The grass is always greener?

One of my all-time favourite bloggers Caterina Fake wrote a great post on Tuesday called FOMO and Social Media. FOMO being fear of missing out:

"Social media has made us even more aware of the things we are missing out on. You’re home alone, but watching your friends status updates tell of a great party happening somewhere. You are aware of more parties than ever before. And, like gym memberships, adding Bergman movies to your Netflix queue and piling up unread copies of the New Yorker, watching these feeds gives you a sense that you’re participating, not missing out, even when you are."

It's an amazing post with many brilliant thoughts. If you ever lay awake in bed at night thinking about how crazy is this internet, what would happen if you switched off your computer and just never went back, and what is all this social media bollocks doing to our brains anyway; what does it all MEAN?, well then I highly recommend Caterina's post.

(I get total FOMO reading Caterina's writing, by the way. FOMO in the form of, Fear I've Missed Out On About 70 Million Brain Cells compared to this wonderful woman. She invented Flickr, you know.)

Anyway! I was then having a gander at Mighty Girl Maggie's site this morning and she had shared her thoughts on Caterina's post:

"The thing is, I still love social media, despite the occasional sense that everyone is popping bottles of champagne on city rooftops while I watch The Office reruns in my yoga pants. Seeing what I’m “missing” has shaped how I decide to spend my time, reminded me to fill my life with stuff that makes me feel like there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Now when I feel like I’m missing out, I see it as a flag that I’m unhappy about something else, an indicator that I need to invest some time in finding my own fun, or a reminder to stay in the moment — even if the moment is just enjoying my friends photos in my PJs."

I like her perspective. Some really interesting comments too, including a reader who is giving up Facebook for lent and this one made me smile:

"Just hooked up a thrifted 1970’s phone that weighs, like 32 pounds. It rings and I have no idea who is calling until I answer. A surprise or two every day! Then, because of short cord, I have to sit down and really talk to whomever is calling. And if I hear my sausage sizzling on the stove. Sizzling too hard – I tell the person to hold on and then I go over and really focus on my sizzling sausage. Then I come back and the surprise person and I will have an intense sausage conversation…"

I've got about half a dozen unfinished posts on the go about this technology and mindfulness sort of shenanigans but will spare you for now (PHEW!). Hope you are having a most excellent week!

New Year Goals Check-In: February

I'm doing monthly updates on my New Year Goals. 1/6th of 2011 is gone. Yikes.

Once again I'm late with the monthly update. Aside from feeling lame talking about this stuff with earthquakes and tsunamis going on, I've also been in the kind of overly emotional mood where it's best to steer clear of blogging. The kind of mood where one says or does ill-advised things, as per this hilarious tweet I saw from writer Sali Hughes:

February was a good month with some nice small victories.

  • I spent a long weekend in Paris with Dr G (my birthday gift to him – "Here, have an Easyjet ticket! Yeah, I'm coming too!" Everyone's a winner.) and I didn't put on any weight. Blow me down with a feather, I ate mindfully in the land of pastry and cheese.
  • I started a Pilates class! For the past four years I've pined for the weekly class we had when I worked at the House of Sport. I finally found a place on a Beginners course (yep, back to Beginner level, d'oh) and really loving it.
  • I lost a couple of pounds.
  • Food diary still going strong.

Things that didn't go as well:

  • Very inconsistent with exercise in the early part of the month.
  • Got sloppy with meal planning post Paris. It really helps to buy some bloody groceries!

I am happy with my glacial progress. I'm working more on the exercise and planning this month, but overall it feels like I'm devoting the right level of brain power to the task. There are still the PMS-y moments of I should do more panic, but I know that would mean taking away time and energy from other parts of my life and would no doubt trigger nutty behaviour and serious overeating. So I'll keep plodding along.

It felt like amazing progress to walk around in Paris and not have my guts knotted with regret for stuffing my face nor fear that I'd blown a diet. Instead, somehow I was able to switch off the lard-related chatter in my brain and focus on being there. It sounds cheesy but for the past few years I've not properly savoured some really cool moments because I was too caught up in angstypants thoughts.

This time I tried to focus on all five senses, not just taste. The tiny details of the Notre Dame. The echo of our voices when the river boat went under a bridge. The bright smell of a Vietnamese dinner. The flaky pastry of a chausson aux pommes dissolving on my tongue. The icy night air in my lungs as I raced Gareth around the Louvre pyramids on our bike tour. Gareth's yelp of pain when I accidentally rode too close and stabbed him with my handlebar. The unfortunate stink of that dog poo I failed to ride around.

Good times, people. Good times!

This photo is rubbish but you get the idea!

Friday Link Feast #13

As soon I wade through the almighty pile of laundry and To Do lists on my bedroom floor I will write a proper post, but in the meantime here's some tasty links!

Run for Christchurch

image from 3.bp.blogspot.comAs you may know, New Zealand’s second largest city, Christchurch, was devastated by a 6.3 earthquake at lunchtime on Tuesday 22 February 2011. There have been at least 113 fatalities and over 200 people are still missing.

My friend Kek explains the financial situation well:

"Christchurch is a small city by world standards and as such, has limited resources. Emergency funds have already been stretched to the limit by the September earthquake, and now this latest and far more serious quake has left many folks destitute and in need of all the help they can get.

Remember, it's not just those who've lost their homes and belongings, but many, many people who don't have jobs to go to because their city workplaces have either been destroyed or are off-limits due to the danger of further collapses."

A group of Kiwi bloggers have come up with a great idea to help raise funds – a worldwide virtual 5K on the weekend of 12-13 March:

"… we all want to feel like we’re doing more than just typing our credit card numbers into a box and clicking submit. So we thought we’d go for a run. Wearing red and black (the local colours), to show the people of Canterbury we love them. And we’d like you to join us for a virtual run. Wherever you are."

All proceeds will go to the New Zealand Red Cross Christchurch Earthquake Fund.

You don't have to be a runner to join in – jog, walk, skip if you prefer! If you’d like to participate, just follow these easy steps:

  • make a donation on the fundraising page – all proceeds will go to the New Zealand Red Cross
  • follow the team on Twitter and Facebook
  • tell the world you’re in! Share the love on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, whatever! Use the #run4chch hashtag.
  • on the 12th or 13th of March, pop your red and black on, and hit the streets, or the pavements, or the trails, or wherever it is you run/walk/jog/stagger.
  • then send a link to your race report, and they will post it on the official site.

Any Londonites out there – the lovely Sas has organised a fun run in Richmond Park on 13 March – find out more here.

Whether or not you're in a financial position to particpate, please consider spreading the word online via Facebook, Twitter or your own blog using the links above.

If you'd like to find out more, here's some FAQs and further information about Run for Christchurch.