“When a door closes…”

A swirling vortex. There is so much going on all around me. And sometimes I just want to step out of this swirling vortex of crap and drama and just breathe. LOL. And one of the things that bothers me is how people treat one another, when they hide behind their computer screens. So much vitriol and anger. I have always been leery of this entire technological movement towards computers versus pencil and paper, or face to face communication.

I recall when I was working at a company on one of the very first studies on the HIV/Aides virus. We had an entire room devoted to our “Wang” computer system. And we got these amazing Xerox typewriters where you could see two lines you had typed at a time, so you could correct it as you went. We were thrilled when we saw the first desk top computer. I was just telling my mom that I have more computing on my iPhone than I used to have in my IBM desktop computer back in the day (well after those typewriters!). When we were working on that Aides project, we were so excited to have our own fax machine, wherein we had scheduled times to send information to our sister lab in the Netherlands. We would all stand around and watch the fax machine whir to life, and watch that paper coming out, with their reports and graphs actually printed on it. Through a phone line! So exciting!  Ha-Ha. We had to schedule our phone calls overseas. Amazing how far we have come since then. In some respects.

You know, it shows how silly this entire electronic communication has become when you realize, duh, you let it affect you. Most of the time, people are not who they say they are. I love some of the memes that say things like, “We are friends in real life. I know you do not look like that.” or “I know you and I know your life is not like that, stop lying on social media.” They crack me up. Ones that say, “Why don’t you post a current picture? That one is at least 20 years old” also make me laugh. Some people never change their photos and you can tell…unless you just communicate via social media and have never met in person. And that brings me to today, and my most recent musings…

Things change. We all change. We have interests and we follow them. Rarely do people keep at the same thing for years. In our family, one of our biggest fads was windsurfing. Oh my. I was at the breastfeeding stage with our middle son when my husband discovered windsurfing. (Eye rolling here). So, imagine wind, water, wind, sand, wind, breastfeeding, young children, water, sand, wind. Ugh. Did I mention wind? So glad that passed us by. Oh, let’s not forget kids, wind, sand, water, and sun burn. And we did this tent camping! LOL! I had a broom with me to try and corral the sand out of the tent and sleeping bags. Joyous vacations, great memories, but thrilled that is over. Ha-Ha. But my point is things change. And it is okay to make changes.

We got brave about 9 years ago and relocated from Southern California to Washington State, to Maple Valley. It was our first move out of state since our marriage. It was dramatic and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was green everywhere. The rain was glorious. The sunshine so very different. And the flowers. The vegetables. NO SMOG! It was heaven. And then our eldest son invited us to move to Alaska. Deep breaths. Lots of prayers. And five years ago last month, we leapt. I mean, why not? The Last Frontier has been fraught with changes for us. We have learned to leave our things behind and be less encumbered by “stuff” because there is only so much you can cram into a 25-foot u-haul. We have learned to deal with some pretty drastic encounters with wildlife. (Reference husband and fishing, bear, and running – Kodiak Island). We have become increasingly comfortable with cold weather, snow, and living and driving in a snow state. We have come to love Alaskan foods and culture, the clean air and wide open spaces. We have also made friends, which is difficult as adults with pretty much all grown children. We made friends easily when our kids were small, because we were involved with like activities. We got together for kids’ activities and had bar-b-ques and camping trips. As parents of grown children, and grandparents, we have had to slowly make our way up here, finding friends as we go about our daily lives. Friends have not come as easily as when our children were small. And it is always hard for the new guys (which we still pretty much are) to feel a part of the local scene, especially when people they meet have lived here all their lives, or more than 20 years. We are slowly finding our way into groups who most resemble the people we are. We relocated further north almost a year ago, and I still get lost! LOL! But we are making ourselves part of a community, and it feels good. But still, things can change.

As we have grown older, we seem to prefer quieter activities on a daily basis. Things like working in the yard, or having dinner with friends, watching movies with mom and having the fire going, reading a good book, or like my husband is now, sitting at the table, cleaning our weapons. When we get adventurous, we go shooting. LOL. We love learning about new weapons and gaining confidence on the range or at local shoots. It is a lot of fun. We have found a gun club we are thinking of joining. They have skeet and trap shooting, and we have always loved that. We are really looking at our new yard and planning fencing and raised bed gardens. We are looking at constructing things inside our home (bookcases!!!) and making our last home truly our home. But what we do not need is more drama. Sigh. We have my mom living with us, so we have a lot of responsibility in caring for her. Sometimes the days with her are not good days. I do not need extra stress or drama. Some days the best I can do is get dressed and provide three meals for everyone. And add posts on my blog, like this one.

One of the best things I did was to unfollow almost everyone except for friends I know in person, see pretty regularly, and my family, on Facebook. It is amazing how your newsfeed changes. Another thing I am doing is leaving groups. Today, I left a group I had come to see as friends. But the drama, well, it was hurtful and over-the-top, and the people posting were pissed…I mean really mad. So, I left. It was hard, but now I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my back. I have wanted to leave for some time. Whew. Today I was pushed beyond what I think is kindness and helpfulness, which I was under the impression was the point of the group, into bitterness. And, along the way, I found people I thought were friends had “unfriended me” anyway, so to me, no worries. LOL.

I can do this. I can simplify and make changes. Even though some of the changes are hard, it can be an opportunity to grow as a person. I am slowly leaving a lot of groups, and am working up to unfriending people who are really not my friends. We have had things in common, causes we felt strongly about, but we no longer do. We used to hang out and participate in activities together, but we no longer do that. And the button to unfriend and trim down my friends’ list is calling me. Some “friends” only call you when they need something. Some only contact you when they are broke and think you can pay their way. Some only like you when you can help them. Some people friend you because it is a way of garnering perceived power. There are very, very few real friends in our lives – lots of acquaintances. And the people who “friend” us on social media, most of them are not really friends. We gather together in like-minded groups to feel safe and to uplift ourselves and our concerns. But, sometimes that is no longer a pressing concern in our lives…it is time to move on. And so, I am moving on and I am weirdly excited. LOL.

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