, I felt like this is one of the most accurate statements I have come across about time. For me, just thinking about time is mind-bending. While I understand I only have this moment in time I sometimes get caught up in the past and future.

Time, or rather my use of time these past few months has been very challenging for me. The majority of my time is spent working on social justice issues as it relates to people with disabilities. Because it’s unrealistic to take on every cause, even so, my passion can take me down a rabbit hole of mass confusion. Thanks to stretching myself way too thin I’m now a former scheduling stickler. What this means is I reassessed where I am, tossed my content calendar and I’m starting fresh in September.

Life, Times Three

While there is some overlap, looking at my life today I can break it down into three categories:

  • Home Life
  • Work/Virtual Life
  • Real Life

Home Life

In the following two recent posts, I touch on my feelings of self-worth and work:

  1. Juggling Perfection and Efficiency
  2. Max Peterson Scholarship Gives Joy, Love, and Wholeheartedness

For way too long I’ve confused ‘who I am’ with ‘what I do.’ This formula worked for me most of my life if I felt my work was satisfactory. The problem, however, was two-fold: I had unrealistic expectations and there wasn’t a clear separation between work and worth. When things were going well it was good but inevitably when they didn’t go so well I’d beat myself up. Beating myself up was only the beginning. The guilt of feeling like I wasn’t good enough or flawed sent me spiraling out of control.

Since I was my work and my work was my worth home life was practically nonexistent. I’d gotten so good at controlling my environment, that being a single mom and working full time was a piece of cake. The downside? I spent most of my time at work and never learned the value of self-care. As a matter of fact, my first of two vacations was 14 years ago. Needless to say, even when I had downtime I felt guilty because you know, worth and work. If I wasn’t working I wasn’t worthy.

Today, my youngest son lives with me and my grandson stays here four times a week. Then there’s my 81-year-old mother who requires attention, my dog, condo, and myself. While it’s a necessity, things like grocery shopping, gym, doctors, fall by the wayside because you know, worth and work.

Work/Virtual Life

The majority of my work is done at home where my laptop is connected to a large monitor. As an introvert, I work best in a quiet solitary environment with no distractions. Setting up and managing a website isn’t the easiest thing to do if you’re only semi-skilled but I’m doing it.

Cultivating relationships, networking, conference calls/meetings, researching, writing, editing, and scheduling posts can be daunting. Communicating with people on multiple social media platforms along with speaking engagements leaves little time for anything else.

When I closely examine everything I do I really don’t know how I manage. What I do know is when I’m in the zone I get annoyed with having to take bathroom breaks, I know—pathetic. Keeping up with email and text messages can nearly push me to the brink. And let’s not forget all the latest and greatest technology designed to make our lives easier.

Real Life

One of the best things about social media is meeting meaningful virtual connections in real life. When I say this I don’t mean every connection, rather only the authentic friendships that have developed over time. Two examples of connections I’ve met in real life so far this year were:

In October Chelsea, Max and I will meet up once again at the Disability InSIGHTS event hosted by another friend Amy Bovaird.

Real Life isn’t just limited to meeting virtual connections but it involves all those activities outside of the home. Get-togethers with friends, going to the pool, movies, shopping, art festivals, casual strolling or a car ride. Since I was able to travel a little this year I’ve participated in far more activities than ever before. Right now and in the future, I hope to continue experiencing real life.

The Way Forward

After my awakening at the Daring To Own You Story retreat, I knew I had to make some changes. Since I now know I had the whole work/worth thing backward being compassionate with myself comes first. I had already taken some steps a while ago to downsize possessions and tasks.

Social media is a great tool to reach many people but it can become addictive. It also contradicts the reason why I do what I do which is to create meaningful connections. Here are a few steps I’ve taken:

  • eliminating social media apps on my cell including WordPress
  • muting all cell phone notifications
  • not answering then blocking cell calls from unrecognized phone numbers
  • turning off my cell when working on a project that requires focus
  • limiting/canceling email subscriptions
  • sending salesy emails to my spam folder
  • not accepting friend/conversation requests from everyone
  • scrutinizing and eliminating automatic tools “to help make my life easier”
  • no longer use any social media during the weekend
  • limiting the number of social media posts Monday through Friday

For me, the solution to my time quandary comes down to self-preservation. And it’s pretty simple when you think about it, if I haven’t asked for it I don’t want or need it.

To some degree, I think we’ve allowed technology to control way too much of our lives. Am I saying technology is the big evil/bad? No, not at all and I actually love it. What I am saying and it’s something I’ve spoken on before and that is we have the power of CHOICE. We get to choose what we let into our lives. I don’t want technology making my decisions I want to reclaim my life.

Featured Image Description:

A monochromatic look with shades of beige/tan. I’m sitting on a blue outdoor bench wearing a cream-colored skirt with a slightly darker tank top and suede flats. My ball cap is metallic gold and I have on a denim jacket while posing with my black slimline #WhiteCane.

13 thoughts on “Reclaiming Life By Taking A Stand

  1. I like your take, and I wanted to say so, not just press a button. I learned some things here too. Others I had thought about, but not quite able to take action. Maybe now that I’m thinking again . . .

    1. Hi Albert!! How are you? Thank you for reading and commenting. I had to do something because the overwhelming pressure of not being able to “keep up” has been debilitating and while I know this will be an ongoing process I feel so much relief. This past weekend my best friend came to visit over the holiday from Thursday until yesterday and being present with her by not checking my phone or turning on my computer was so nice.

  2. Hi Steph, You look great and almost regal sitting on the bench and I felt I HAD to comment. Reading through this post however, I agree with quite a number of your statements. We DO need to take back control and social media is a major area to curtail. I’ve drastically cut back on how often I go on and can leave it for about 10 days or more and only go on when my notifications reach 50 or more. Though at times, I’m spending precious time responding to those notifications. I DO respond to every one as my take is that if they’ve taken the time to connect in some way, the least I can do is respect them by responding to them.
    I like Alison’s quote as well.
    Keep on keeping on Steph. 🥰

    1. Hi Wendy, it’s so very good to hear from you!!! I hope you are doing well. Thank you for coming by, reading, and commenting. I agree with everything you’ve said here and especially reply to each and every comment which is so important in cultivating relationships. We had a long weekend here as Mondy was Labor Day so I was totally off social media from Thursday evening until this morning and it felt so good. Putting an out of office notification on email and set hours on my Facebook page was also liberating. As I continue this practice I will be able to spend more time reading blogs, books and doing other activities that bring me joy. Have a fabulous day my friend. I love you!!💜🤗

  3. So true! I’ve actually tried blocking off unrecognisable phone numbers myself, which works if I block them off individually, unless the caller uses the Private ID setting. The other method I’d used was the Do Not Disturb feature to only allow phone numbers in my contact list to call me. But this meant that important business or other people not in my contacts, couldn’t call me if they needed to. So now I just call back if I get a voice mail message or hang up as soon as I realise the caller is scamming or has accidentally rang the wrong number… Otherwise definitely, technology is great if used wisely. In saying that, I use it too much sometimes hahahahahahahaha! Keep the post coming, they’re great!

    1. Hi Michelle, thank you so much for reading or commenting. ❤🤗I’ve blocked all private numbers and do not take any calls from unrecognized numbers. I’ve also taken the added step of creating a very professional and friendly greeting which lets people leave a message if the call is from someone I know or an important business call. However at the end of the message I let all other callers (spam, marketing, etc. know that I will not return their calls and I block their numbers). It’s a shame that the evolution of technology hasn’t kept up with privacy because in my opinion no one should be able to contact anyone by their cell phone without their permission. But since these companies are driven by greed I can understand why it continues to happen, it’s just so frustrating.

  4. I understand and applaud your stand. A quiet, clutter-free space is essential for me to work. So that’s typical of us introverts? That is good to know. Your plan is something to which many can relate and use as a guide. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Thank you George for reading and commenting. I’ve been thinking of you and Sandy over the weekend are you guys alright?

      1. We are safe, thanks. Getting sluggish from waiting for this hurricane to get here. Please pray for the people of The Bahamas.

      2. Glad to hear you two are safe. I saw the news this morning and was sickened by what Dorian is doing to The Bahamas.

      3. The Abacos and Grand Bahama have been pummeled by this storm for 24-30 hours. Much of it at 185mph with gusts to 224. Virtually nothing can withstand that. Most people didn’t evacuate because they had nowhere to go. 🙏

      4. It’s hard to wrap my head around that much wind and the damage it can cause.

      5. I’ve been through 105mph (sustained) in the pitch of night and 85mph for 8 hours at night. To double those for 3 times as long… I almost don’t want to imagine.

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