Time is such a gift

Time is money (not to be wasted), it’s true, but it’s also an opportunity to grab hold of and build the life you really want to live.

Every year, this time of year, Nathan and I do some holistic life planning. For the last six years, that’s included huge infrastructure and business model management for both Community Farmers Market and our farm. This year, as things seemed settled a bit we’ve been able to really dig into other areas of our lives. When we first sat down with the list there was very little I felt like I could cut out. We live a fairly simple, minimalistic life (for a full-time farming family of seven).  To my surprise, Nathan suggested that he take on social media for the year, he’d enjoy it even.  Just like that, it was settled, I’d take a year-long break from social media.  And then it sunk in, I’d take a year-long break from social media.  Was I crazy?

How would that work?  Would everyone forget me?  Have I joined the ranks of all the annoying, “I’m leaving social media” hoops & hollars?

And then…I began asking myself how in the world would I spend my time?

TIME.  It’s such a gift really.  Worthy of our careful thought and reflection.

In the moment time doesn’t seem so critical.  It’s easy to breeze over the most important moments in life.  The ones we will wish we could see, feel & smell in our final days.  It’s true the days are long and the years are short.  How do we make amends with that and gain at least a bit of control over our lives?  I’m determined to find out.

Photo:  Kendal Warner

It’ didn’t take me long to realize that while social media is an excellent resource it can quickly become the one resource, our only tool.  As a wife, mother, farmer, contributor to my community I’ve become interested in all the OTHER ways we might spend our time in order to check in, express ourselves, connect with one another and receive our daily news and information.  While I fully expect to be back on social media in 2019 I do plan to dive head-on into a world I’ve forgotten over the last couple years.

Regular Checking In

There’s something reassuring about a regular checking into something outside of ourselves. Social media has provided that for me for years. I check in, then go about life for a while, and then check back in. It’s consistent, always there. As I’ve spent time in contemplative prayer and after my visit to the Abbey of Gethsemani I’ve come to appreciate the flow of the bell every three hours followed by prayer. I can even see the reflection of that social media has provided me in the past. For the following year, we will be installing an automatic bell system that will ring every three hours simply reminding us to be silent, pray, offer thanks, express gratitude. There’s something exceptionally holy about pausing, allowing God to be the distraction, rather than praying only on a whim or when it feels good.

Self Expression

I’m a creative.  I am able to best process my life and work through the expression of the experience. Photographs and the written word make me feel alive.  I’ve loved the iPhone (although I’ve always borrowed Nathan’s, never owned one myself), but I’ve missed having high quality, high-resolution photos that could be used outside social media.  I am planning on using a REAL camera in 2018 and that’s made me excited in new ways.  I’ve also found that as I scroll through facebook memories I tend to repeat myself.  What I’m saying now I said last year and the four years before that.  I’m excited to see Nathan express his viewpoint from the farm, but I’m also excited about digging into my writing in different ways.  Social media feels like fast food or a snack compared to the full meal of a well-written article or blog post.  I’ll be sending a monthly {Note from the Farm} with carefully crafted words that I hope others find uplifting and encouraging.

Connecting

As a mother of four kids under the age of six social media provided a platform for me that couldn’t be matched.  Everyone I knew was joining facebook first, Instagram second.  It was the best way to stay connected to close family and friends while connecting with NEW like-minded folks.  People would sit down at a computer and write out well thought out posts, editing as necessary for content, voice, unnecessary strife.  Over time as folks went to phone and iPad for interaction expression and editing were lost.  Aggression increased.  It affected my ability to serve mothers as well as I would have liked and it’s made the current political environment tenser.  Connecting to one another seems more disjointed in a space once fluid and easy going.

Marketing Our Farm

As Nathan and I made the leap to full-time farming we depended on social media to get the word out and connect with our consumers.  We plan to continue that as Nathan takes over the Need More Acres social media page, but now more than ever I believe that small-scale businesses need to be looking at other ways to make real connections.  Always one to accept a challenge I’m looking forward to it.  Thinking about ways that I can engage my community, connect with people in real life more authentically and enter uncharted territories.  I’m hopeful, optimistic just like I was when I first stepped foot on the social media platform.  I’ll make sure to share what I learn along the way.

Daily News

What might most represent this new approach to time is how I plan to get my news.  Let me make a confession.  Nearly all my news has started on social media.  While I skim past and ignore most of it I’ve not really made an intentional effort to consume news in a better way.  In the coming year, I’m gifting our family a daily, in print newspaper.  My plan is to make good use of extra time saved up from social media and invest it in sitting down to the table with a newspaper in hand.  Reading through it with my children and engaging them in conversations about ways we can best serve one another, our community and the world.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I spent my time before social media.  I’ve gained a lot, for certain, but there are bits and pieces of that previous life that I look forward to reconnecting with.  I’ve also got this feeling that there’s something new, right there on the horizon, calling us to add value to our time in ways we’ve lost.  I’m in such a need for a change that I’m willing to take a bet on it.

If for even a minute you think, I’ll miss her, I love her writing, I want to know more about what her life of healing feels and looks like please reach out.  Connect with me.  Text 270-799-5563.  Email michelle.lifeisgood@gmail.com.  Visit the farm.  Invite me to your event or speaking engagement.  This isn’t a loss.  It’s an invitation to something even better, I’m certain of it.  Love & light friends, love & light.

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