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Sunday, November 04, 2018

To Remember a Happier Time


Remember what it was like being a child? If you had a good childhood as I did, then you might remember some of these things too.


For me, I remember running over to my neighbor's home to play with my friends. I remembered playing on the swing sets and seeing how high we could swing and jump off without getting hurt.  I remember digging holes near the swings to see if we could reach China. 

I remember playing tag and jump-rope, hopscotch, and bouncing the big ball against the wall of the house.  I remember swimming in our pool and being afraid to go in the deep end.  Summer was always fun and we would play fox and hounds at dusk into the night with all the neighborhood kids.  There were birthday parties, and games.  I played Barbie with my friend Karen every weekend.  And throughout all these memories and years, a President was assassinated and a war in Vietnam was going on.  Civil rights movements were prevalent too, but I never took any notice and had friends of different races and didn't think twice about it.  It never even occurred to me that they were any different than I was.  To me, then and now, it never occurred to me that the difference in skin color was any different than the differences in the color of your hair, or the color of your eyes, or the shape of your face, or whether your hair was straight or you had curls.  We are all different, yet we are all human, so why should it make any difference what any of those differences are?



In my teens, it was all about boys and dancing and music.  In other words, we were focused on our life, our future, our faith, close relationships and friendships, church and family.  Happiness and doing things that brought us joy was prevalent back then.  For me, that was the 60s and 70s.  



By the 80s I was married, having children, and lost my father.  Still, I was not consumed with anyone else's hell but my own at the time.  Growing up proved not to be so easy for me in my late teens and 20s.  I was not prepared.  It is how life was for me.



Fast-forward to today, November, 2018, and I've been happily married for 26 years and have a wonderful family of my own.  Children who have grown up and make me proud, and grandchildren as well.  My mother is 94y/o and has lived with us for 20+ years.  Family ... really is a beautiful gift.  And although the blessings are bountiful and I have much to be thankful for, I suffer with depression on occasion.  

Depression is debilitating.  It sucks the joy right out of you.  No inspiration.  No motivation. Sadness abounds.  It's awful!  This past 2 years have been the worst for me.  My mind is consumed with Trump's lies and fear mongering, irresponsible rhetoric, and the sight of things I thought were long gone in the 60s!  Today, mass killings have become a regular and expected part of the news.  Evil, hate, threats, fear ... rule the day.  And social media plays a large part in the negative information we are fed daily.



Today, I began to reflect on the differences of the world we live in now, versus the world I grew up in.  As a child, I was protected, for the most part, from the negative news of the war and riots and the civil rights movement.  I watched cartoons and Shirley Temple, Hazel, and My Three Sons.  Everything is different now.  Everything.  And not necessarily for the betterment of our life or the lives of our children.

I came upstairs to begin making a table runner for Thanksgiving, and to wrap a few gifts for Christmas that I had purchased.  I laid on my bed for a bit and scrolled through my newsfeed on Facebook. I love Facebook, actually.  I very much enjoy the paintings from my artist friends, and keeping up with family and friends.  And I do run across the occasional political post or bad news shared.  But, for the last 4 days, I have purposely disconnected myself from the "news."  I have turned off news notifications on my phone and avoided the nightly news and local news completely for 4 days.  That doesn't seem like a lot, I know, but it helped to bring me out of a dark place I've been for about 2 weeks now. 

It was while scrolling through my FB newsfeed that I came across a story of 2 women who had been murdered in a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida.  It was like a punch in the gut.  How quickly evil and hatred can affect our life.  I had no idea this had happened, because, as I said, I had purposely disconnected from the news.  And, as soon as I read the story of these two women, I felt my face and neck tighten up and sadness flow in like hot black tar readying its way to harden my heart.  I put down my phone and decided to write this post.

In the last 4 days I have done laundry, cleaned a bit, and gone to bed early.  I took a much needed walk, did some Christmas shopping, began reading a good book, enjoyed a couple fires in our fireplace, and thought about the paintings and sewing and quilting projects I need to begin for gifts this year.  News off and out of my head, I've watched Hallmark Channel Movies and curled up with a blanket and cocoa. It has been a breath of fresh air.  Amazing actually. For the first time in a very long time, I feel more connected to my own life and family, and less concerned with social media and all the evil in this world.  Focusing on the "present" and family has been wonderful in fact.

Trump, rally’s, killings, and news in general is unhealthy. I have come to recognize just how bad it is to my mental and physical health. If I don’t control the information I hear, see, and read each day, it’s going to destroy any happiness possible in my life. The evil around us is poison. If we ingest enough of it, it will kill us. It’s time to take my life back and focus on my home, family, projects, holidays, friends who are dear to me, and the blessings in my daily life.  Sadness will find us, it always does - illness, death, being hurt.  But do we need to feed on it every single day? 

That's why I took the time to reflect on my childhood.  There was no social media.  There were no computers.  Yes, there is good to be found in social media, computers, and mobile phones, but when we seek out all the other stuff, evil and sadness, bad news and fear seep in to our hearts.  I think we need a cleanse of the information we feed ourselves each day.

I challenge you to disconnect from the news.  Focus on your life, your work, your studies, your projects, home, family, and close friends.  Do this for one week and see if it makes a difference in how you feel, how you sleep, and your happiness.  Other than coming across that one sad story of the two women in Tallahassee in my Facebook newsfeed, I have sheltered myself from all the rest.  I don't want to know.  It is a weight on my heart and mind that I need to let go of.  Can we let go together?  For a while? 

Thank you for letting me share my story with you.  There is nothing wrong with trying to take back our childhood, protected from the news, and enjoying life as it should be.





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