Slip Sliding Away

I called my Mom the other day to wish her a Happy New Year and pointed out that I really don’t know what happened to 2014. A million memories were made and mostly good ones but when I try to look back on the year it seems as if the DVR is stuck on fast forward. My Mom said she felt the same way and that multiple people had expressed a similar feeling to her. Maybe it’s the way the stars and planets were aligned this past year or maybe it’s just a coincidence that a lot of people felt that this year passed particularly quickly. No matter what the common factor is, I can only look at myself and try to figure out why my DVR is stuck on the fast forward button. The funny thing is that this whole DVR analogy is part of the problem as I feel that I spent too much time watching TV, flipping through shows, making them a part of my weekly schedule and my daily routine. It’s easy after a long day of work to kick off the shoes, put on some sweatpants and put on some mindless show to forget about the stress and responsibilities that life brings. I fully understand that working out, a walk in fresh air, reading a book, or just a technology free conversation with a loved one are much more effective and healthy stress relievers than watching TV but somehow I couldn’t get myself to do it. I tried to be better all year but I think I got worse. Maybe it’s because I’m still trying to find myself after going from always being disciplined as an athlete, to working hard to build a new life, to now having arrived in this new life and having gotten comfortable. The stability that came with this new life was new to me and I think it made me complacent and a bit lazy. Complacent and lazy are not adjectives I’m proud of and I’m a bit mad at myself but I want to be compassionate with myself at the same time. I’ve worked hard my whole life to fulfill goals and dreams and now that I have arrived somewhere I stopped working for a bit. Unfortunately, working less for me didn’t mean taking more time for other important things. I haven’t learned anything new, haven’t written blog posts consistently, haven’t worked on my health, and haven’t danced or laughed enough. I surrendered to the remote control and to Facebook and Instagram as they provide entertainment and a social life with just the push of a button and the swiping of a thumb. It seems like such sweet deal but it is such a rip off. It makes time slip away – time that seems ever more precious as the people I love (including the woman in the mirror) get older and the boundaries of this lifetime more pressing. I never made a firm New Year’s resolution but I need one this year. The most simple way to put it is “to live instead of just being” but it entails so much. It means making time for friends and family, for reading books, for breathing fresh air. Making time seems like a daunting task when it’s been slip sliding away so quickly but if I’m really honest with myself all it takes is putting my phone away and keeping the TV off a little more often. I may miss a few pictures in my newsfeed and a few episodes on my DVR but if that means that I will see more sunrises, breathe more fresh air, read more books and have more actual conversations with the people I love, I will gladly take it. I’m looking forward to it and when I feel like I’m slip sliding back into complacency, I have this blog post as a reminder and to hold myself accountable. Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

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6 Responses to Slip Sliding Away

  1. Funny how this happens. My wife and I found the same thing, but you can shake yourself from it with new goals and changes to your lifestyle. One of mine was to seriously limit television and learn a new skill every year. I take a ten day mini vacation where I focus on something I know little about to get myself to the point where my questions aren’t too stupid and then I try to get into it more deeply during the year. This has produced some crazy and delightful wanderings. The other practice that has worked for me and even feeds the new skill bit is I ‘tithe’ my time to the crazy projects of others if they think I can be helpful. This is a real serendipity generator!

  2. Ian says:

    Hi Katja
    I just wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your posts. Your blogs caught my eye when I somehow came across one in which you wrote some nice things about my native Australia ( I am there on holiday now) a few years back. I look in every few months to see what you have to say.

    I see your blog as an inspration for those who undergo life changing events. These happen to us all, but I really like the way you choose to write about yours as a kind of catharsis, along with the positive spin you put on things. On my dark days I find this attitude refreshing and a cause of optimism. The dramas you have had to endure, and your obvious thoughtfulness and decency that shine through in your writing, have me rooting for you and hoping that the intervening months have been good ones.

    I am an English teacher working in a high school with students coming to England (where I now live) from distant parts. These students have nil to minimal English and I help them try to make sense of the world around them, and help their subject teachers with strategies they can use in the classroom. It’s very rewarding. But you can be sure that your English is so good that I read your work purely for enjoyment and not with a red pen in my hand and my teacher’s hat on.

    So I look forward to reading about your next ruminations and, as usual, hope that you have been rewarded with some personal victories along the way
    Ian.

  3. Ian says:

    Hi Katja
    I’ve been meaning to leave a note on your blog for a while. I first discovered it when you wrote about your travels in Australia, from where I originally hail. I’m glad we made a good impression on you, as Germans have on me through encounters I have had in various places around the world.

    I really enjoy reading your reflections and am inspired by the positivity you show whenever life deals you a hand that sucks. It’s interesting to know how others cope at times like these. I’ve had some myself lately. Getting lost in swimming, cycling, cinema, travelling and taking photographs are my escape. That writing works for you is cool- I have tried it but my output is not good enough for sharing. It’s kind of like my singing… the results may be dodgy but at least the process is often cathartic.

    Apart from wanting to thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights I wanted to say how impressed I am with your English. I have worked in Japan and Russia but never achieved the level of competence in their languages that you have in English. I work in schools in Manchester, UK, teaching English to refugee and immigrant children in secondary schools and helping them understand all the subjects they study. I know how difficult it is to master languages. However reading your prose was effortless. My teacher’s red pen sat by my side, redundant, throughout. I expect you’ve been using English for a long time but even so, hats off!

    Anyway, keep up the good work and don’t keep us waiting too long for your next instalment.

    • Ian says:

      Oops. I thought my first response had been lost in cyberland-hence the second-,but I see it is there, ‘awaiting moderation’. Sorry about that!

      • Ian, my apologies that you had to “await moderation” for half a year. If that didn’t scare you away, I’ll be sure to be much faster next time. Please know how much I appreciate your kind words and encouragement! I hope you enjoy the next post!

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