Gratitude makes the journey better and so does kindness

Tag: Creativity

Why I do not miss Facebook and why just one resolution

It’s been many months since I deactivated my Facebook account. I do not miss it, and as much as I would like to, I cannot delete it fully because there are people I care about who are for now communicating only via Facebook messenger.

The social media rundown

Be as it may, the bad noise is gone. By that I mean the tsunami of fake information and rants spreading like wildfire leading to nowhere but high anxiety, and the countless posts of what should be private information. Oh, and there is also the marketing, incessant and shameless, which I do not miss. That is to say, I do not intend to return. Ever.

This month I am also taking a break from Twitter. Again, the noise can be too much at times. It’s different noise and I like being connected to like-minded people and their worthwhile words and ideas, but breaks are good. They make room for thinking and most importantly, they clear some much-needed space for other pursuits. Or more of the ones we always say we need (more) time for.  

You may be wondering about the other platforms such as Instagram and LinkedIn. I am for now set on a weekly post on Instagram and a weekly review of a few informative accounts. Since I am also keeping updated on a few science and self-improvement podcasts, any extra time on the same would mean a higher risk of falling into virtual rabbit holes which there are many. As for LinkedIn, I use it as the name implies: to link/connect with other professionals and/or professional groups.

Yes, our relationship to social media is a complicated one.

Thinking space

One resolution and a few steppingstones

It’s that time again: the yearly opportunity to start on something new (or pick up that dropped self-improvement project) to improve quality of life. I am not much for a laundry list of resolutions because I know it’s easy to get amped up and then drop one too many, but I do like a fresh start towards one or two long-term goals, and I know consistency pays off. So my one resolution is to be consistent on whatever I embark on.

For example: I want to be able to take part in the next polar bear swim (January 1, 2022) so my steppingstone is a daily cold shower (starting at 15 seconds and working towards two minutes). Since I already have a morning routine of breathing and stretching, I can pin this one on. And don’t let the 15 seconds fool you. That’s where math fails: 15 seconds under cold water does not equal 15 seconds of warm water shower. Still, cold water exposure has many virtues, and I will expand on that in a later post.

My next one and the big news I hinted at a couple of posts back is that I will be starting on a new path after spending the last year and a half studying for it. I have become a certified nutritional consultant (CNC) and that means, among others, that a new website with science-based nutrition information will be launched soon and, most importantly, that I can embark on a journey that I long dreamed of: disease prevention through healthy nutrition.

A long-term goal if there ever was one. The steppingstones in this case: reading, writing, and keeping up-to-date with the latest research on nutrition topics I will highlight in regular blog posts.

Credits

My inspiration to work on building good habits comes from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits – An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones (Penguin Random House, 2018).

My inspiration source for minimizing social media presence is Cal Newport, author of many books on focus and productivity, including Digital Minimalism – Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World (Portfolio, 2019).  

The inspiration for embracing the cold showers is provided by Wim Hof, also known as The Ice Man (and that says is all, though he does more than that).

A refreshing book I discovered this past year and enjoyed reading was Ultralearning – Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition and Accelerate Your Career (Illustrated, 2019) by Scott H. Young. Never stop learning!

On that note…

Dogs know

If you have books or people who inspire your journey towards a more balanced life (I know that may mean different things to different people), please feel free to share. Knowledge is delightful, more so when shared.

Here’s to a good year and here’s to being present, curious, and kind. Most of all, grateful.

The Reading Thing And All Things Related

It was a year or so ago that Sasha’s kindergarten teacher asked that we have a chat. She was concerned that Sasha’s early reading and writing skills were not as advanced as his classmates’.

“I am concerned,” she said, as plainly as possible.
“I am not,” I replied. I meant that.

Whether it was mama bear instinct or serenity based on some innate knowledge that only mothers can have, I kept a straight face while being told that my son will soon start to feel embarrassed because he will not be among those who know how to.

That he had no reason to feel embarrassed about anything is an understatement. His interest in Egyptian gods back then, plus his admiration for Steve Irwin, inspired him to draw beautiful colorful renditions of the said gods and also fill many pages of his notebooks with drawings of creatures, both real and imaginary. We read books – nature books, chapter books and picture books, although to be fair, he has always been more taken with the long reads. His vocabulary contained words that would take me by surprise.

I could not understand why at the age of five and a half he was expected to write, as in write down most of a word based on the sound of it as the word was dictated by the teacher. He was expected to read simple words and slowly make his way up the reading skill scale, I was told. Like many kids his age, he could not care less and he was not interested or ready to do so. I let him take the lead and do it when he’s ready. He became ready.

So here we are, a year later, plopped on the sofa every afternoon, opening tiny books with tiny stories about jolly pirate captains that drop their hats in the water and don’t mind, and dinosaurs that eat dragonflies and cockroaches. Accurate stuff, wouldn’t you say? Sasha reads, I listen, and there’s no “you’re amazing” uttered every third word but my proud looking at him matches his sparkling eyes. His pride shows too.

We celebrated his first reading of a tiny book with my eyes growing big and surprised. “You’re reading! Isn’t that nice?” Their room has a huge red bookshelf that holds an army of books. Every week or so we bring a couple from the library. Think of all the books you’ll be reading, I told him. But there’s no hurry up and do it now that you know how. I love our cuddling reading times, just like he loves my reading with different voices and sounds. And yes, the cuddling.

What I wanted him to know most of all is that reading is supposed to be his big breakthrough and no one else’s. He is equally loved and accepted and appreciated for everything that he is. The fact that he is prying open the writing and reading doors and looking at the world through different colored lenses should make him look forward to new adventures to come.

Not that he did not have any until now. His world has been enriched by exploring the world in his own way, by daring to do so, by listening to stories being read to him, by asking many questions, by getting down and dirty every step of the way. The human mind is always pushing forward when the time is right.

Being told or suggested to that they need to do it because everyone does it is not only unfair to children, but also deleterious to the way they perceive reading. Back when I wrote the first post on the topic I argued that it could lead to feeling inadequate and that is the wrong feeling at such an early age when enthusiasm and curiosity and confidence work so well together. Let’s call it creativity for short.

Curiosity must remain the perpetually hungry, perpetually wild beast that will make our children explore further and find richer feeding grounds as it grow. If we don’t spook it with silly milestones that are not set by anything else but the pressure to engage them in the rat race sooner that is.

Ultimately, monumental achievements such as reading and writing should happen because nothing else would be enough anymore. Joy should be part of it. Just like stepping stones, you know. You can’t move further away unless you step on a certain stone at a certain time. But of course, I am merely speaking for my children. I am not a teacher after all…

 

 

 

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