Category Archives: Personal

Why I don’t hate Facebook

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This post is intended as a bit of a comeback to the anti-social networking rants I keep seeing on Facebook.*  I’m writing in particular about the personal use of Facebook.  While I’ll readily admit that there are downsides to any new technology, for me, the positives of social networking sites for personal use far outweigh the negatives. So here they are:

~Personalities:  My relatives are people?!  This is probably self-evident. Yet, I (and I think a lot of us) never really thought about my elders as being actual people, with flaws, skills, opinions, triumphs, failures, and stories. Granted, I may have been better off knowing about some of the wacky political leanings of some of my loved ones, but I’m willing to know a little too much in order to know them as people.

~Distance: I can’t have dinner with my sisters, or ride the carousel with my godsons. But I can read about it later, and despite the time difference, I have conversations about what went down via comments and instant messages.

~Shyness:  I was already really shy.  Contrary to many of the anti-networking rants, the Internet didn’t make me a social recluse. I was already the chick who brings a book to weddings and ditches parties thirty minutes into the shindig. Forcing face to face contact tends to make me clam up or put on a show. By removing myself somewhat, I can relax, and ease into social interactions via written comments, messaging, etc.

~Think–>Speak (write). We all say things we don’t mean, but, at least for me, I have much more luck explaining myself, being kind, and expressing myself clearly, when I write things out. I edit them. I think about the sources of my opinions, and the context in which they’re being received by those around me. I’m sure some people really don’t think before they hit “Enter,” but I do. And I think a lot of other people do, too.

~Information changes really quickly these days. How many phone numbers do you remember now, as opposed to ten years ago? The number is probably far smaller. People get new phone numbers, addresses, email address, etc pretty often. Social networking sites let you keep in touch, advertise your new info, and make sure that you don’t accidentally leave people out.

~Photos: I have friends and loved ones who hail from countries where internet access and use isn’t as common as it is in North America. One friend, whose parents are elderly, has lived in North America for almost ten years, now. His parents don’t use the internet, and although he calls them every week, he is still in for a major shock every time he visits. Recently, he started mailing them photos of himself every once in a while, but they can’t send photos back. It makes me appreciate the photographic connection I have with my family and friends via Facebook. I see the little moments in their lives, as well as the big ones. In addition, since posting photos to Facebook has become so prevalent, my family members actually take a lot more photos! Their kids will have a better record of their childhoods, too.

~Planning: It’s not easy to sync up schedules with my big family. When I come to visit, it’s rarely for more than a week or so. Thinking of things to do, letting everyone know the whens and wheres — we use social networking sites to facilitate a LOT of this planning. Consequently, when I am in town, I actually get more face time with them than I would if this were not the case!

~Potential new friends.  It’s a pretty common story.  You meet someone new, and you think you might want to be friends.  But either: a) the contact is never made.  Maybe you didn’t get their email/phone, or you forgot for a while and then feel like it’s too late. Or, b) you succeed in making the effort (or responding to their efforts), and then realize that this person is probably not someone you want to spend a whole lotta time with.   As for me, A happens more often than B, but they’re still both pretty common.  Facebook lets me to keep up with a potential friend, to feel out whether or not we might have a connection (or a real disconnect!).  Then I can proceed at a more natural pace.  I can include them in general invites, ask them out for an activity in which we seem to share an interest, etc.

~Branch out with old friends:  I’ve been a denizen of the ‘Net for years.  Some of my closest friendships started online (some people, I’ve never even met face to face!).  However, when I started making friends online, it was because we were in the same Yahoo! Group.  Thus, our friendship was pretty much predicated on our common interest in a given topic.  Facebook has really allowed me to flesh out my friendships, and find a connection beyond our specific shared interest.

~Birthdays: Last but not least, BIRTHDAYS! I have trouble remembering my partner’s birthday, let alone those of my friends, cousins, aunts, etc. Posting a birthday wish on someone’s account is free, it’s easy, and –yep — it’s still genuine. When it’s my birthday, and my wall is filled with well wishes, I really appreciate the warm fuzzies I get. Sure, even without the help of Facebook, I know that these people care about me. That little ping on my wall sure feels great, though.

* (Is using Facebook to hate one Facebook ironic?  Or is it just self-defeating, like using Freud to discredit Freud?).

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Stuff You Missed in History Class – Mailing Address!

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Most of us would agree that the hosts of the How Stuff Works podcast, “Stuff You Missed in History Class,” are pretty fantastic.  And, they seem to get piles of postcards–and even a few care packages!–to prove it.  I mean, do you ever wonder from where the fantastic hosts of the How Stuff Works podcast, Stuff You Missed in History Class get all those postcards and packages?

A few weeks ago, I did figure out how to email SYMIHC podcasters, and I even sent them my first email! (I received a quick response, too!)  But since I’ve traveled some come pretty cool places, and their podcast has faithfully entertained me during those times, I’ve been wanting to send them a postcard forevaaah.  Finally, I just bucked up and wrote another email (I’m kinda shy), and true to form, got a sweet reply!  So here’s the info:

Holly & Tracy*
c/o How Stuff Works
One Capital City Plaza
3350 Peachtree Road NE
Suite 1500
Atlanta, GA 30326-1425
 

*Note: Holly and Tracy are the new podcast hosts.  Deblina and Sarah, pictured above, recently left to be awesome in other fields.

Don’t forget who your friends are!

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I think (and this is just my humble, non-medical opinion!) that part of having ADHD involves loneliness. I’m sure there are many reasons for this, but at least one reason is that we truly forget who our friends are. As in, we actually don’t remember them.

It might sound really contradictory, what with most of us ADHDers getting notes in our report cards reading something like “interrupts others,” or “socializes with others while trying to work.” Really though, at least for me, it can really be outta sight, outta mind with everything-even friends.

Consequently, as an adult, I’ve sat alone on far too many Friday nights, a little confused, lonely, and bored. It feels like people often enjoy my company, but where are they all? In actuality, I think the problem is two-fold. First, I actually forget the names of my friends, that they even exist, etc! Second, I tend to make acquaintances-lots of them!-who could probably become friends, but then I forget about them, and literally miss the chance to really become friends, thus leaving me with fewer friends.

The solution for me isn’t a failsafe, by any means, but it does help a little. I literally keep a list of “people I could potentially hang out with” taped to my wall. Yes. I realize that could come off as a little odd, but you’d be surprised how much it helps! That helps the first part of the problem, anyway.

For the second part of my problem, the acquaintance enigma, I use my online address book. I save someone’s email, name, and in the notes section, I make SURE to write a sentence about where I know them from and my impression of them. Ex: “Met at conference. She is in a similar field, and seems pretty fun. Has a fiancé from Bulgaria who is a Latino Studies PhD.” For this, I’d recommend Google contacts, since it syncs with any smart phone (and having ADHD, your phone can really be a great tool for keeping yourself on the sane map in this crazy world!).

Anyhow. Just a tip on how to cope. Chances are, you either have more friends than you think you do, or you have more acquaintances waiting to become friends than you even remember! People will usually feel neutral or happy about hearing that their company is wanted. So go for it!

Photo Quiet

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“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”

-Ansel Adams, American West landscape photographer, who was born on this day in 1902.

I don’t think he’s a famous ADHDer or anything, but it is a nice reminder that there are low-key ways we can express ourselves, and that we can shut up and just let it ride sometimes.

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Procrastinating on Fun Stuff?

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Sometimes (well who am I kidding? A lot of the time!) having ADHD feels like the perfect storm of creativity, procrastination, and perfectionism. I procrastinate even at stuff I like to do, or have been looking forward to doing! Wtf?!
One thing I’ve found that helps at least a little bit, a little bit of the time, is to just allow myself to take the easy way in finishing (or just progressing on) a project. Yesterday, for instance, I went ahead and ordered 250 Save the Date postcards to come to my house. That wasn’t the plan-it would have been more efficient to have sent them from the website directly to the guest. But I knew that if I had them sitting online, waiting for addresses, I’d never really get around to them. So, I ordered them to come directly to the house. That way, I can keep a bunch in my bag, and hans them out or address them at other (probably still inappropriate) times (ahem, during class!).
I was a little dismayed that I had to take that route, but hey, we’ll see if it works.

Aside

Part of having ADHD as an adult, in my experience, are the feelings of negativity. I feel as though I let people down a lot, as though I’m always on the edge of being kicked out or ruining something (whether it be personal, professional, etc), that anything good I do or achieve is just some combo of unexplainable luck, and maybe worst of all, feeling like anything related to ADHD is, at its root, just a lame excuse for not being very good at this whole human adult thing.

So, I guess I’m saying that living as a happy adult with ADHD requires a lot of FAITH, of whatever kinds. Faith that I haven’t been wasting my time for the last X number of decades, faith that I really can finish something, someday (and I don’t just mean finish living! Ha!), and faith that It is okay not to finish absolutely everything I start, that I can begin an idea and inspire other people down really cool paths of their own!

Hopefully, that faith will get me through a really hard day today (which I brought upon myself, I know).

Inspiration for Adult ADHD