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Rated: 13+ · Book · Opinion · #1254599
Exploring the future through the present. One day at a time.

I hope I stay within budget

My website: http://www.almarquardt.com
August 27, 2021 at 10:37pm
August 27, 2021 at 10:37pm
The title of my entry is a bit strange, but I think by the end of this entry it’ll make sense.

Everyone has their blind spot, something they can’t wrap their mind around no matter how many times they face it. They watch how others react to that particular circumstance seemingly without effort, and all they can do is scratch their head (figuratively or literally).

For me it’s what to do when someone dies or when a friend loses a loved one. I’ve lost both my parents within eighteen months of each other. Because I’m good at compartmentalizing my emotions, I set my grief aside and did what needed to be done and in as short of time as possible. Luckily my sister and I were on the same page throughout the entire process, so we completed almost everything for both our parents within weeks. Our dad’s girlfriend (our parents had divorced a few years earlier) was shocked at how efficiently we took care of our dad’s estate. I’m sure she thought we were a couple of gold-digging vultures when that wasn’t the case at all. It’s who we are; it’s who our parents were. They wouldn’t have wanted us to become blubbering piles of goo when there was work to be done. Our efficiency was a testament to our love and respect for our parents, because that’s how they raised us.

Even before then, though, death to me is a part of life. Sure I miss my parents, but I know I will see them again. Maybe if I wasn’t a Christian I would feel differently. Although… I kind of doubt it. If I were an atheist, believing nothing exists past this life, and I and everyone else ceases to exist the moment we take our last breath, it simply is what it is.

Nothing is ever gained by dwelling on things we can’t control.

Yet I also know my point of view is rather unusual. People grieve much more poignantly than I ever will, and for grief to no longer overwhelm can take months if not years. I don’t consider that a weakness, by the way. It’s merely a different way to process such a deep loss that I can’t embrace for myself. I’m not built that way.

If anything, I’m the weak one when it comes to dealing with death. My lack of true, emotional empathy makes me appear cold and unfeeling. It’s frustrating, because I want to be able to empathize and therefore know exactly how to respond when someone else faces a great loss.

What brought all this on? A friend of mine lost her husband a few days ago. He’d been sick for a while, but at the same time, one can never be truly prepared for losing a spouse. I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out what do do and what to say. Sending an email or card with flowers saying “I’m sorry for your loss” isn’t enough. Yet I also don’t want to drop by unannounced bearing flowers and food to express my sympathies either.

I go back to when my parents died and I was actually annoyed by all the expressions of sympathy. Sure I was sad and I appreciated their thoughtfulness, but at the same time, I thought it was unnecessary. I didn’t need it, and I was forced to hold my tongue and simply say, “Thank you.” Still, I do remember their kindnesses such as when my boss had a few pizzas delivered for us.

So what do I do for a friend who just lost her husband knowing anything I do will be inadequate, perhaps even unwanted?

I ended up sending her a text expressing my sympathies and offered a few things I could do (such as pick up groceries, help with her dogs, housekeeping, or a listening ear). Is it enough? No idea. Too much? Again, no idea. Nor has she responded, but I’m not surprised. I’m sure she has a lot more on her mind than responding to a text.

So, yeah, I don’t do death well.
August 21, 2021 at 2:52pm
August 21, 2021 at 2:52pm
To be human often means to be at odds with oneself. What the heart wants, the head ignores, and what the head knows, the heart refuses to hear.

Such is the case with addiction. In this case, social media addiction. My head always knew social media could be addictive and that I may indeed have that problem. My heart, on the other hand refused to admit it. It simply likes it too much. Better to live in ignorance and do what it wants, consequences be damned.

Yet now, being off of it (except for one hour a week which I will describe below), my heart can’t deny it any longer.

It’s now been ten days (less one hour) since I’ve checked any social media. I’ll admit I figuratively slobber at the idea of getting back on, and my fingers figuratively itch to type in those websites.

It’s getting better though. I’ve managed to steer my attention away from each temptation by reading a book (or two) and diving into my new story (the first chapter is finally complete).

In fact, I’m nearing a point where the thought of social media makes me cringe a little. It’s nice not having to wade through all the national and international drama and taking the risk of being called the whatever the popular –ist of the day is because I deign to spout an opinion.

I do miss the more positive interactions, though, and discovering what my friends and family are doing. Luckily some of them have signed up to receive updates on this humble (yeah, right. Me, humble?) blog, so I’m not completely cut off. And thank you to all for being here!

Speaking of positive interactions, the one exception I made is participating in an hour-long #healthyfaith chat on Twitter once a week. They hold the chats four times a week and discuss either a chapter of the Bible or explore certain themes. For an hour, the host asks ten questions and the participants answer and give their thoughts. Very few serious arguments, hardly any trolls, and I get to learn more about scripture.

When my church physically closed for the thing-that-shall-not-be-named last year, the healthy faith chats became my church.

Aside: my church did hold online services, and my son and I “attended” one of them. I found it more depressing than uplifting, so we never did it again. What I discovered about myself in that year is that I’m not as introverted as I thought. I need to be around people, even if I don’t always interact with them.

While a year may seem like a long time to stay away from social media, I’m more and more confident I can make it.

For once, both my heart and my head agree.
August 15, 2021 at 3:14pm
August 15, 2021 at 3:14pm
Or so I like to tell myself. As I get older, the less I like change. Change is for the young(er).

In this case, though, changing the title of my blog once again seemed like appropriate. Mostly because I’m diving back into it after a long hiatus. Freshen things up a bit, as it were. Sure I could have started a brand new blog, but the subject matter remains the same even with the title change. What is that subject matter you ask?

As boring as it might sound, this is the story of my life, or at least how I see it.

I noted in my previous entry, I kicked myself off social media for a time. Another disadvantage of social media other than all the ick is the fact so much of it requires self-censorship. Every time someone mentions even in passing the controversial subject of the day it’s marked with all these fact-checks (using the term loosely) to say nothing of the caustic responses of those who disagree with a particular take.

Here, however, has never been a figurative shouting match between various ideological factions where the arguments are little more than sloganeering.

I can’t say I won’t touch on controversies, although at this point it’s unlikely. This is my escape from all that. I do talk a lot about my Christian faith and may spew a whole lot of scripture. Anyone who’s followed me here or on other sites will not find that a surprise.

I may also write quite a few entries as I try to fill my time doing that instead of looking at my email every few hours for a response to the two book proposals I sent to publishers a few weeks ago.

Ugh. Waiting. Hate it.
August 12, 2021 at 2:05pm
August 12, 2021 at 2:05pm
While social media can be fun, it’s also a time suck and a dumpster fire in the middle of a cesspool. It can also be a bit one-note in that people keep talking about the same thing over and over again. In this case, the thing-that-shall-not-be-named. Why dost I not name this thing, and how are you supposed to know right off this thing that I not be naming? A clue: Facebook and Twitter always puts fact-check notifications whenever someone mentions said thing-that-shall-not-be-named. It’s the thing that has taken over our lives for the last two years.

When there are so many other, more interesting and less frustrating things we could be talking about.

Back during an election year, I kicked myself off for an entire year. I was just as sick of all the same talk, all the same arguments, the same hateful rhetoric about and by the then candidates as I am about the thing-that-shall-not-be-named. I ended up writing over 250,000 words and a boon to my mental health.

I decided yesterday—on my birthday—that a similar social media sabbatical is in order. I need to finish editing one book, and begin the sequel of another. I even wrote the first page of said sequel (a fantasy) last night.

Does that mean I’ll spend more time here? Maybe. Hopefully. I’ve always liked the atmosphere here. It’s a quiet yet interesting neighborhood with no cesspools or dumpsters on fire.

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