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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What I've Learned From a Week Without My Droid

I absolutely love my Droid. Obsession almost. The navigation has absolutely saved my life living downtown Denver and I feel like I have the whole world in my hands.

Then, I dropped it in water last Thursday and my Droid died. Upon waiting for a new phone, I have experienced many feelings of loss and frustration:) This is funny coming from a girl who would purposely lose the cell phone her dad made her keep just so she could be "out of touch" in high school. The past few days I have had a lot of thinking time about what is important in life.

Throughout the day, I am constantly texting, calling, facebooking, surveying bank accounts, emailing, googling, and researching. My brain hurts just thinking about all the material I am seeing constantly. The last 6 days have been kind of refreshing. Today I was laying out by the pool reading "Chicken Soup for the Soul- Living Your Dreams" and I found an interesting statistic. Keep in mind, this book was published in 2003 so the statistics are outdated now. The book states that research has shown that about 90% of all our behavior is habitual and one of the worst habits Americans have is watching too much television. The average American watches six hours of television a day (this was in 2003, probably excessively more now!). If you are part of the average, that is one quarter of your life. So approximately 15 years of your life if you are 60!!! If you were to cut out one hour of television a day, that would give you an additional 365 hours a year, which is the equivalent of over nine 40 hour work weeks. THINK OF HOW MUCH YOU COULD LEARN IN THAT TIME...... OR HOW MUCH BETTER YOUR PHYSICAL FITNESS WOULD BE!!! I am proud to say I watch no television. I hope I never become a part of this statistic! However, my phone sure does take over a huge portion of my day! In fact, sometimes I feel like its my entire life. What if I were to take all that phone time and work on roping or training my horse? What if I were to actually read a book without getting interrupted by emailing and facebooking... or even work out hard without returning a text (yes, I am embarrassed to admit this:))

As a recent college graduate, I have been working on figuring out my life path and how to balance making money with finding a career I love and expanding my horsemanship knowledge. STRESSFUL. But I have found myself falling into the me me me trap. All I can think about sometimes is where I am going, how to achieve MY goals, how to carve MY own path, and what I can do to be successful and productive.

A story in Chicken Soup for the Soul really touched my heart and I probably looked like a total dork shedding tears by the pool today, but I didn't care. The story meant that much to me and made me realize what I have been missing out on in my life thusfar....

The man in the story recounted a Thanksgiving when his family had no money and no food and someone came knocking on their door and brought them a huge box of food, a giant turkey, and even pans to cook it in. The stranger said that he knew they needed help from a friend of theirs and that they had no choice and were going to take the box. The experience had a profound effect on the man's life as he grew up and he vowed that one day he would do well enough financially so that he could return the favor to someone else. He started his Thanksgiving ritual when he was 18 years old. He would buy food for a few families, dress up as a delivery man, then go to the poorest neighborhood and knock on a few doors. He always included a note about his Thanksgiving experience as a kid. All he asked in the note was that the receiver would take good enough care of themselves that one day they could do the same thing for someone else.

He and his new wife were in New York away from their families one Thanksgiving and she was really sad because she wanted to be decorating the tree and house for Christmas at home. He said, " Why don't we decorate some lives today instead of some old trees?"

The couple proceeded to buy several weeks worth of food and get a bus ride into the bronx to give food away to families who really needed it. They fed seven families for 30 days. They made a huge difference in people's lives on that holiday. I want to be a person that can help other people. I commit to doing something like this with my family one day. This kind of behavior is so rare and it is really sad.

Reading the book today also really prompted me to step up in a situation that I almost didn't take action in. A few weeks ago, my father met a woman on an airplane who has a daughter that just recently had her leg amputated because of cancer. This girl is 17 and was a highly competitive gymnast before the amputation. My dad told her that I had experienced some adversity in my life and that they should connect us to talk. This girl wants to get a prosthetic that will help her tumble again and also wants to do some motivational speaking. During my year as Miss Rodeo Montana, I had been the keynote speaker for SOAR (Students Organized Against Risks) and had spoken at numerous banquets and events.

The girl had emailed me and it took me a week and a half to get back to her because I felt emotionally frail and wasn't sure how to handle the situation. But we are corresponding now and I am really going to befriend this girl. I gave her some advice on how to get into motivational speaking and how to stay positive through difficult times. Reading the story today on helping others has got me thinking about how I can help this girl and be a good friend to her. I almost missed out on this opportunity because I was so focused on my own life and day to day meaningless activities and stress. I am excited for our friendship to progress and I want to find other ways to help people. So much of life is take, take, take, me, me, me, and I don't want to get sucked into that.

Well, the man in brown is bringing me a new Droid today. But I'm going to remember all of the lessons I learned away from my cell phone and work on being a more loving, unselfish, focused, and productive person! Have a great week my friends!!

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