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Treasure dad on Father's Day

Strong and Tender – Modern Fatherhood at Its Best

The breadwinner, the disciplinarian, the guy who wrestles with sons and dotes on daughters – this is likely what comes to mind when you think of fathers. The traditional role has been one of supporter and teacher, but today fathers are allowed and encouraged to be so much more. Look at your family and around your local community and you’ll see fathers taking a far more active role. Look around and you’ll find a treasure in these men.

It’s a New World

Modern-day dads change diapers, take care of midnight feedings, cook dinners, and carpool kids. Dads are the trustworthy guide through the challenging parts of childhood and the teen years. They are the guys in your local community coaching the kids sports teams and volunteering at local charity events. They are no longer just the guy who works hard at the office all day to feed his family.

Not all men are comfortable with this new, softer side of fatherhood. They may be reticent to fix their daughter’s hair, to cry at a sad movie in front of their kids, or to step outside of the traditional role and help clean the house. But as new generations of dads are born I imagine that “being manly” will become more about stepping up in any capacity that’s needed. They are the unsung heroes in many lives and increasingly are becoming an inspiration for defining fatherhood for future generations.

Creating a Bond That’s Out of This World

My husband lost his father at an early age and it had a huge impact on who he is today. He made a vow to himself to be an involved, loving father – to never let his child miss him even if he was still living. He has more than succeeded. The relationship he has with our son is filled with laughter and includes lots of time spent doing the things they both enjoy. It’s also filled with great trust, honest discussion, and genuine expressions of love. There is no fear in either of them about hugging and saying “I love you.” It fills me with joy to watch them together and to know that my son is learning to be a good person, a good man, and one day a good husband and father.

Give Them the World

This Father’s Day, look around your local community for the unsung heroes of parenthood, see the fathers in your family and view them all in a different light. Not just as the strong and trustworthy financial provider but also as the necessary compliment to mothers. Treasure them as the one who provides strength that comes from a place of love, and discipline that comes from a place of tenderness and caring. No matter how much they may try to hide it, dads are all just those little boys who may have wanted something more from their fathers, like time, attention, approval, or love. Know they are strong but give them permission to be softer. Love them regardless.


About the Writer: Brenda has lived in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia for most of her life. Her background as a reporter and news anchor for a local program fed her interest in writing on varied subjects.
She also enjoys spending time with her family, painting watercolors, playing on a tennis team, and traveling whenever possible.
Brenda H.

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Jump in

Jump In, The Water’s Fine – The Risk /Reward Experiment

It’s that nagging voice in your head that holds you back. It’s the thought that something big has to happen in order to feel truly alive. It’s the fear that you’ll never accomplish a dream. Taking chances and making things happen doesn’t always feel like an easy thing to do. But actually it can be. You just might have to make small changes to reach your destination.

Hesitation

Getting a job, meeting someone to spend your life with, traveling to far-away places – there are people who seem to do these things with ease. Some people feel comfortable throwing themselves into new adventures, others don’t. But anyone can accomplish what’s in their heart. Knowing what you want and setting a goal is a place to start, but don’t lose sight of the smaller, less obvious things you can do to work towards your goal.

  • Wake up each day feeling as though you can.
  • Change something in your routine and learn to embrace disruption or change.
  • Put yourself in uncomfortable situation.

Time to Overcome

Growing up I was incredibly quiet and shy and didn’t want to be noticed. As I got older, I realized my fears were affecting my ability to participate in life, it was impacting my personal growth. I wasn’t challenged in my job but had no confidence that I could do anything else. Knowing I had to push myself, I vowed to make small changes. I began with having conversations with strangers I encountered, I explored my area and ate in new restaurants, and I started singing to myself – very loudly – in spite of the fact that my upstairs neighbors might hear. Anything to push me out of my routine and comfortable place.

Then I took a real risk by signing up for a local adult education course in theater. There’s nothing more terrifying for a shy person than to stand up in front of others and perform a scene. Turns out it was scary and it was fun at the same time. I auditioned for some plays at a community theater and performed on stage in front of real audiences, accomplishing something I never thought I could do. The next step was going back to school to study journalism and eventually I landed a new job. It was a long way from being shy to reporting on camera and ultimately anchoring a newscast, but I made it. I threw a rock into the calm water and started a ripple that carried me to a new life.

Dive In

What are you afraid of? Do you have a dream that seems too big? The hardest thing may be determining how to accomplish the things in life you desire. But your personal growth won’t happen on it’s own. Drop a pebble into the water and let the ripple begin. Soon you may create a wave of change that sweeps you into a wonderful place. Don’t leave the water stagnant – take a risk, accomplish a dream, or simply live a more fulfilling existence.


About the Writer: Brenda has lived in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia for most of her life. Her background as a reporter and news anchor for a local program fed her interest in writing on varied subjects.

She also enjoys spending time with her family, painting watercolors, playing on a tennis team, and traveling whenever possible.

Brenda H.

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Face your fears with action

Face Your Fears With Action

What is fear? We can ask many people the same question and get different answers. However, one thing fear definitely shows us is that it is all in your head.  If we think of our childhood, did the ghost in our closet ever come out? For one moment, remember the worst times that you’ve felt fear. Did that plane crash? Did that dog bite? Did the boogie man come out from under your bed? Fear means false evidence appearing real.  It’s all in your head. Or is it? Let me explain.

I have gone to different countries without knowing the language, the culture, or even how to get to my hotel. I cannot even ask for directions because I do not speak the language that I need to ask the directions in.Sometimes, I learn how to ask for directions only to not understand the answer. At this moment, fear has a way of creeping in. I start to panic until I realize that these are just thoughts and there is not any logic to them.  Surely, I will find that hotel eventually.  The worst case scenario even when I do not speak the language is writing the address down and catching a taxi—something I have done many times.  My fear is not logical.  It is just panic and fear of the unknown at that moment in time.  It is not a logical thought to think that I will never find my hotel and I will have to sleep on a park bench somewhere.

But what if what we fear has happened?  If you know me, I have a dog phobia.  As a child, I fell asleep at a friends house and they put me to bed.  I must have been three or four years old.  When I woke up, maybe the dog was startled or maybe it was upset that I was sleeping on its owners bed.  The dog did bite me and as a young child that experience stuck with me.  I learned that dogs were unpredictable and unsafe.  It is a fear that I am consciously working on.  The truth is dogs do bite sometimes.  I know because it happened to me.  So how do I deal with this fear that totally makes sense?  I replace the fear with constant action.

Don't panic

The USA has strict laws that require dogs to be on a leash.  However, this is not the case in other countries.  In Paris, I was once in a phone booth for a good 30 minutes because there was a dog that decided to take a nap right next to the phone booth. It was not until I got to Thailand where I faced my fear directly. There are dogs everywhere in Thailand without a leash and just laying around all over the streets. I did not have a phone booth to hide in.  I had to walk everywhere so I did not have a choice but to replace my fear with action.  I calmed my thoughts that every dog out there is out to bite me.  As I walked to my hotel one night I must have run into half a dozen dogs.  Here it was, the moment of truth. One dog looked at me as I passed by and could not have been more disinterested in my presence. I giggled at that moment because I realized that my fear was not justified.  Most of these dogs are so accustomed to taking long naps under that hot Thailand sun that they do not have any interest in coming to you.  If anything, some of them are even more scared of you than you are of them.  It occurred to me that these dogs may be abused and the only desire they have is to be left alone. It was not until I replaced my fear with action that I started to realize that my thoughts are just words taking up space in my head. I can acknowledge my fear and its existence but I can just as easily replace them with new thoughts and ideas.  My dog phobia is something I deal with but I remind myself that unless I take action to finally heal this phobia—the fear is still controlling me. An episode that happened in my childhood still has power over me until this day.

I will never forget a blind man with a dog that could tell that I was afraid of it.  He asked me what had happened to me that I was so hesitant with his dog.  He must have had that sixth sense and could tell I was afraid of it even though he could not see me.  When I told him my childhood story his answer was ¨How old are you now?  You are STILL holding on to something that happened decades ago?  Let it go.¨

Thanks to that gentleman I noticed that he was right.  It seems we hold on to negative experiences a lot longer than the positive ones.  Surely, over all those decades I have been around dogs that never bit me 99% of the times.  Even though I had evidence that dogs can bite, I had more than enough evidence that most do not.  I learned that it is true that fear is false evidence appearing real. As for my travel adventures, I have never spent a night on a park bench and I have never been bitten by a dog again since that episode as a child. The only way to take the power of fear from controlling us is by replacing it with the actions we are most afraid of.  We must say hello to fear, accept its presence and then tell it to go on its way.  Trust that all will ultimately be well and you deserve the joy and peace that comes from moving beyond all of your fears.  You must choose to take action through your fears instead of always allowing yourself to feel helpless by it.  You have the ultimate power to choose your ultimate path.

Elaine Mercedes Mendoza is a writer, speaker, traveler and foodie who uplifts our world one word at a time. She is passionate about travel and shares her experiences on www.finallyelaine.com. You can also follow her along on Facebook.

Elaine Mercedes Mendoza

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Cavemen do it. You should too

Cavemen Did It – Why You Should Too

I know people who meet friends every week at the same place for dinner. It’s a local destination that they admit doesn’t have the best food – it’s just ok. But that’s not what they go for. It doesn’t serve the kind of food that makes you feel good about eating healthy, it’s more the type that you keep eating in spite of the calories, the fat, and the lack of nutrients. Also, the ambiance is a bit cheesy. So why has it become a tradition? I have joined them on many occasions and I can tell you it isn’t just about the food. It’s about what happens there.

 

There’s More Than the Menu

Because they have been going to this restaurant for so long, the wait staff knows them well and they are treated like special guests. The food seems to come just a little bit faster, the drinks are a little bit stronger, and the interaction is more personal and pleasant without being invasive. Yet it’s more than that. It’s the simple act of joining together with friends to share a meal and doing it with regularity that creates a family – meal feeling. It’s the creation of a tradition – that’s the real draw.

 

Serving Up a Connection

Sharing food, whether it’s at a local destination or in a home, is an event that brings people closer together. Meeting for coffee or gathering in the park isn’t quite the same. Sitting at the table and eating together – the traditional breaking bread – is what makes it a bonding experience. Passing platters, sampling appetizers, and sharing food has an effect on everyone.

Are you the type of person who doesn’t want anyone touching your food, or asking for a taste? Are you a food protector? Perhaps you could use a lesson from your ancestors and learn to let go.

 

It’s Primitive

In the days of early man, food fresh from a kill had to be shared. This type of communal dining facilitated cooperation amongst the participants. People worked together to hunt and prepare the food and learned to take only their fair share, no more. There was the unspoken connection of having tasted the same thing and the comfort of feeling satiated like those around you.

 

It Makes Your Better, Really

There is also evidence that sharing a meal with others increases altruism. Yes, it actually makes you a kinder person. Eating family style prompts an awareness of your behavior. Will most people eat what’s been ordered? How much should you take? Passing a platter and monitoring your personal intake makes you more aware of others and their needs. It’s also fun.

Not many restaurants are family style, but many offer “sharable moments” that allow everyone to try a taste of what’s ordered. If you’re eating healthy, and you’re sharing, you’ve accomplished two of the most important things your mother likely taught you. You’re also doing yourself a favor emotionally.

Whether you gather in someone’s home or meet at a restaurant that’s a favorite local destination, enjoy the bonding of a shared meal. Pass the plates, share the food, and talk with each other. You’ll be glad you did.


Sources:
How Sharing Food Makes You a Better Person


About the Writer: Brenda has lived in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia for most of her life. Her background as a reporter and news anchor for a local program fed her interest in writing on varied subjects.
She also enjoys spending time with her family, painting watercolors, playing on a tennis team, and traveling whenever possible.
Brenda H.

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Swimming Pigs

Swimming Pigs and Lobster Dinners

When one becomes a traveler, the desire to seek unique experiences can lead you to some unusual places. The act of traveling can put you in touch with interesting people, strange customs, different local foods, and some pretty amazing adventures. Sometimes it even brings you face-to-face with farm life run amok.
A very recent trip to the Exumas, a chain of small islands in the Bahamas, landed us in an environment so beautiful and peaceful that it seemed this couldn’t possibly be one of the  trips mentioned above. But then again, one should never make assumptions.

 

Taking a Chance

In spite of a love of travel, I am a fearful flyer, so the 9-passenger plane that brought us to our tiny island nearly did me in. Once ensconced in our cottage on the 2-square-mile island, my heart-rate slowed and the stunning crystal blue waters calmed me. Perhaps the quarters without televisions, phones, or any of the usual trappings of daily life, would set the pace for a quiet time. This would likely be an uneventful tour of the white sand beaches that dotted the islands around us.

 

Yeah, When Pigs Fly… Or…

Think again. Never assume. While the overall vibe was very chill, there was an undercurrent of excitement about what a traveler could discover here. Maps showing a grotto made famous in the James Bond  movie “Thunderball” for snorkeling, an island populated with various species of iguanas, and a menu that boasted some fresh local food hinted at the tour that was to come.  This tour was going to take us to a place that had perhaps the most unusual experience of all.

Swimming pigs. Yes, pigs that swim. A boat ride to Big Major Cay brought us to a beautiful beach populated with swine paddlers aggressively looking for food scraps. Good thing we brought some!  Pigs of various sizes swam to the boat – one even tried to climb in – and we spent a few moments tossing bread into the water for them. Once we landed on the beach, we walked amongst the pigs, saw their tiny babies sleeping in the sand, and were even chased by some who thought we still had food. It was definitely not your average day at the beach.  As a traveler, I love when things aren’t typical – this experience definitely qualified.

 

Is This For Real?

Using a hand-drawn map, we carefully navigated the shallows between cays to reach other stops where we could see iguanas, climb on rocks and cliffs, scour sandbars for starfish, and snorkel in some of the clearest turquoise water you’ve ever seen. There was a feeling of connection between us and the water, the land, and the sky. The wide open views and the simplicity of it all was breathtaking.

 

Making a Connection

Coated in salt water, sand, and sunscreen, we landed back at our cottages to enjoy some down time. Memories of our swine friends and their lizard-island neighbors lingered as the sounds of reggae floated through the air. The lack of an agenda allowed for cold beverages and conversation with locals that gathered nightly in the restaurant bar. There was talk of this place being the “real Bahamas” along with stories of how this particular island was settled. It currently boasts less than a hundred full-time residents who are so welcoming – that, in the moment, we felt we could be included in that number.

Then it was off to dinner where the local food that is most plentiful, conch and lobster, appeared nightly. Oh to enjoy the fresh taste of something we don’t eat at home! The conch fritters were formed and fried like a giant hush puppy or lightly battered and served with a tangy sauce. Bahamian lobsters, served simply with drawn butter, have no claws – perhaps a fitting representation of the gentleness of the place and the people.

Full and tired, but ready for another day’s adventure and another tour of low-lying cays and sparkling clear waters awaited us. So we slept the kind of sleep that only comes when there is no stress and no worries – only magical thoughts of fish swimming in grottos and pigs swimming by our side. No we weren’t dreaming – it was real. A unique adventure that was truly a gift.

Think again. Never assume. Take a chance.


About the Writer: Brenda has lived in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia for most of her life. Her background as a reporter and news anchor for a local program fed her interest in writing on varied subjects.
She also enjoys spending time with her family, painting watercolors, playing on a tennis team, and traveling whenever possible.
Brenda H.

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Treasure Your Mother

Treasured From the First Moment – The Bond of a Lifetime

Her voice fills my head and her advice and encouragement guides me daily. A sense of warmth floods me when I think of her – she is a treasure. She is my mother. What can I say? Always my trustworthy champion. The one person who knows me better than anyone else. She is love.

My mother is still with me, living nearby, so I am able to experience her generosity of spirit, her laugh, her smiling eyes and her wisdom. I am fortunate. I can tell her how much I love her as often as possible and wrap my arms around her and give a gentle squeeze.  I treasure her with all of my heart. But how can I ever explain to her how much she means to me? How can I help her to understand that she has been the single most influential part of my life? I say the words, but is it enough?

She knows.

Mother’s have a sixth-sense about their children. I know this. I too, am a mother. My son is nearly 13, but he still hugs me and says “I love you”. I know he means it in his own, young boy way. That fills me with a sense of peace, joy, thrilling happiness – you name it. I am fortunate.

 Not everyone still has their mother, even if they do, not everyone has a close relationship with them. Yet it’s hard to deny that we should treasure the mere fact that our mothers brought us into this world and raised us to the best of their ability. As a species, humans stay with their mothers longer than any other animal. It makes us who we are. Some may get many years with their mother, others may not get enough time. But there’s no denying the bond that is created regardless of the experience. More powerful and natural than any other, the mother bond is a force that should never be taken for granted, or dismissed.

The relationship should be celebrated in some way, not necessarily with fanfare but confirmed none-the-less. One day isn’t enough. It should be treasured daily with thoughts and actions. It should be honored with kind words and understanding – with forgiveness.

Cards, flowers, and gifts are nice. Any gesture is greatly appreciated by moms – I know this. But perhaps the best way to show your mom that you treasure, appreciate, or simply acknowledge her role, is to be a good child. It is to be a good mother.

Hear her voice, listen to her advice, and look for the signs of her encouragement. Be the voice, the trustworthy teacher, the encourager without expectation. That is the cycle of love. That is motherhood.


About the Writer: Brenda has lived in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia for most of her life. Her background as a reporter and news anchor for a local program fed her interest in writing on varied subjects.
She also enjoys spending time with her family, painting watercolors, playing on a tennis team, and traveling whenever possible.
Brenda H.

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What do you give with passion without expecting anything in return?

What do you give? Do you do it with passion?

We live in a world that is always looking for something. When I lived in New York City, the joke always was that you are always doing at least one of three things in the city that never sleeps. Sometimes, even all at the same time.

The three things are:
#1 You are looking for your next apartment.
#2 You are looking for your next job.
#3 You are looking for true love.

It is always something isn’t it?

Every day we work to “get” paid. We “get” in our cars to “get” to work. Let’s not forget the networking event to “get” noticed. After we “get” noticed perhaps we will “get” that promotion. After we leave work we “get” groceries or “get” take-out.

Let’s shift that thought for a second. What do you give? What is it about you that you are freely sharing with this world? What is it about you that brings something valuable to the world? Do you volunteer for a cause you are passionate about? Do you paint because it brings you joy and happiness? Do you write? Do you sing? Do you dance?

Recently, I was in Paris over the Thanksgiving holiday and I did a walking tour of Montmartre. During this tour, a sentence that the tour guide said caught my attention as if he was yelling it to my spirit. “Van Gogh did not see his success. He died before he became an International well-known painter.” After researching his life, I learned that while he was alive he only sold one painting. One. That’s it. The painting is now at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow and it’s called “Red Vineyard at Arles.” His other paintings that are well over 900 were not made famous until after his death. I am so happy that Van Gogh didn’t say, “I should really make some money and stop painting. Maybe I should go get a real job.” Imagine, what a loss that would have been to our world.

What does this teach us? While Van Gogh was a gifted artist, there is something special in everyone. There is a gift we can GIVE to the world. What are you giving without expectation? The Van Gogh story is not just about achievement, success, and the millions of dollars that his art is worth after his death. After all, in life Van Gogh died broke and without an ear. If we look a little closer, the message behind this story was that he HAD to paint. He did it freely with no expectations because he just couldn’t stop painting. What inside of you HAS to happen? What do you HAVE to give? Inside of you there is a Van Gogh.

Let’s change the conversation from what can we “get” out of this situation to what can we give. Our world would definitely be a happier and more peaceful place if we share what we MUST without any expectation of money, fame, or recognition.

In the words of Vincent Van Gogh: “Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you were put on Earth to do with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.” What do you do/give with passion?

Elaine Mercedes Mendoza is a writer, speaker, traveler and foodie who uplifts our world one word at a time. She is passionate about travel and shares her experiences on www.finallyelaine.com. You can also follow her along on Facebook.

Elaine Mercedes Mendoza

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Love the earth and your community

Planet Earth – A Love Story

Abundance, beauty, sustenance, and life – our planet is a miracle. Each year we celebrate Earth Day as a reminder that our home is in our care. There’s a delicate balance to the systems and there’s a limited supply of many resources yet we continue to deplete and destroy rather than treasure her.. It would take a lot to accomplish the reversal of all the damage done to our planet, but if we begin in our own community and establish new practices we can truly make a difference. We can show the planet some love.

Earth Lovers

People who are passionate about the environment are often referred to as tree-huggers. They love nature, and honestly, what’s not to love? I’d rather hug a tree than a barren patch of ground. It’s definitely a challenge to feel that your small efforts could help make the planet healthy, but there’s no risk in trying. We all know the sentiment that if everyone did a little, it would add up to a lot. Cliché? Maybe. True? Definitely.

Basic Commitment

We don’t want to throw anyone into chaining themselves to a tree in a standoff with a bulldozer if that’s not your level of commitment, but you can still accomplish a lot in your own community by taking small steps. Walk or take public transportation, carry reusable bags to the store, and re-purpose items as often as possible. Recycle electronics and use water efficiently. Consume products that are healthy and aren’t loaded with chemicals. You may have heard calls to action on most of these items over and over again, but do you make the effort to incorporate them as regular practices? These are what I consider the ‘beginner level’ of Earth-friendly practices that anyone can achieve.

Becoming an Activist

Then there’s the community-activist level, where deeper change can be accomplished. Learn about various legislation that seeks to undermine environmental protections and then work to oppose it. Boycott companies that repeatedly violate existing laws designed to protect the environment. Start programs in your community aimed at educating your neighbors about earth-friendly practices and promote acting on them.

Educating

In this world of quick “news” aimed at entertaining us it’s hard to encourage people to research what’s happening to the ecosystems on this planet or uncover the real impact of the chemicals we eat and breathe. But if we want to keep both ourselves and our planet healthy so that it can continue to provide for us, something must be done. We must dig deeper. Our planet is a treasure and we should treat it as such.

Taking Responsibility

I know I could do a better job of personally following these principles. It’s tough to step out of a warm shower in winter, or to turn off the water as you brush your teeth, wash dishes, or clean your body. If you live in an area where everything is a car ride away, walking isn’t an option. But turning a faucet off or combining trips and creating errand carpools with a friend is a small price to pay for a healthy planet.

A community that engages in these practices will accomplish something. People who engage in a higher level of commitment will accomplish more. It’s your choice. But remember, Earth is a giver, shouldn’t we start giving back before there’s nothing left? Shouldn’t we treasure her and show her some love?

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Selfie sticks

The Sharks Won’t Bite if You Don’t Take a Selfie

You have probably heard this question – “What killed more people than shark attacks last year?” I laughed heartily when I heard the the answer: selfie-sticks. Yes, apparently more people died snapping a photo of themselves than were eaten by Jaws. That got me thinking about how much of our experiences are lived through a lens and how much of our time is spent with our faces in our phones. Wouldn’t we have a more complete experience if we weren’t in a hurry to take pictures of everything rather than let our curious eyes and minds soak in what’s around us? We would apparently be safer as well.

I am all in favor of capturing life’s special moments in photos to be enjoyed at a later time – reliving rich experiences is enjoyable. But it seems as though many people are snapping selfies to show everyone where they’ve been without really discovering what the place is all about. They click and move on in a hurry. Selfies have their place – they can be fun. But honestly, do we really need to memorialize the moment we ran into a friend in the restroom of some unexpected place?

Living Through a Lens

Countless times I have been enjoying a glorious view or listening to the ambient sounds at a destination only to look around at others who have their faces in their phones eagerly awaiting the likes, comments, and retweets of the selfies they just posted. Are we really so obsessed with impressing others that we prefer to live our lives through a lens rather than our own curious eyes? This “hey, look at me” type of attitude is prevalent and, in some ways, is killing the experience. Can we simply taste the food, enjoy the view, learn the history, or listen to the music without having to capture it all in a series of shots and videos to post on social media?

Yes, it’s a sign of the times, it’s what people do. But in the midst of living our lives through a lens and feeling special because people respond to our parade of check-ins and posts, isn’t there something more? Is it possible to set the screen aside and see what’s really in front of us?

How to Enjoy

It’s simple. Learn about the places you visit, explore all aspects, and take a moment to make a mental and visual note of what you’re seeing. Pause and think about where you are. Memories of these things will come flooding back when you want them. Desire a photo of you in front of a special site? Ask someone to do it for you so you can actually capture the view, not just your face.

Living a Fantasy

When the obsession to capture ourselves in a photo includes rude or inappropriate behavior, then it really has gone wrong. When visiting New York City last year I spent some time at the 9/11 memorial. It was a place that inspired a serene and thoughtful demeanor in nearly all of the visitors. But in the midst of this somber moment there was a group of young girls giggling and snapping sassy selfies in front of the reflection pools. Had I not cared about the consequences of my actions, I would have liked to give them a shove. I could envision their duck pouts turning to looks of astonishment as they, as well as their phone and selfie stick, tumbled slowly into the water below. If only there were sharks in the pools it would have made my fantasy a more complete experience.