Monday, November 10, 2014

People From The Past Think What You're Doing Today is Amazing

Sometimes I think about time travel, and what people who lived a hundred years ago would find most amazing and stunning about our current society.  

(I’m not sure if they would time travel here, to our time, or if we would travel there, and if I think about this too hard my brain starts to unravel—as my former husband could tell you about my efforts to follow Star Trek Next Generation episodes that involve time travel, “Ellen has a hard time with that.”)

But when I think about those people from the past coming here (or “coming now”?) I think that yes, they would be amazed by our technology, by our ability to do things like download an app to get an Uber driver to come to our house to take us to bikram yoga (just imagine explaining any part of that to a person from 1914!)

But I think that they would be even more stunned, in the long run, by how social ideals and requirements have changed for men and for women.

Just picture yourself explaining to the man from 1914 that yes, men today still have to be “good providers” if they want the top pick of today’s most desirable women, but that they also must be sensitive, intuitive, responsive to those women, and to their children, and that one of the ways they demonstrate this is NOT ONLY TO BE PRESENT DURING THE BIRTH OF THEIR CHILDREN (men from 1954 would be freaked out by this), but be present for the formation of “the birth plan.”

Just explaining that last phrase would be interesting, no? I can picture the educated man from 1914 saying, “Ummm, ‘birth plan’? Don’t they just come when they’re ready? What else can we do except make sure the ladies are heavily doped with that new invention of anesthesia?” 

(Did they have anesthesia in 1914?  The shitty thing is that now that we have Google I can just look that up, and I don’t really have any excuse for letting that detail go just for the sake of humor.  Damn you, Google! Why must your ubiquitous accuracy intrude upon my creativity?)

Let us also consider the woman from 1914, here to discover that in our time, it’s actually not quite enough for the educated woman of 2014 to raise her adorable, well-behaved children in a neat, well-decorated home.  

Even if our 2014 woman doesn’t have her own “job” or “career” (Gasp!) she is expected to make sure her adorable neat children are protected, enriched, and suitably guided to their creative passion in a way that might make our female guest from 1914 have to loosen her stays and take refuge in her smelling salts from sheer astonishment. 

(I did look those up references, and they are historically accurate.  The widespread use of corsets declined during the First World War, giving way to a new popular fashion for “controlling” women’s figures, the girdle.  I can honestly say that I haven’t “controlled" my figure in years.  I tried a pair of Spanx once, but was quickly bored and annoyed and threw them in the trash. Sorry, Sarah Blakely.  I do, however, love how you turned $5,000 from your credit card into a billion dollar business!  I think the women of 1914 and 2014 could both agree that this is pretty amazing.)

In any event, when I think of this, when I let myself really, really think about this, I find the fact that so many people, men and women, hold these high standards and much, much more, I get kinda choked up at how very, very magnificent most people are.

Really, y’all.  You blow my mind with your ardor, your complexity, your sense of duty, your willingness to take on so many different challenges.

I’m not saying we should go backward.  The fact that we have time and space to worry about things like men’s sensitivity and women’s branding platforms is, I think, on the whole, a pretty good sign.  Only, let’s be honest.  It’s a lotta balls to keep in the air sometimes.  No pun intended.

People have been predicting the end of the world pretty much since the world began, and the destruction of “civilization” (a later invention) pretty much since we got one of those going. 

And yes, many civilizations have come and gone, but “civilization” as a whole, keeps on truckin’, producing new luxury problems like: “How do I choose the appropriate social media vehicles for optimum saturation of my network marketing company while at the same time picking the right school for my special needs toddler?”  And, weirdly enough, that’s a problem that could belong to either a man or a woman of 2014.

Here’s what I hope will happen when you read these words:  I hope you’ll take a minute to acknowledge yourself for every small moment of success you had today.  

I hope you’ll find some compassion, or some humor, or some sense of your own magnificence at even daring to go out the door, into a world where Siri tells you where to go but can’t tell you how to balance your clients’ cries for attention with those of your mutinous nine-year-old who’s still really f-ing p.o.’d that she’s the only third grader that didn’t get to go to the One Direction concert last month because you were too busy.

Let us give ourselves some credit, some compassion, for being brave enough to be adults, or “adults,” during this extremely interesting time.  Is it easier than being an adult in 1914?  Sure, in some ways, absolutely.  Is it more complex, more confusing, more overwhelming than it used to be? Oh yes.  You bet your sweet yogacized ass it is. 

Some experts say that we are exposed to more new bits of information in a month than our grandparents met with in 30 years.  So you gotta figure that this additional demand on our brains shows up somewhere in our lives.

I’m sure that your life, like mine, is full of stuff you needed to get done yesterday, last year, or back in the 20th Century.  But all the same, the most powerful way to focus is to notice what you are accomplishing, whom you are loving, how you are making a difference. 

Also, if you are genuinely interested in living a less busy, more delicious, invigorating, and satisfying life, I know of no better way to make that shift than to spend time with Rachel Davis at You@The Center of Your Life.  

Even if you can't do a course right now, sign up for the newsletter, The Weekly Space, and you will notice a difference pretty quickly. You can sign up by scrolling to the bottom of the home page.

Men and Women of 2014: I bow in the general direction of your Divine Multifaceted Humanity.  Just think, no matter what your day looks like today, you are freaking the sh*t out of any people who might be visiting you secretly from the last century.