Why Do We Social Media?

One of our next-door neighbors doesn’t talk to the GalPal and me. I understand her not talking to me, but the GalPal, come on, she is as friendly as they come.

The couple who sold to us told us that would be the case, which helps not taking it personally. But man, it’s odd. Especially when Ms. NextDoor posts on-line about ordinary, face-to-face stuff. For example, this weekend she broadcasted to the whole neighborhood, plus surrounding ones I think, that her college aged sons were temporarily moving home, as well as other extended family, so she wanted everyone to know more cars will be coming and going. The kind of thing you’d say when bumping into a neighbor on a walk.

But so far, 4.5 years in, I’ve never seen her take a walk. But what do I know, maybe she has a treadmill in her crib and is running 10 miles a day. But I digress.

Alas, I prob have a log in my own eye. I just left a comment on a Facebook Group page called “Saving Guilford College”, the small Quaker liberal arts college in Greensboro, NC where I taught previously. I wrote the following in response to a post from a woman about her deceased husband, my former colleague. She wrote that when he was near death in the hospital he said, “Guilford College killed me.” That got my hackles up. So obviously a delicate sitch. You can decide for yourself how well I balanced respect for her and her family with my frustration at his lack of personal responsibility.

“I was a down-the-hall colleague of Bill’s from 93-98 (Education Studies). He was always super nice and clearly good at what he did. I’m very sorry he didn’t get to enjoy a post-work life with you and the rest of your family. However, respectfully, I don’t understand his contention that Guilford killed him. College professors have lots of autonomy over exactly how hard they work and for how long.”

Was that a wise investment of time? Did I make the world a better place by getting that off my chest? No and no, and yet, I couldn’t help myself. My excuse is I’m supposed to be reading students’ papers today which always gives rise to world class procrastinating. And yes, I’ve already vacuumed. 

Now I’m afraid to open FaceBook to see the probable backlash. What’s keeping me from quitting Facebook? 

Today’s Lecture Notes

In her last paper, a classmate of yours wrote, “From being isolated, I have transitioned from thinking ‘is my work good enough’ to ‘am I good enough’.”

  • Everyone honest sometimes question whether they’re good enough. You are good enough whether you’re capable of doing your best work right now or not. The importance of your life dwarfs the importance of your academic performance this semester.
  • Things are going to get better, and regardless of your grade point average, you’re going to make a positive difference in people’s lives.
  • We can’t improve our mental health without other’s help. The hardest thing to do is the most important. Asking for help.

Everyone Should Have A Coach And Be A Coach

Michael Lewis, the prolific and highly successful writer, is now also a great podcaster. It’s not really fair, dude has too much talent. His second season of Against the Rules is about the proliferation of coaches in North American life. Lewis tells really interesting stories exceptionally well.* And the focus is not just on athletic coaches. Give him a listen.

His stories have sparked my thinking about coaching, my idiosyncracies, and the nature of schooling.

One of my idosyncracies is that I am coach-resistant, meaning I have gone through life mostly figuring things out myself. Or not figuring them out as it may be. As just one of myriad examples, when The Good Wife wanted to go to marriage counseling, I resisted. For awhile.

Part of it is I’m too frugal for my own good, but there’s a lot more to it than that. I wonder if my reticence is rooted in my parent’s Depression era, Eastern Montana upbringing which resulted in both of them being fiercely independent. My three siblings strike me as similarly coaching adverse. I suspect it’s in my blood.

Which is too bad because I could definitely benefit from some coaching. My golf swing is close. I am the Seattle Mariners of home maintenance. I find tax and estate planning awfully complex. My cooking repertoire is limited. My online teaching skills are nascent. I could go on. And on.

On the plus side of the ledger, I have coaching-like things to offer others interested in catching mice under their house or improving their fitness, finances, relationships**, or writing.

I doubt I’m unique. Couldn’t you benefit from some intentional coaching you currently aren’t receiving and couldn’t you coach others in meaningful aspects of life too?

If all of us would benefit from receiving and providing more coaching, why do we organize schooling as a super short 13 year-long period dominated by groupings that are too large for meaningful coaching to take place?

We could do more than talk about “life-long learning” if we had better ways of finding coaches. Some type of coaching online forum, where you could both find coaches and also connect with others looking for coaching. Moneyless coaching exchanges could even be arranged. You coach me on how to cook and I coach you on how to write your family’s story.

This type of “coaching-based life-long learning” would result in a deepening of community. More simply, less loneliness.

I would make this grass roots coaching “start up” happen, if only I had a start up coach.

* Particularly excellent—the May 12, 2020 episode, “Don’t Be Good—Be Great”.

**since I’ve been to counseling

 

Being Twenty Something

A few months ago I wrote about all the challenges with “Being Twenty Right Now“. Fast forward to today, and I could add to the list.

Since writing that, I’ve heard lots of people talk about how miserable they were in their 20’s. So much so, it sounds as if people are writing off the decade. “If you can just hang on until 30,” their moto seems to be, “it gets much better.”

This idea is unfortunate. Life is way too short to write off any decade.

Being twenty something doesn’t have to be miserable. Why wait to make friends, do socially redeeming work, and build healthy habits?

Thursday Assorted Links

1. Young Americans are having less sex than ever.

Jean M. Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University, said . . . ‘First, adolescents and young adults are taking longer to grow to adulthood. This includes the postponement of not just sexual activity but also other activities related to mating and reproduction, including dating, living with a partner, pregnancy and birth.’ These reproductive trends are “part of a broader cultural trend toward delayed development,’ Twenge said, and had not occurred in isolation. ‘It is more difficult to date and engage in sexual activity when not economically independent of one’s parents.”

What about the not young?

“. . . researchers were also quick to point out that the trend of ‘growing up slowly’ did not explain why sexual activity had decreased among older and married adults, noting that ‘the growth of the internet and digital media’ could be affecting sex lives. ‘Put simply, there are now many more choices of things to do in the late evening than there once were and fewer opportunities to initiate sexual activity if both partners are engrossed in social media, electronic gaming or binge-watching,’ Twenge added.”

This sentence is pick up line gold.

“A number of health benefits have been linked to regular sex, including reduced stress, improved heart health and better sleep.”

2. Khruangbin, you had me at Thai funk.

“Khruangbin (pronounced KRUNG-bin)gets its name from a Thai word that means airplane, its members are low-key and shun the spotlight, and its music is an atmospheric collage of global subgenres, including reggae dub, surf-rock, Southeast Asian funk and Middle Eastern soul. In an era of oversized pop gloss, where the music is loud and the characters are even louder, how did a band like Khruangbin break through the din?”

Who knows, just glad they did.

3. What it’s like to be black at (Anti) Liberty University. When are Falwell’s legal beagles going to send me a cease and desist order?

A former employee confided in Ruth Graham:

“‘I suppressed so much of my humanity as a black and queer man in being here.’ He remembered being called an ‘Oreo’ to his face, being introduced as ‘the black friend,’ and being asked during Black History Month why there’s no White History Month. ‘I want to be hopeful, but until the university recognizes their past history with racism, apologizes for it, and enacts significant policy implementation from the board level, I do not foresee any changes for students or staff.'”

4. ‘The Bureau’ Is an International Hit. Why Did Its Creator Hand It Off? Starting the final season. Nervous about life after The Bureau.