Thursday Things

1. How was everyone’s Christmas/end of the year? Mine was terrible! Yay!

christmastree2018

I suppose my Christmas itself, as in the 25th of December, was just fine–nice, even. We had 100 percent family attendance at Grandma’s house for the first time since 2013! But the trip home that constituted “Christmas” in my mind was not, courtesy of a bug that swept through my family, taking no survivors. My parents had been sick the week before Christmas but felt better 48 hours or so before my siblings and I started to arrive home and Lysoled the place from floor to ceiling to make sure none of us got what they had. Despite their admirable efforts, all three of us got sick: first, my sister the morning of Christmas Eve, followed by my brother the day after Christmas, followed by me on the 28th. At least it was moderately predictable?

It took me for.ev.er. to recover. I was supposed to come back to Chicago on Friday but cancelled my train trip home due to my unwillingness to get out of bed that morning. I made it back Saturday and posted up on the couch for the remainder of that day. I stayed in bed all day Sunday (I slept for 11 hours on Sunday O.O) as well, and finally woke up fever-free and feeling moderately human on New Year’s Eve. I definitely didn’t feel good enough to go to the party I had planned to attend at some friends’ house in the suburbs (or run the three miles I wanted to run that day, boo 😦 ), though. I rang in 2019 on–where else?–the couch, with a very exciting glass of ginger ale. I felt fully human again on New Year’s Day and did incredible feats of strength like not blowing my nose every .2 seconds and eating food other than toast and saltines (because this joy of an illness impacted both my stomach and my sinuses. What a gem!).

I don’t know what on earth we all had, but it was unpleasant, to say the least. What was far more unpleasant, though, was how much it impacted the family time I had really looked forward to enjoying during the week I was home. I expected a solid week of quality time with my parents and siblings all together, and instead got a whopping one dinner of it. It left me feeling very homesick and missing all of them a lot as soon as I got home. I wish we could all have a do-over on the entire week. Since the five of us now live in four different states, Christmas is really the only time we’re all physically together, and it was a huge bummer to not have that pan out the way I hoped it would this year.

2. On a more upbeat note, I got a surprise Christmas present that will likely live on in Bethany lore as one of the best presents ever.

mizunowoodenshoesslippers-1

Those, dear readers, are wooden shoe shaped, Dutch orange, Mizuno slippers. *all of the heart-eyed emojis*

mizunowoodenshoesslippers-2

In October, my aunt, uncle, cousin, and cousin-in-law traveled to our ancestral homeland, the Netherlands, for the Amsterdam Marathon, which my uncle, cousin, and cousin-in-law all ran. While at the expo, they discovered that Mizuno was giving away these slippers with the purchase of a pair of shoes, but would also sell you the slippers on their own if you didn’t buy any Mizunos. Now, I am admittedly a ride-or-die Asics girl, but I’m more than happy to abandon my shoe brand loyalties for the sake of WOODEN SHOE SLIPPERS *more heart-eyed emojis* They check off an impressive number of Bethany’s Interests boxes for being but a humble piece of footwear (Dutch themed: check. Running themed: check. Tendency to ask for slippers for Christmas: check.), and I’ve worn them almost nonstop since Christmas. Obsessed. High five to you, Mizuno, and an even higher five to my family for thinking of me when they saw them and getting them for me.

3. Frustrated with myself by what I felt was an overconsumption of social media, I decided that I would abstain entirely from Facebook and Twitter from the time I left my apartment for Christmas until I returned to Chicago on Friday. I ended up breaking that when I stayed home an extra day, but I found the experience to be eye-opening in multiple ways.

For one thing, I was shocked by how easy it was to give up Twitter. I actually haven’t spent any “meaningful” (by which I really mean time-wasting) time on Twitter since I left for Christmas. I’ve only checked it to make sure I knew how the CTA was behaving before leaving for work, in case I’d need to alter my plans accordingly. Facebook has proved to be a harder cord to cut, but I haven’t even been tempted to scroll through Twitter, which blows my mind. I guess I’m not even half as invested in it as I thought I was.

For another thing, I was surprised to find how…boring, honestly…my phone became when I no longer allowed myself to get on Facebook and Twitter. I’d check my email, check the news, and then be like, “…well, now what can I do on here?” I think I read more of the Washington Post over Christmas than I have at any time since I started subscribing, haha. It became clear to me how much time I waste on my phone when I didn’t have access to my primary ways of wasting time. It also made it much easier to read my most recent library book (Look Alive Out There, a collection of essays by Sloane Crosley. 10/10, would recommend. It had me crying-on-the-train laughing on the way back to Chicago.)!

Based on that experience, one of my 2019 resolutions is to only use Facebook and Twitter on the weekends, unless I have a valid reason to be on there on a weekday (“valid reason” being along the lines of “a crisis is unfolding that I need to stay updated about for my own safety and well-being.” “I’m commuting” or “I’m sitting on the couch” is not a valid reason 😛 ). I’ve tried to be a lot more thoughtful about how I spend/consume things recently, and this seems to fit well into my overarching goal to be less wasteful and more conscientious.

How was your Christmas?
Did you make any resolutions for 2019?

6 thoughts on “Thursday Things

  1. Oh man, what a horrible way to spend the holiday and your one chance of the year to all be together. I am so sorry that happened 😦 I can totally get feeling homesick for the time you didn’t have!

    Those slippers are amazing! That a great gift!

    That is a good goal for social media! I agree that it’s better to have another way to waste your time, like reading (or for me lately, knitting)!

  2. I’m sorry you were sick for the holidays and missed out on family time 😦

    I don’t have Twitter (other than 6 years ago when I had one for like 2 weeks) because almost none of my friends are on it, and from what I gather, I have saved myself a lot of anxiety and information-overload these past 6 years by not getting one.

    My new year’s resolution for 2019 is actually to spend less time on the internet. Not social media, the internet. I spend an unhealthy amount of time scrolling through message boards and comments sections of FB groups I follow, to the point where I can see how it is impacting my mental health and actually making me less productive at my job (yikes). I’ve become addicted to the distraction of the internet and I can actually feel how spending more time reading crap from strangers and anonymous commenters online makes me more unhappy, judgmental, reactionary, etc. I don’t use social media or the internet as much on the weekends and on one recent weekend, I realized I feel like a completely different person on my quiet, rejuvenating weekends than I do during the week when I’m running on autopilot and addicted to the internet, and it has motivated me to make some lifestyle changes.

    I TOTALLY get what you mean about the phone suddenly becoming boring once you aren’t using it for social media. I’ve had that same sensation when I gave up social for brief periods too.

    • I think Twitter is like 5 percent useful/fulfilling and 95 percent the worst thing ever. Ha. I still don’t miss it! Even though the weekend starts this afternoon, I still don’t know that I’ll be going on.

      That’s an awesome goal, reducing overall internet time! I think that would be SO challenging for me, especially since my job has me on my computer all day. I hope it proves to be helpful for you!

  3. I’m sorry your holidays were so yucky but wow those slippers are an awesome gift!

    The only social media I have now is IG. I deleted Twitter sometime last year or the year before, when I realized I was just using it as a political echo chamber. I wasn’t contributing anything useful, and I only found useful things on it like 2% of the time, so I abruptly deleted it and have not missed it once. I stopped using FB regularly years ago (around when I started Twitter, IG, and blogging instead, I guess) but still kept it for the connections and groups that only existed on FB. I gradually used it less and less and finally deleted it a few months ago. Another thing I don’t miss! I will admit that I do my fair share of mindless scrolling on IG, possibly because it’s my only source of social media content, so rather than checking somewhere else when I’m done I just repeatedly check for new stuff, but it doesn’t annoy or overwhelm me or really bring me any negativity like the others did, so it stays. Truthfully I mainly use it like my personal photo journal, a mini blog even, and find it easier to not get caught up in what others are doing on it than I did with other social media.

    With that said, I also need to spend less time during the week on my phone, as I spend pretty too much time (like my entire lunch break) looking at stuff that’s not at all productive or even interesting.

    • I set up the iPhone Screen Time thing once it became available, and it was eye-opening, to say the LEAST, to see just how much time I’m spending on my phone every day. I’m glad that my social network part of the graph is a little smaller now, at least (though it’s definitely not on the weekends…). But I average around 4:00 of screen time PER DAY on my phone! That’s half a work day every single day! There’s no way that’s healthy.

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