Happiness on Social Media

Life has been a bit of whirlwind. Only today does it feel like the the dust has settled. And it’s a rainy, dreary, depressing day.

After the kids’ and my spring break trip to Chris’s cousins in Boston and Nantucket, I led a blogging workshop at the Indiana Writers Center and a social media workshop at Religion Communicators Council, both in Indianapolis. Then I visited family in Chicago. It was all great.

I went solo on this recent trip to Indy and Chi-town. And the adage is true: you travel faster when you travel alone. But maybe fast is not always best.

Since taking this MOOC with MIT and last week’s keynote from Daniel Sieberg (I dig Bill Aiken’s summary of Sieberg’s Keynote), I’m asking myself these questions about my social media habit:

Is social media really making me more creative and connected?

Am I using social media only to market my stuff? Or do I really want to get to know you and your stuff too?

Am I oversharing with all my blogging, tweeting, Facebragging, instagramming?

See, I bumped into a friend on the street yesterday and she asked me how my spring cleaning was going. My first response was embarrassment. How did she know I was spring cleaning? But then I remembered my joke on my FB status. I’d updated, “While spring cleaning this morning, I found $3 – who says housework doesn’t pay?”

I felt a little flattered and a little naked. Truly, I write so people will read me.

So, on one hand, I worry if no one will read me, and then, on the other, I worry if people will read my stuff and react. (I write like I dance, like no one is watching me.)

In our last MOOC session on motivation and learning, Natalie Rusk mentioned that the keys to happiness are purpose and belonging. That these lead to personal growth. Maybe social media is for the social good when it encourages all of us to belong, to be purposeful, and to grow together.

Maybe when the rain stops and the dust settles some more, I’ll figure it all out.

Until then, here’s where I market my stuff on my social media — I’ve still got room in my Writing Retreat 4/25-4/28. And I need a few more good writers to make the weekend happen. We can discuss our digital diets over a nice long, leisurely dinner together.

One hour off technology

Writing and Mothering and Listen To Your Mother

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Across from my apartment, things are starting to bloom.

Lost on Siesta Key

“On the day of the miracle…”

I got up early from our condo on the south end of Siesta Key. I decided to walk the two or three miles to Crescent Market to pick up juice and breakfast for the girls. I would walk via the beach, taking photos, meditating, cogitating, generally meandering, until I could cut over to the main drag of Siesta Key, Midnight Pass Road. So far, so good.

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I set off early and happily for a beach walk from our south end of Siesta Key condo.

I walked and snapped a few pictures with my phone. So far, so good.

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pretty sights along the way

Then the beach was interrupted by a big jetty of brown rocks. Simple enough.

Time to head to the road. There was no pathway. I walked a little this way and that, but there seemed to be no simple (or public) walkway to the road from the beach

I could see the road, but I couldn’t get to it. “Well, I’ll simply have to run across this millionaire’s lawn to get to the road,” I thought.

“But run fast,” I told myself, “these Southern folk pack heat for this very occasion — a middle-aged mother trespassing.” I picked an unoccupied mansion and I bolted across the manicured lawn, ready to dodge a bullet if necessary.

Phew, I looked back. I made it. Here I was on Midnight — What the hell! I wasn’t on Midnight Pass Road, but trapped on some private millionaires’ road. Shit. I figured I’ll have to walk back towards where I came.

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This was the first lawn I trespassed on, running across the lawn, hoping to get back to the road.

I started to get sweaty. I walked out on an abandoned dock to locate the bridge back to Midnight Pass, but there was only a wide lagoon that seemed to go on for miles. No bridge in sight. I thought for a fleeting second, Could I swim that? I thought about gators. No! I couldn’t swim it.

I continued walking back south until the road ended. I walked on a trail, clearly marked private property.

Shit. I’m lost on Siesta Key, a slip of land that I thought only had one road. I called my brother Brendan. He told me to use my phone’s GPS.

The phone told me I was just off of Sanderling Road. It told me to head north for miles. I walked back through the trail to the millionaires’ road.

There were no cars, no people, only manicured bushes, fences, walls along Sanderling road. I heard a sprinkler and thought I spotted a gardener who eyed me suspiciously. I finally saw a garbage truck headed for me. I flagged him down. But the driver couldn’t hear me over his truck and told me to go back to the beach. “There’s no way out from Sanderling road, except the way I’d come,” he said, gesturing north. “Way back there,” as if the entrance to this gates community was just a memory.

I called my brother again, getting desperate. asking for rescue. “Okay, I’ll come get you. But I don’t know if they’ll let me on the private road. I have my boat in tow.” I walked back to the beach. This time, I thought, let them shoot me. I am freely trespassing. I am flaunting my trespass. At least I’ll get out of this nightmare.

My brother called me on my phone. (I noted, my battery was running low.)

“Hey, I’m almost on Sanderling Road. But I’m stuck. The guard waved me through, but there’s a tree down in the road. See if you can walk back towards me.” Again, I trespassed. This time, through a manicured Buddha garden. I even stopped for a moment to admire the sculptured tranquility separating the empty beach from the Sanderling community.

I walked. I perspired. I was hungry. Walking north, I passed a dogwalker who wore headphones and a black tee shirt. I nodded at her (or him, I couldn’t tell). He/she ignored me.

Apparently, the only human beings on Sanderling road are the hired help and they look suspiciously at anyone they encounter.

This story ends happily. After all, I have lived to tell the story. I walked a ways. My brother eventually showed up, because they cleared the downed tree. He managed to circle around with the boat and get us off of Sanderling.

We had a beautiful day out on his boat. My getting lost on Siesta Key will become a distant memory (I hope!)

But I offer this advice to any walker on the south end of Siesta Key beach: never leave the beach, thinking you can get back on Midnight Pass Road. If you do, you may never return.

I took the first line from this post from The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, a new and brilliant novel I was reading on the beach yesterday. I add it as a prompt from today’s daily post challenge.