I hear lots of talk these days about finding yourself a “tribe”. I love the concept. Surround yourself with people of similar interests and complimentary skills and a world of new possibilities can open for you. We all want to feel we belong.
Humans have been doing this for centuries. This isn’t a new concept; however, as our ability to connect with people all over the world is now a mere click away, the opportunities it represents are almost endless. Growing up as a Gen X’er, I’ve witnessed an incredible shift. I typed my college papers on a typewriter instead of a computer. My freshman computer classes were rudimentary programming. When I first started in my corporate job, memos were manually typed, copied and mailed out. Now, much of my day job is spent on a computer, emailing with those I work with all around the United States.
I understand concerns that our online connectivity is harming peoples’ ability to connect on a personal level. Are social skills declining? Possibly. But I don’t want to take on that topic today. Instead, I wanted to focus on the positive aspects of being able to connect with others online. Prior to the dawn of the internet, our worlds were usually limited to the people in our immediate vicinity.
We all enjoy spending time with people that like the same things we do. But what if you really enjoyed something a bit unique— like maybe learning all you could about collecting a specific kind of pottery. Maybe your grandparents set their table with those very same dishes when you were a kid and they were manufactured in their hometown. Now you live a thousand miles away and no one else knows or cares about your hobby of trying to complete the partial set they left you. But there might be fifty other people interested in collecting that specific kind of pottery because they also remember it from their childhood. Google it and there is a chance a few of them have already formed an online group to help each other locate pieces. If no one has started a group yet, you could start one and make connections with people from many different geographies that share a similar interest.
Or maybe you’re a new parent, overwhelmed with all of the demands on you but you still want to be the very best parent you can be. You might not have time to go out for a cocktail with friends to talk about your struggles but you could connect with others online that are having similar issues and find both ideas and encouragement. The possibilities really are endless.
Personally, connecting with people online has allowed me to pursue my dreams of writing and publishing. I belong to numerous groups of authors and others affiliated with the writing process, very few of which live within a reasonable driving distance to me. Honestly, without all of them, my rough draft of my first book would still be stuck in my desk drawer, probably forever. I would have never started blogging either.
Nothing should ever replace quality human interaction. But online connections can certainly have a place in our lives today. It’s fun to interact with people pursuing similar dreams. There are kindred souls out there. All of you reading this today are a wonderful example of our ability to connect and share with others.
Is there something you’ve been wanting to find out more about? Maybe you're like me and want to eat a little healthier. Just this week I joined an online Facebook group specific to something I’m doing to improve my eating habits. I’ve already found some great recipes and received encouragement from success stories others are posting.
Never before has it been easier to connect with others, both near and far. Connecting with others is a gift that makes our life richer. Keep reaching out. Kim
Spring has finally arrived! And with it our family room is getting a facelift. After months of watching Chip and Joanna do amazing things on Fixer Upper while being cooped up inside during a very long winter, we’re trying our own hand at it. I was quickly reminded of two things—everything always looks easier on TV than it really is and my husband and I don’t work quite as well together on projects as the Gaines.
Do you feel the need to refresh things in the spring? I suspect everyone does. It’s a time of renewal.
We’ve lived in the same house for a long time and I enjoy decorating. We have slightly less square footage now than when we moved in because I’ve painted the rooms so many times! I’m not handy enough to do major renovations but I can sure paint.
For example, thinking back, our smallest bedroom started out as a guest room and then morphed into a bright circus theme when our son was born. After a few years, daughter number one called it her room and then daughter number two claimed it. It’s been white, pink, purple, light blue and green striped, and back to white. Finally, with only one child left at home, that tiny bedroom has become a mini-man cave complete with three black walls and various hunting trophies and photos. We’ve made good use of that little space.
While I’m often the one to dream up home improvement projects, they usually become a family affair. I’m lucky to have a handy husband and I often need his help actually accomplishing what I’m going for. The kids sometimes help, too. One of them enjoys helping with projects, the other two usually need a little coercing.
Just like other parts of our lives, our homes need a bit of freshening up once in a while. Spring is the perfect time to throw open the windows, de-clutter our spaces and spruce things up.
I love this quote I came across on Pinterest:
May your home know joy, each room hold laughter,
and every window always be open to possibilities. Ethan W. Post
Home should be the happy place you return to at the end of every day. It should reflect your personal style. It doesn’t have to be big, or fancy, or expensive. It just needs to be filled with things that make you smile and tell your story. Often something as simple as doing a little rearranging or a new candle or pretty potpourri can freshen up a room.
Spring is the time to try some of those things you’ve been admiring all winter on HGTV (if you are a fan like me). Spruce up your nest with a little creativity then sit back with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and enjoy the longer days. We’ve earned it.
Enjoy the sunshine! Kim
The older I get, the more I appreciate how much fun it can be to take a leap of faith. How about you? When was the last time you took a leap?
I admit it. I often get stuck in “analysis paralysis”. It’s scary to start something when you don’t have it all figured out on the front end. At least it scares me. But then, when I take a step back and look at things in hindsight, I realize some of the best things I’ve done were the result of taking a deep breath, closing my eyes and jumping in.
Just dipping your toes in often doesn’t cut it. If you give something a little bit of time, a little bit of effort, a little bit of commitment, you will probably get a little bit out of it. All this half-hearted effort will quickly result in loss of interest and you move on to try a little bit of something else.
I’ve been thinking about why so many of us are afraid to try new things—myself included. Where does all this fear come from? If we do take a chance on something, what is the worst that can happen if it doesn’t work out?
The fear can come from so many places. All you have to do is tune into the daily news to get an extreme dose of the terrible things that can go wrong. Why is it that almost all news is of the “bad” variety? That question is too big to tackle here. But it is worth reminding ourselves one of the reasons it is noteworthy is because it isn’t something we all experience everyday—thank goodness. They seldom show us the 95% (or whatever the number really is, you know what I mean) of the time things turn out. Sadly, the positive stories seldom make for sensationalist headlines and ratings even though they should.
I’m also concerned fear of failure is being deeply ingrained in our kids. I am the mother of three awesome kids. One is done with college, one is in the middle of her college years, and one is still in high school. All three have been extremely concerned about their grades. For years they feared the impact any grade less than an “A” would have on their future. Are their fears unfounded? Not so much in today’s education system if you hope to obtain scholarships based on academic strengths. They learn they need to be nearly perfect in all subjects, regardless of whether or not they enjoy the topics or will even have any use for them in their “real” lives. I wish there was a way kids could do more exploring and trial-and-error during high school and college. They miss out on honing this valuable life skill during their formative years. Grades and standardized test scores are an easy way to “judge” kids. I doubt this will change.
I think another big reason we are afraid to take a leap is because we worry too much about what other people think. It wasn’t until I focused more on self-development as I headed into my forties that I had a huge “aha” moment – NO ONE ELSE IS PAYING MUCH ATTENTION TO US AT ALL. They are all too worried about what everyone else is thinking about them! So why do we care so much what other people think? We shouldn’t.
For me, my writing journey has been a series of ongoing leaps of faith. I often feel like I’m running the hurdles, jumping over fear of something new nearly every day! But what I’m finding is when I spend so much time in these uncharted waters I have a blast and it’s invigorating. Will everyone like what I write? Of course not. But if I keep my eye on my vision of trying to entertain and inspire as many people as possible, I stay in that exhilarating place. I can’t control who will and who won’t like something I write. Heck, the same person may hate something they read from me one day and like it the next. They might even be reading the same thing but they are in a different frame of mind today than yesterday.
We have to focus on the things we can control and, to the best of our abilities, ignore the rest. Throw out our own indecision. Stop overcomplicating things and take a chance. Fear kills so many dreams. Most of the things we miss out on in life are because of our fear of failure. The reality of failure is that most times failure is not serious. It is an opportunity to gain wisdom, make some adjustments and try again.
Is there something you’ve been wanting to try but fear has held you back? It could be in any aspect of your life. If you can’t stop thinking about it and if your life would be better if it works out, it might be worth a jump. I’ll be here to cheer you on! Kim
Have you ever noticed how a slight shift in how we view something makes all the difference? For example, I suspect most everyone has had their eyes tested. The optometrist flips between two different scenarios, only slightly different from each other, and you need to pick “one” or “two”. One may be slightly fuzzy while the other more clear. This continues until you can see clearly.
If we try to take a similar approach to something we would normally see as an annoyance, an embarrassment or even something downright scary, looking at the same scenario with a slightly different “lens” can completely change our perception.
I thought it would be fun to list out a bunch of little annoyances I’ve experienced and how I could have looked at them in a slightly different light:
None of these examples are big deals. But like so much in life, it’s the little things that can make all the difference. Laugh at yourself. Find the lesson in things. Take a deep breath and find the good in things. It’ll do your heart and your blood pressure good, not to mention how much of a boost it can give your attitude. Believe me, I don't always remember to do this, but I'm working on it.
Where can you shift to a new lens? There is always something to smile about! Kim
Kimberly Diede Author
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!