Thoughts on flipping from reactive to active.
The title of this post dates the hell out of me. Calling all Gen Xers! You know what I’m talking about! The Wonder Twins was a cartoon by Hannah-Barbera that first aired in 1977. It featured a pair of extraterrestrial twins that would fist bump each other at some crucial moment and shout out, “Wonder Twin Powers, Activate!” And that’s the moment when, well, their powers would activate. (Duh)
It’s a new year, and I turn into the most basic bitch ever. I’m going to eat right. Cut out sugar. Work out every day. Write every day. Cut back on drinking. Make a bazillion dollars. Typically by January 5th, I’ve plopped on the sofa drinking a large Sangria that I purchased with my last ten dollars, binge-watching Netflix. (Please see the previous post.)
I kid, to a degree. I’ve already cut back on alcohol. I work out most days anyway. And somehow managed to write an entire novel in November. But, there’s one thing I do that I know has to change. I wake up. Have coffee with my sweetie. Then on to my best-laid plans for the day, which come screeching to a halt as my habitually betraying fingers begin typing into the google bar, “FACE….” and it fills the rest in for me. Then for the next half hour, I am drug into a trance of sorts that looks like this.
Oh, look who’s having a baby! That’s so sweet. I must reply. CONGRATULATIONS!🍾👶
Then I have to overanalyze. Did I make it look like the baby is drinking champagne? Just move on, Donlyn. Move on.
Oh, a cat video! I must watch it. To whom should I send this? Definitely my daughter. Then maybe a friend. Maybe DL. No, he hates cats. But he likes my cat. But, he won’t… stop. Click send.
I better wish the birthday people a happy birthday! They’ll think I’m a snob if I don’t. Who is that guy? I have no idea who this is. Wait, I’m not wishing her a birthday. She hasn’t liked a single one of my blog posts. She can bite me.
Oh, I have to read this article. That guy’s really smart. Maybe I’ll open the tab and save it to read later. Meanwhile, twenty open tabs later.
Then, like, like, like. Sad, sad, sad. Heart hug. Heart hug. Heart hug. React, react, react. I finally snap out of my trance. I glance at the clock. How much time did I waste? At the end of the week, on Sundays, when my iPhone tells me how much time I spent on it the previous week, I cringe. I could have had my book edited in that amount of time!
When I realize I’m in my trance and wasting my time, I scream, “Wonder Twin Powers, ACTIVATE!” I had forgotten where I even heard that until today when I had to look it up. It’s my little mantra to stop going around the social media whirlwind, stop reacting, and start ACTIVATING. As in contribute. To something. Somewhere. Somehow.
I’m not saying wishing people a happy birthday or telling them congratulations isn’t a good thing. But what happens when it’s to your detriment? Here’s a little life advice. Unfortunately, it’s almost always to your detriment.
One of my other favorite things from my younger days was my race car tracks. I owned something that looked a lot like this.
I know, I was preeeeeetty cool. I could put the cars on the track and watch them go around and around and around for HOURS! Much to my mother’s delight. Then, I would snap out of my trance and realize my entire day was gone. It was super fun, just not super productive.
I feel like anytime we step into our little social media world, it’s a lot like stepping onto one of those race car tracks. We go round and round. It’s super fun. But where does it get you?
Now, when I ACTIVATE and force myself out of my social media trance, I do my best to flip the switch from reactive to proactive. So what habit can I create at that moment that will make my life better, not just bide my precious time? I’ve made a massive list of ideas. Here are a few of mine.
- Write an Atomic Betty post before I begin my workday. (Yes, I know I said I wasn’t going to write anymore. But I can’t help it. And I’m happy about that.)
- Read. I’m currently reading five books. This is my norm. But now, I’m choosing one and giving myself ten days to complete it. (Okay, maybe two. I’ll let you know how it goes.)
- Send a friend a message—call, text, email, carrier pigeon. Just somehow let someone know you think about them and care about them. My friend Karen does this for me all the time, and it makes me feel so good. I react. Now I need to act.
- Create something for my Etsy shop.
- Post an inspiring or meaningful quote. Just don’t get sucked in, dammit!
- Write in my book. Edit my book. Polish my book. Try to sell my book. (I think you are picking up on the theme here.)
- Dress up as a superhero and have a nerf battle with my significant other in my yard. And the cat.
- Go for a walk or squeeze in a short workout. I’m obsessed with Caroline Girvan on YouTube. I can leave my desk. Get a full complete workout over and done within less than an hour. Typically 45 minutes. I didn’t have to drive to the gym, and she offered all of her workouts for free. She’s changing my life, but only because I’m showing up.
I think the big thing is mindfulness. What I want to accomplish in 2022 is being more mindful of my time. I want my time to count for something. More than just being sidetracked or numbing out to social media, so I don’t have to think about difficult things. I’m good at mental escapes. But, there’s a right way to do that and a wrong way. I read an article that said when you are going down your social media rabbit hole, stop for a moment. Then really think about how you are feeling. I can honestly say that the vast majority of the time, it makes me feel worse, not better. (Unless it’s TikTok. Lord, I love some TikTok. Take my information China! Just keep me laughing.)
But I digress.
I don’t know if my alternate menu of ideas will work or not, but it seems to be. After all, I’m here right now, aren’t I? Writing a Betty post. And you know what? It feels pretty damn good.
Now, it’s your turn. ACTIVATE!