I’m thinking out loud today.
Thought I really don’t follow astrology, I am a Scorpio. And Scorpios seem to be people who feel passionately about all sorts of things. That certainly is true about me. I tend to lead with my heart, though I’m getting much better at balancing that with some wise input from my head. It’s something I’ve struggled with over the years.
Some of the things I feel passionately about I wouldn’t change for a second. Those issues and/or beliefs form the core of who I am, who I’ve become during the course of my life. I could not abandon them.
But then there are the new things or changes that I sometimes have an immediate reaction to as in “I will never do that!” These are what I call ‘absolutes.’ I’m sure Don has heard many absolutes spring forth from my lips over the years. He’s a patient guy. He simply nods in acceptance. Though, sometimes he challenges me to look at the whole thing differently, playing the part of the devil’s advocate. That’s a good thing.
One of the things I am working on is releasing my tendency to be quick to judge – whether it involves a person, a situation (which is undoubtedly more complex than I deem it to be) or something new that I tend to immediately judge and reject.
I distinctly remember when cell phones first started to become popular. My reaction at the time? “I don’t want everyone to be able to contact me at any time of the day!” I didn’t want students calling me all the time. I didn’t want someone to be able to call me when I was driving my car. I didn’t want to be ‘on call.’ So I resisted for quite a while. But when Don and I moved across the country, driving two different vehicles, we realized that we needed cell phones to communicate with each other. (We also used walkie-talkies!) And we realized that it was a good idea to have a cell phone in case of emergencies.
I’ve used various incarnations of the cell phone. Now I have an iPhone and I love it. It works well, it takes good photos, I can access my email, which is something I do most often when I’m working away from home. I can check the weather, I can listen to music when I’m sitting on a noisy train headed into the city. I don’t often use it to go online, though I know many people do. I don’t have my head buried in it, either. I use it when necessary and I love it’s convenience. It’s made a difference in my life, which is often spent away from home for weeks at a time.
Yes, I find people who talk loudly and endlessly on their cell phones annoying and rude. Yes, I shake my head at those who walk around the city with their heads downward, immersed in whatever is on their screen. As with anything, there are those who will go overboard, who will push the boundaries of polite behavior. But that doesn’t mean I have to. It’s possible to have and use a cell phone without automatically plunging into the abyss.
My ‘absolute’ changed.
Similarly…the Kindle. If you search this blog I know that you’ll find some posts where I said I would absolutely never get an eReader. No way! I am a book lover and my love of the real deal, the three dimensional kind, is well documented, in life and on this blog.
Then, last Christmas, my husband mentioned that he wanted a Kindle Paperwhite. Okay. I researched it and found it to be intriguing. I thought about the demands of my life. Weeks spent away from home, a need to have lots of books on hand to read, not to mention the fact that I review books and many of them are easily downloaded as eGalleys/Review Copies. Oh, and I have a LOT of books and limited space in which to store them. The Paperwhite was sounding more and more intriguing. Much to my surprise, I asked Don to buy me one for Christmas!
I learned another valuable lesson. You can exist in both worlds. One doesn’t cancel out the other. There doesn’t have to be an ‘absolute.’ You’ve only to read the book blog or this blog to know how many hardcover and paperback books I buy. The quick answer? A lot.
But I also give away a lot of books because I have no room on my shelves for them.
The eReader gives me the chance to download several books if I’m going away to Hartford, for example, to work for five weeks. (I might add that at the same time I’m in Hartford, I also check out books from Hartford’s library – the three-dimensional kind.) The Kindle gives me access to lots of free books, especially classics. I use the Kindle to download review copies from various sources. It’s been invaluable in discovering new authors to review on Just Let Me Finish This Page and in reviewing books for this blog, as well.
I’ve found that my ‘absolute’ really doesn’t hold water. For me, clinging to that absolute would have narrowed the range of possibilities for me as a reader and book reviewer. Ultimately, it wouldn’t have served me well.
So I happily say, and did say on this blog, that I was wrong. Using an eReader didn’t mean I was abandoning hardcover/paperback books. If anything, I’ve purchased more than ever. I check books out from my local library. Sometimes I love the Kindle/eGalley version of a book so much that I purchase it in hardcover because I want it in my permanent collection.
Despite what some studies have stated, I retain just as much when I read an eBook as I do when I read a three-dimensional book. And, I can get a book immediately, if I so choose.
No abyss. Just, for me, a nicely workable balance between two different methods of reading.
Same thing with blogging, which is ever changing. I can adapt to some of those changes and, at the same time, retain the integrity of my blog. And I can certainly choose the things I want to embrace and reject those things that aren’t right for me. I’ve made a choice recently to accept the fact that there are all sorts of ways in which to blog and that the variety out there means there is something for everybody. It just adds spice to the blog stew and that’s a good thing. I’m letting go of those judgments. And really, what makes me think I have all the expertise and wisdom on any subject? Short answer: I don’t.
Some absolutes need to be re-examined. I find I’m doing that more often.
Heck, I once held an absolute that stated: “I will never get married. I don’t want to lose my independence. I need my alone time. Spending that much time with anyone would either bore me or drive me out of my mind.”
Thankfully, I smacked myself upside the head and re-examined that one when I met Don. I haven’t lost my independence. I do get my alone time. But here’s the thing: I’ve found that being with Don is my favorite place to be. I’m never bored. And if I go out of my mind, it’s not due to Don.
You can have the best of both worlds. One doesn’t negate the other.
Oh, the lessons I keep on learning.
New post up on Just Let Me Finish This Page.