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TikTok, TikTok….

Our weather continues its yo-yo pattern of warm then cold and back. It is currently 11AM and we have not yet hit 50-degrees outside. Even for New England, that is chilly. There is a promise of warmer weather – seasonable actually – next week; not a stretch as next week is the first week of May (already). Scary how days float on down the river of our life like shed leaves in the fall. Sad really, because so many of us often spend our days worrying about this or that, remembering and mourning one thing or another, or anticipating an upcoming event and wishing time to speed up.

Not mine, but a good analogy. If I gave you $86,400 you’d probably be delighted – right? (Yes, tax free!) Now if while walking home, you dropped a $10 bill and the wind took it away, would you get upset and throw away the remaining $86,390? Likely not. I think we can all agree it’d be absurd to do that.

We each get 24 hours in a day, with 60 minutes in each hour and 60 seconds in each minute. The math in all of that equates to 86,400 seconds given to each of us every day. Now driving to the store someone blatantly cuts you off and flips you off as they do so, I think we can all agree that is a bad moment. Perhaps you honk, maybe you flip back, or you might yell out the window. Regardless of how you react, there is no doubt but that it’s an anger filled moment lasting…maybe 10 seconds. So do you let those 10 seconds ruin the rest of your day? Will you “throw away” the remaining 86,390 seconds because one jerk ruined 10 seconds of your day?

Time is fleeting; there is no point in denying that, live on this planet for more than a few weeks and that fact quickly becomes painfully evident. Yet we are guilty of treating that precious commodity frivolously and allowing it to almost constantly slip through our fingers. I suspect because we feel that we get so many seconds in a day, a week, a month, a year, that time is almost unlimited. Which of course, it is not. And in the back of our minds we know it is finite, but we also all believe that the final moment is so far off in the distant future that it might as well be infinite.

I have a “half day” off today, hence the update today. We watch our 9-month-old grandson Mon-Fri as both my daughter and her husband work. And that does eat up a lot time; it is fun because he is such a love, but it does take away a huge amount of each day. However today, he has a doctor’s appointment so we aren’t watching today. It is Friday, so that means Friday night sleepover for my other three grandkids so I have to be at their house by 2:30 to meet them after school and then bring them here.

I had hoped to sneak in a hike this morning but I had some things I needed to get done around the house as well as Friday morning grocery shopping, so I decided to pass on it. Which takes me full circle to what I was just talking about: squandering time. I sit here typing, I’ve played a video game, watched at least part of a movie… am I wasting my time? I am not “throwing” it away out of a bad 10 second moment, but I am not being judicious with either. I probably could have still done all I wanted or needed to do and still gone for a hike. I suspect the windy and chilly weather helped sway me to pass on a hike. But I do plan to get out Sunday, so expect a post then!

I say this with some embarrassment, but I have joined the TikTok wave now sweeping across the country. There is steeped with a lot of blatantly/implied sexuality (no nudity or graphic content permitted), but once you get past that (with a swipe of a finger), you find that it is really a compilation of everyday people trying to convey a message using video. Now that message may be one of hope, of human kindness, of racial discrimination, of police brutality (real or perceived), of rude neighbors/people, and of just about anything else they wish to shine a light on.

I “declare” this digital semi-obsession because it has fully reinforced what I have believed for several years: people are living precariously close to the edge. People are confused, anxious, frightened, angry, and bewildered at the state of the world. Individually and collectively. People are polarized, irrational, uncharitable, aggressive, and a long list of other adjectives as well. The world is in a fragile place and people are reacting to that. Just the other night I heard someone say, “we should just do it since Russia will probably nuke us any day now.” Imagine….

And before anyone asks, no – I have not posted anything to TikTok and am not l likely to! However I did see Henry Winkler (the Fonz for those who may have forgotten) with his three grandkids on TikTok, in an awesome family dance video. So…there is a chance you may actually see me with my grandkids one of these days! Now that’s a viral moment waiting to happen (LOL).

There is no magic, no manual, no formula or equation to show us how to navigate these difficult times. It is truly an individual thing, learned and relearned on almost a daily basis. What works or helps one day may not even crack the door open the next day. It is about trying to cling to a semblance of normalcy while shielding ourselves from the negatives and triggers. And given the complete and total immersion prevalent in our digital lives these days, that can be a nearly impossible task. And frankly, TikTok can be on one side one day, and the other side another, depending on what content you’re seeing at any given moment; quick flipping from one to the next can help by skipping things that may tip your mood or feelings.

My best advice is to return to the basics. I watch/read less news – just enough to keep me up to date on what’s going on in the world, usually mostly headlines. I try to limit my time on all social media: Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and whatever else. When I watch TV I aim for mostly movies, things that I enjoy. I try to listen to a lot of music, even wearing buds when working in the yard. I try to hike or at least get outdoors as often as possible. I play a lot of puzzles – solitaire, Mahjong, crossword and the like, simple things that relax and don’t trigger negativity. As I said, there is no one-button fix here, trial and error.

Speaking of, I’ve sat long enough – time to get out in the yard and to find something to do for the next couple of hours before I head off to pick up my grandkids. I hope you find your personal escape dear reader, whether it’s a good book, a hot cup of tea, or a ride in the country on your motorcycle. Stay well!!

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