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Sunday, October 23, 2016

If I could save time in a bottle...the first thing that I'd like to do

I spent 4 of the last 7 days in Disney World.  So many observations during that time, for sure, but I think the biggest one was how much time people spend capturing memories instead of living the moment.  Disney actually banned selfie sticks so that people would be present instead of focusing on "capturing the moment".  It didn't stop people though.  Walking down Main Street videoing every thing in front of them.  What were they NOT paying attention to?  Their family and loved ones that they came to the Magic Kingdom with!  As a resident of Florida and someone who can go there pretty much every day it afforded me the luxury of observing this practice without being part of it.  It allowed me to see how I myself have progressed where this is concerned.  My first visit to Walt's world was when I was 7 years old, so I had no control of picture taking, I do remember my parents taking a lot of photos of the scenery. The next trip was when I was 20 and then 22 and I admit I took a lot of scenery pictures.  Those have since been thrown out.  My next visit was when my kids were little. I did take a lot more photographs of them, but I didn't take any of the scenery...I was already realizing what was important when capturing memories.  Now, besides an occasional picture of my kids during a downtime moment my phone/camera stayed in my backpack.  I wanted to enjoy the time with my kids instead of capturing it.

I know it sounds like I'm judging, and I'm not!  My sister is the family photographer and any time anyone needs a picture for something they ask Aunt Debbie.  Living in Arizona for 12 years I often wished she was there to photograph my kids parties or events because that's her thing and she's damn good at it. And she seems to be able to be present AND take pictures.  I don't think that's a skill a lot of people have.

What the picture taking at Disney led me to realize was that people aren't just preoccupied taking pictures they are busy posting them for the world to see.  Look, look at me, look at what a GREAT time I'm having......WHY?  Why do people care if others see the fun, why aren't they more absorbed IN the fun instead of posting it?  I do post pictures of my family enjoying life....but I post it AFTER the fact 98% of the time.  I think that's the part that gets me.  Looking around so many people were on their phone, checking social media....why?  You are with people I'm assuming you love, because you've chosen to spend this time with them, so why are you checking out what everyone else is doing?  This social media addiction is causing people to be so discontented with their own lives it's become an epidemic.  I know, I got caught up in it many times.  Summer's that were so hot in Arizona that we were inside most of the time and everyone else was having bbqs and beach outings, I felt dismayed with my life.  Everything I post on social media is authentic and positive.  If it's a stressful or not fun experience I don't post about it.  I've had people tell me so many times (after I commented about something they posted) that they were miserable and it wasn't any fun at all, yet to the rest of the world it looks like they are having the time of their life.  WHY?  Why do you CARE what everyone thinks first of all and secondly, why try to fake it?  Anyway, I digress, this is not what this post started for.

Being present.  Yes, that's the ticket.  As my kids and I waited on line after line we made memories.  We relived memories, we laughed and just connected.  My son said to me a few times, Jeez ma everyone looks so miserable.  I tried to explain it away and say "well, they're trying to cram it all into a short period of time and we have all the time in the world, so it's different", but it made me think.  I think most people are searching for the next shiny toy, the next feel good moment, the next high.  I've come to realize that MOST moments are those moments if you look at it from a different perspective.  We were in Target the other night on the way home from Disney to pick up a few things and we literally were laughing so hard we cried.  I stopped in the middle of an aisle, doubled over in laughter and my kids were too.  We had just as much fun at Target as we had in Disney World. Why?  Because we were together and we have fun everywhere.  That's not to say we are never upset or less than happy, of course we are, we're human!  But, we try to look at the good in everything, even waiting on a long, sweaty line at Disney World.

My kids tease me a lot about how in love I am with my Prince Charming.  They imitate my facial expression when I talk about him or talk to him and my sister simply says "eye roll" when I gush about him.  They are all happy for me and they know how long I've waited for this happiness that surrounds me now.  On one of our very first dates we were sitting having coffee and there was a family of 3 sitting at the next table and they were each engaged in their own electronic device.  I looked at him and I said "Promise me we will never be like that!"  He immediately said "Absolutely not! No way will that happen."  And it won't....because we've made a conscious choice to make sure that it doesn't.  And it IS a choice.  Everyone has the option of focusing on what they choose to focus on, whether it be social media, television, a book, music or the people they're with.  No one else can make that choice for them.

Sometimes I just feel that everyone is looking for something to fill a void in their life, that empty spot that keeps them searching for more.  Sometimes it's because they are looking for something they think someone else has or sometimes they are just in the wrong relationships and they need to move out of their comfort zone to find what they seek.  Other times they need to look in the mirror to change something to fill that empty spot.  But a lot of times I think it's like Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz....."Everything you were looking for was right there with you all along."  You just have to put your phone down and SEE it.

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