I had an entire post typed out for you all today. It was beautiful. Then the post went away. It got lost somewhere and now I cannot find it. It just big, fat Went Away. And it made me incredibly sad. I worked so hard on it and then something outside of my control made it simply disappear. While I was being sad about it, it occurred to me that I was experiencing something that I had just written about. So I decided to piece together the main points that are still fresh in my mind and share them with you.
It began something like this…
Everyone needs to just stop. Chill out. Calm the hell down. Stop the insanity! I blame the Internet. More specifically, I blame Pinterest. No one has original thoughts anymore. Every action, every ’emotion’ is a copycat version of love, interest and care. It’s the constant need to be better than our neighbor, (or at the very least, the same as). We are now simply mimicking someone else’s love and pretending that it’s our own. We make big deals out of things that needn’t be elaborated on. The last day of school, in and of itself, is a big deal. It does not need to be celebrated with a parade and a cake and a marching band with balloon animals. The 4th birthday of a child does not require an elephant or a jet or a Katy Perry performance. It can be made special with a cake and 4 candles, a song and a gift. If you celebrate with a circus and a trip to Paris, then you are teaching that child that nothing has meaning without choreography or a generator. When that child grows up, and they receive a handmade gift or a handwritten card, they will not believe in or feel that love because it didn’t make noises or explode when they opened it.
Whatever happened to ‘it’s the thought that counts’?
We need to be teaching our children that privacy is something to cherish, to appreciate, to strive for. We should be showing them that they are good enough just by being who they are and by doing the things that they do. A good grade on a report card is a wonderful thing, and we can show them our pride by saying these words, ‘I am so proud of you.’ They don’t need a carnival. We can show them our love by giving them a hug and taking the time out of our day to kiss them and to tell them we love them. They don’t need anything else from us. But if we give them more and more every time they complete a task, they will grow up to think that they are not good enough.
We should allow them to be alone and play, to feel and to think things, to go outside and witness something simple that cannot be clicked on or ‘liked’. And we should teach by example. We should not rely on our phones or our computers or our tablets to guide us. We should find ways to enjoy things that will always be there for us, things that were there far before we set foot on this earth- the leaves on a tree or the clouds in the sky. Those are the things that used to bring joy to the people who we used to be.
The internet has us all believing that simple is ugly. That plain is boring. That life is nothing on its own. The things we go through as we age are beautiful, magical occurrences. Not everything should have to be explained or googled. Not everything has to be ‘a thing’. It can just Be. You do not need a gender reveal party or an ombre cake. Finding out the gender of your baby is already something magical and special and is one of the most amazing things you will ever get to experience. And a wedding proposal is something that should be between two people who love and cherish one another- two people who want the marriage…not the proposal or the wedding. Holding the hand of someone on bended knee with sand between your toes and the waves crashing behind you is beautiful. And important. It is not any less beautiful and important than something projected into the sky and posted on Instagram with a hashtag. Just because someone didn’t see it or ‘like’ it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. It doesn’t make it any less special because no one retweeted it.
And we need to think more. We need to think before we speak, to look in someone’s eyes when we do so, to not hide behind the keyboard when we have something to say. Those words, whether typed or spoken, have meaning and have consequences. On the other end of those words are ears, human ears, and in between those ears is a brain that can do many things with those words. We need to be more compassionate and judge less. We need to place more meaning in the simple gestures of others. But that can only happen if we, ourselves, begin to gesture more simply. Remember hearing the phone ring and not knowing who it was until he or she spoke? Remember that feeling? It was a fluttery sensation in your stomach and it cannot be manufactured. Remember getting a handwritten note from a secret admirer?
Remember hand writing?
No one has thoughts anymore. We’re too scared to be original. We look to Facebook and Twitter to see what everyone else is doing before we leap. We are scared to be sad. We are scared to feel. There are medications we can take to stop being sad, to stop feeling. Not every emotion is a happy one. That’s life. And that’s OK. We are scared to be alone. With the phone always in our back pocket, we are never alone. But what’s wrong with being alone? What’s so wrong with us that we don’t want to spend just a minute or two with ourselves. The second it gets quiet, we pull out our phones to search something. But what are we searching for? When was the last time you can say you were truly alone in your own peace and quiet? Let us allow ourselves to study that peace and quiet and discover ourselves. Let us raise our children so that if the world stopped manufacturing an internet connection tomorrow, if our phones and computers and tablets all became useless pieces of plastic, they would be OK with just their bodies, their minds and their thoughts.
Because it’s the thought that counts.
So on this Valentines Day, do something original.
I dare you.
(but if you can’t think of anything, make something of mine and be original tomorrow.)
*Follow this link to find all of my chocolate desserts to scroll through: