COS (Content Overload Syndrome)

The last few weeks I have read two books (old-school style, written on paper – just how I like them) and a million-gazillion Facebook posts. Not to mention school newsletters, netball notices, soccer notices, Civil Defence notices, the local paper and stories to my children.

books

I’ve also been networking like a ninja – attending face-to-face meet-ups and joining not one, not two, but three new networking groups on Facebook.

And to be honest … my brain is fried! Way too much content in and not enough out. Now, I’m like that over-stimulated baby that won’t sleep (hence writing this at 11pm).

And the worst part is that it’s totally my own doing. Nobody forced me to digest so much content in a short amount of time. I did it to myself.

And the even worst part is that I’ve realised how much we all rely on staying “connected” but are losing real connections.

This afternoon our WiFi was down for a couple of hours – OMG!! Everybody was freaking out like it was the ‘end of the world as we know it.’ The kids were panicked.

“You Tube doesn’t work, Netflix is down and even my tablet won’t go!” they hollered.

I wasn’t much better myself … “What if there’s a really important email  I need to see? How do I check my bank accounts? Do I have to watch normal TV?!”

Lame. Extremely lame.

There is just so MUCH content out there now.

Every man and his dog has a blog and now there are so many outlets for people to express their opinion (no matter how ugly or un-educated they may be).

And so I’ve had a bit of a revelation … I’m pretty much over it. I’m going to wean myself of consuming so much content (particularly the on-line variety). I’m also going to re-address what content I put out, which will involve a bit of soul-searching to figure out exactly what and for whom I will be writing.

The truth is, I actually love writing these rambles. It’s so therapeutic to type away and release what’s been plaguing my mind. It provides me with some clarity and I love the fact that some of you out there enjoy reading it too (just be careful you don’t get COS, LOL!!)

The other truth is that when I started my freelance writing business I was worried that writing for a living might suck the enjoyment right out of it. And in some ways this is right. So, I need to concentrate on exactly what sort of writing I love and follow that path.

I am determined to plunge myself into the areas I’m passionate about and not take second best or settle for run-of-the-mill.

So there you have it … my random thoughts spewed onto the page for your pleasure.

If this post strikes you as a bit strange compared to normal, blame it on the full moon!

moon and girl

If anyone else out there is a fellow COS sufferer my thoughts are with you and I would suggest you log off social media (not soon – NOW).

Also, well done to all of you that are following your passions – I salute you.

Well, before I ramble on all night I better try to get this overstimulated brain to log off.

Keep smiling,

Kat : 🙂

P.S. Although I just made up the term COS, I do know that content overload or information overload is a topic that has been written about a lot in recent times. 

A Better Me

Gidday 2017. How the heck are ya?

I was wondering what you might have in store for me this year and then I heard you chuckle and tell me I had to figure that one out for myself. Fair enough, I guess.

So, as always at this time of the year I did a stock-take of my life and tried to imagine what it would look like one year from now (cue Baywatch model in red bikini swimming in an ocean of hundred-dollar bills).

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Then I stopped daydreaming and realised I already have the basic blueprint nailed … awesome family, great friends, enjoyable work etc. In other words, the external stuff is pretty great and I’m grateful for it … it’s the internal workings that could do with some improvement.

Don’t get me wrong I’m a pretty happy go-lucky type and it takes a lot to get me down, but I’m far from perfect. I have days I just can’t be bothered. I have days where I feel like that hamster on the wheel and I wonder what the point of it all is and days where I feel like I’m wasting my time on this earth and could be doing so much more.

I know this is normal and we can’t be happy all the time … but this year I’m striving to get those percentages up. I’m striving to be more compassionate, more patient, kinder (especially to myself) and grateful.

I’m going to be kinder to my body and try to get it moving more often and fill it with more nourishing food.

I’m going to be kinder to my soul and fill it with inspiring thoughts, nature’s beauty and children’s laughter.

And I’m going to be more understanding of those around me and remind myself that they probably weren’t put in my path just to piss me off, but they probably have a lesson to teach me.

So take a good look everyone because this is the me to be. The same ol’ girl, just a bit more ‘Zenified’ (if that’s not a word, it should be 🙂 )

balance

Happy 2017 everyone and thanks for reading.

 

 

So, IT happened.

It actually happened a couple of months ago, but I was shy about broadcasting it to the world.

It’s not a major actually. In fact I’m lucky it happened to me. Not everyone can say the same.

Some people celebrate when it happens, some people don’t. I decided to leave the country … but only for a couple of weeks.

Yes, I turned 40!! (but don’t tell anyone).

Is Productivity Killing Passion?

We’re so bloody productive these days aren’t we? And if we’re not … we feel guilty and like we should be doing SO MUCH MORE.

I sometimes fear that we are becoming a bit machine-like. We are so BUSY doing, doing, doing … we forget to stop for a minute and take stock.

A typical day for most women my age goes something like this: Wake up, get kids sorted for school, squeeze in breakfast for ourselves (maybe, maybe not), get kids to school, go to work or get home and start work, clean house, buy groceries, fit in some exercise (maybe, maybe not) collect children, ferry them off to after school activities, do homework, organise dinner, dishes, bath, stories, kids in bed … find wine, slump on couch and crawl to bed … oh and talk to partner (maybe, maybe not).

Ok, I’m exhausted just writing that … so how does it feel living like this every day?

Sure, we may feel pleased we achieved so much in day. We may feel relieved that we managed to tick most of the boxes off our to-do-lists … But do we feel inspired? Do we feel excited? Do we feel passionate? Do we feel appreciated?

If we’re lucky we have a job that truly inspires us and fills us with joy and we have abundant energy allowing us to work, raise children, do the domestic duties, cherish our partner and find time to relax … how many of you are saying “I wish” right now?

Is this even possible? Can we HAVE IT ALL, AT THE SAME TIME and still be HAPPY?

Or are we just setting the bar far too high and expecting that we can maintain this superwoman status without flinching?

I think it’s great that women can achieve so much and the opportunities we have available to us these days … but are we being too hard on ourselves? Are we expecting too much and what are we compromising by doing so?

Sometimes I feel like we are so hell-bent on being productive and ‘successful’ that we are running the risk of becoming machine-like and losing our human connections and de-valuing that which makes us human in the first place.

You’ll notice in the above description of a typical day you don’t find the following: a long walk along the beach, sitting for two hours with a cuppa and chatting to a friend, ringing someone overseas and re-connecting with them, reading a book or going out to dinner with a loved one.

Why is this? Is it because these things are now seen as taking too much time? A guilty pleasure? Or something that just needs to wait until you have some spare time?

Is time so scarce now that we can’t use it to connect with people, pursue our passions or just slow down and relax?

Oh sorry I did forget one thing from the list … scroll through Facebook feed, like a couple of posts and maybe comment (if there’s time!)

And if we are living like this, what impact is it having on our children? Are we consistently portraying the message that we just don’t have time? Will they value friendships, nature, passions etc, if they never see us pursuing them and investing our valuable time into them?

Even the school system seems to emphasise more machine-like, productive assets than human values. For example, whilst I think my children’s school offers many opportunities and has got some good systems in place – I wonder if the school values could be a bit more human?

As they stand, the school values are Respect, Responsibility, Resilience and Resourcefulness. These are all great attributes but they seem quite ‘Sergeant Majorish’ to me and I’m sure you could programme a robot to possess these same responses.

What about human values like empathy, compassion, kindness and individuality? Are these not important enough anymore?

I know that being resilient is important in order to survive life with its harsh edges, but what about the values that add meaning to life?

Are we passing these by in order to be productive?

And are we teaching our children that emotion is a weakness and that ‘being tough’ is the only way to navigate through life’s obstacles?

I personally would love to see some awards handed out to our children who are kind to others and act in a compassionate, empathic way.

I realise this post has a lot more questions than answers and some of us are so far down the ‘life is too busy’ rabbit hole that it is hard to navigate a way back.

However, I think it’s important to take the time to think about these things once in a while and to take stock of your own life.

Sometimes we need to ask ourselves whether we feel we are truly living an authentic life. One which makes us feel inspired and alive inside.

And if the answer is no … perhaps we can just allow ourselves a snippet of that golden resource called time to have a think about what changes can be made in our own lives to bring back the passion.

Good luck and keep smiling,

Kat

 

 

Colour-less Rainbows

Her life feels like a tunnel with no light at the end
A colour-less rainbow with no pot of gold to attend

Worn down, energy depleted
Dreaming of a different destination – if only she could meet it

Struggling through the debris of her life’s reality
Nothing for her to do but hope for what her life could really be

Hoping the stars will align
Her fight will return
The struggle will ease
Lady Luck will take her turn


photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7577311@N06/471517080″>Hooded stranger</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

A poem for my husband

Ten years ago
To this very day
My life was changed forever
In the very best way

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We’d had a blast in London
And then we settled down
Had two beautiful babies
And lived in a small town

Jack and mez babies

But then a change was needed
And we moved across the ditch
It wasn’t all smooth sailing
But love got us through without a hitch

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So now we’re in the Bay of Plenty
And we’ve found some solid ground
Our love has never been stronger
Of that we should be proud.

Us at Xmas

 

Facebook Rehab: Have you checked in yet?

Facebook is like that bad boy you meet as a teenager. The one who you know is bad for you; The one your mother tells you to stay away from as it “will only end in tears;” The one you just can’t seem to get enough of.

You keep going back even though you often end up jealous, anxious or dissatisfied by the experience. You think about cutting him off and never looking back but you just can’t take the step for fear of “missing out” on something.

facebook addict

According to a study carried out in the US: “Vacation photos caused the highest level of resentment among Facebook users who reported to experience a high amount of envy”. Read more of the study here.

I myself have toyed with the idea of deleting my Facebook account. However, although some aspects of it are annoying I personally still enjoy the experience and find it beneficial to interact with a large amount of people quickly.

Having said that I did conduct a little experiment recently. I went on a week-long holiday to Fiji and left my phone at home – meaning no social media or any online activity for the whole week!

I have to admit it was a little weird at first and took some getting used to:

When I took a great holiday selfie with cocktail in hand, it was strange not posting it on Facebook with the tag: “Life is sweet” and when I shot a video of the kids “cannon-balling” into the pool, I once again automatically went to reach for my phone to share it with the world.

cocktail

I also am embarrassed to admit that although I was having a great holiday there where definitely times I felt the urge to jump into the social media world and find out what everybody else was up to.

So, when we arrived back in Australia, at midnight, the first thing I did was locate my phone and hungrily race to log in to my Facebook account.

And this is what I missed:

– A handful of pictures of my friends’ children receiving awards at school
– You Tube videos of a dad dancing with his daughter when returning from work and a dog who can supposedly talk
– At least 20 videos of people completing their “Ice Challenge”

And this is what I gained:

– Being totally present in the moment. Experiencing something and just letting it be that – an experience. Not something to broadcast to everybody else but something special just for me.

– Actual real interaction. Remember that? Talking and laughing with friends and family instead of liking and commenting on their life from behind a screen.

– Memories. Ones that are stored in my mind not on my news feed.

Looking back I am so glad that I made the decision to take a holiday from social media.

As with everything in life I believe there has to be a balance and I worry about the people who are out of balance with the impact social media is having on them: Those who feel lonely, worthless and envious after the Facebook experience; Those who are losing the ability to have real experiences and proper conversations; Those who believe that the one-sided story of a person’s life displayed on Facebook is actual reality.

I think we need to keep discussing this issue and I highly recommend that everybody takes a holiday from social media once in a while.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you deleted your Facebook account? Are you concerned people are becoming addicted to social media? Do you have positive or negative experiences with Facebook?

Image credits: designtaxi.com and Steve Corey via photopin cc