Clutter – Is this stressing you out?

One of the perks so to speak of living in a prosperous country is the abundance of everything. There is so much stuff you can accumulate. Clothes, dishes, paintings, music, furniture on and on. At some point all this stuff can become clutter. First let’s establish what clutter is. Clutter is a crowded or confused mass or collection 

The older we get the more life we have lived and the more we have accumulated. Spiritually, knowledge and yes possessions. You picked up a shell at a beach on your vacation you kept it, it’s in your house somewhere, and the vacation was 8 years ago….  I think you get my point. As individuals with anxiety for us we should from time to time take an accounting of what we own and categorize it into needs and wants.

Now at no point am I going to tell you what you should need and what you should want that’s completely up to the individual. That said, as you read this take a look around your surroundings. How many singular items can you count? Let’s assume you are at a PC, so each speaker, keyboard, and chair, monitor, on and on. Now count the wires, add it to the total. Did you count the desk or table the pc was on? The point of the exercise is, is to reveal to you just how much stuff we all really have.

This look like your desk?

Of course this entire concept is predicated on degrees. I mean if you are a single person and have 30 drinking glasses I would say that is excessive. A family of 6 is 30 excessive? Maybe not. Clutter takes up visual space and in a lot of cases emotional space as well. We have ascribed a memory or feeling to these items, like our shell we got from the beach 8 years ago. This isn’t meant to minimalize or trivialize any of that.

More important it’s meant to reveal to you that by accumulating more stuff, you create the possibility of obtaining clutter. Clutter then becomes a distraction to the anxious mind as you have more and more tangible items to concentrate on that you have assigned an intangible benefit too. Sure some mementos are irreplaceable and you can’t disassociate the emotion from them. But sometimes, more stuff is a mask to a larger issue. Sometimes more stuff is a distraction so you don’t have to let go of past memories.

There is a simple exercise you can employ should you think clutter is impacting your life negatively. Pack as if you were going to move. That’s right, pack up your stuff into boxes, the whole 9 yards do the exercise. Label the boxes, etc. Then let them sit in the rooms in which you packed them in and give it 2-4 weeks. At the end of the time period see how many things you had to pull out of the box. I’m betting you find it’s less than 50% of the stuff you own.

Is that other 50% clutter? Could be, you certainly didn’t need it for the last 2-4 weeks did you?

Interested in more posts on anxiety and Clutter? Check out my post here.

Just a Thank you today

Hey folks, not a formal post today taking a day or two off from articles/formal posts. I do want to take a moment and say thank you. Thank you for taking your time to read my blog, like my posts, your subscriptions. All that really means a lot to me, I am a small blogger and it does go a long way to keeping me motivated.

Again, thank you so much for your continued support of me and the “A Gen X Point of View” blog.

Have a great weekend and take care.

Your Pagan Friend,

Karac

Beyond the Trees

Do You Remember?

Remember the days when people would say “I disagree with what you have to say but will defend your right to say it”? Those days are gone, we are now in the throes of “I disagree with what you have to say and will cancel you for even thinking it.” Yes, we now have thought police and many of these individuals, hiding behind screen names and VPN’s are watching you.

It’s likely some are reading this post right now. They are everywhere, they are ordinary people like you and I. Emboldened by the illusion of anonymity and empowered by ebb and flows of likes and affirmation from other anonymous people. Your next door neighbor who says hi to you every day with a smile could be watching your Facebook feed, your tweets and you would never know it.

Remember, when you have an alternative point of view you find yourself with a tremendous gift. You find out clearly who your friends are and who are not. Real friends respect you, and how you feel. Fake friends do not, don’t be fooled they are everywhere. Oh the quick reminder?

Stand up for what you believe in, even if it means you are standing alone. Standing up for the right thing, freedom to think what you want when you want not only empowers you but gives others hope. It’s okay not to like someone for what they believe in, don’t be one of those people who punish others for wrong think.

The “A Gen X Point of View” blog is a safe place to express your thoughts, you are allowed to feel how you want and say what you want here. You can’t abuse other posters, you can’t create a hostile environment, you can’t spread hate here, but I’m not going to try and cancel you for thinking and feeling how you do.

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It’s not about being perfect it’s about getting better.

This post falls under the “other musings” category and is an opinion/sharing wisdom piece. I am almost 50 years old, I have worked in a professional office setting in various finance roles since the mid 90’s. I’ve seen a lot of theories on professional development, personal growth and overall goal setting to achieve outcomes. The first piece of wisdom I can impart to you is a goal set by other people that you work on are your tasks.

What does that mean? It means that often people in your life have things they want to accomplish but need your help. Work, personal it doesn’t matter really, you participate in the process, let’s say someone is remolding a kitchen. You come over on a Saturday and help haul some trash away. You completed a task to help them achieve their goal.

The trick is to not fall into the trap of being consumed by other people’s goals. This happens a lot in relationships, someone has a vision for their life and you accommodate them as best you can because you love them. If you are lucky, you share the same goal, if not you will be in a “giving” situation in that relationship and that can be draining.

When Life gives you Lemons make Lemonade!

The second piece of wisdom (hang in there, there are only 3 🙂 ) is goals are great for your personal growth and improvement but perfection is the bane of very good or great. What does that mean exactly? Setting a goal for yourself “I will finish my Masters by 28” is great but you have to accommodate life. Rigid goals that have absolutes built in often fail and it’s often the case that we blame ourselves for this and become very hard on ourselves. Anything can happen, what if at 27 someone you love gets sick and you have to take a year off school? Was your goal a failure?

The third piece of wisdom is taking the time to figure out and decide what it is you really want. This is the holy grail of self-awareness isn’t it? Maybe you are a faith based person, maybe you believe in animal rights etc… The goal here is to figure out what makes you happy, and what do you really want to do. This can take decades or it can take minutes but healthy self-reflection is a necessary process to determine where you stand in the desired outcome. We take time to get our coffee’s, go to the gym, update our I-phone operating systems why aren’t we taking MORE time to self-evaluate? Get a journal, from time to time write down the things you are doing and write down how you felt about it. From time to time go back through it, were there multiple entries with you at a beach being happy?

The point here is it’s not about perfection, you’ll never make it but you can achieve very good and that is progression. Progression = getting better and that is figurative and literal. When you achieve goals, even partially you are putting the building blocks together of success and mental contentment. You can do it, and even if you stumble or flat out fail, it’s okay you pick yourself up and keep going.

Remember, it’s not about being perfect, it’s about getting better.

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India

For our friends in India: Environmental Stress is serious

I am proud of the fact that per my word press statistics a large portion of the people who view my content reside in (or have a VPN in) India. As many of my readers know I am based on the U.S. the New England region. Most of my pieces are things that pertain to the U.S. situation. Sure many of them translate and generally you can apply most of the context to any part of the world with some tweaks.

The environment impacts everyone, locally and globally. The fact is the drum beat of climate change and pending environmental calamity has been beating for decades now. So it’s not a stretch to say that environmental concerns add to and inflame anxiety in individuals. Our friends in India are no exception. I found a good article here that discusses some of what’s going on.

From the article: “The overall assessment is that our air and water quality is all trends show that pollution is increasing and this has massive impacts on our health. Even during the lockdown, data shows that river pollution did not reduce. Clearly, we need to do much more to improve the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink,” said Sunita Narain, director general, CSE and editor, Down to Earth, while releasing the annual publication.”

Plastic destroys the environment
The world is overrun with pollution.

The article itself states some interesting statistic that to be blunt I can verify myself, I don’t live there but the overall sentiment is important. A clean environment producers healthier living conditions. I don’t think I am going out on a limb by stating that, I think we can all agree there. Just like here in the states it seems daunting for one individual to measure what impact they can have on the overall problem with the environment.

As people with anxiety, it’s just one more thing to worry about and its tangible you can see pollution and feel it. What can you do? You can change one thing. You know your habits better than I do, what are you doing now that has a negative impact on the environment? Using too much water? Throwing trash in street? Using too much plastic? I’m sure you can find something and that one thing DOES HELP. Me? I purchased a reusable straw. I get a coffee almost every day a cold brew and I use a straw. Over the years I must have thrown away hundreds if not thousands of straws. For 5 bucks I got 2 reusable straws and I have thrown one away in 6 months.

That’s 1 straw a day for 182 days, it’s not much but imagine if everyone did something small like this? That would be a big deal. It’s not late to start, no one is saying go crazy but find one small thing you can do to help the environment, where ever you live.

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Surviving 2020 & covid

The Stigma’s of Depression

Found a very interesting article with several links to studies that discusses multiple stigma’s for various groups in society.

MDD or Major depressive disorder is an underdiagnosed condition. Often its not the medical professionals that miss the signs, but rather the patients who are covering up and hiding symptoms due to stigmatism. Race as an example is a factor as many minorities are already dealing with accepted social profiles (although this is changing) the mere fact you are a minority (there are less people that look like you) could be an important factor in whether you have depression. Often, we see minority groups that live near each other, there is a reason for that beyond our social constructs. Simply put, humans are social creatures and we want to be around people who we believe are like ourselves.

Then there are men. Some men suffer in silence, but why? “As to why the men did not seek help for depression or sadness, the main themes focused on weakness and loss of masculinity for doing so.” Again, this specific social stigma is changing but not fast enough if you ask me.

College students were also studied. College has become a far more competitive environment than it was. If you are a Gen Xer like me, you went to college in the 90’s. Yes, it was competitive, but we didn’t have the weight of social media hanging around our necks either. When we went to bars and to parties, we weren’t uploading the “perfect pics” to Instagram. Maybe a few to myspace…. (😊) Millennials and now Gen Z are competing with one another for coveted spots in schools, on social media, in sports the list goes on and on. For some depression is a clear outcome for this increased pressure and the stigma attached to it is now not only do you have your inner social circle, but that circle includes individuals who can broadcast your issues to literally millions of people via YouTube, a blog like this, Instagram, twitter…

Social Media = Anxiety

Last let’s discuss older people. What is “old” “it’s just a number its all how you feel” well if that’s true there were somedays last month I felt dam near 80…. Older individuals are usually people, clinically anyway 55 or older, elderly is your 70+. Those are both generalities based on what I have observed and read over the years, you decide for yourself, but I think you get the picture. The issue here is the stigma of “getting old” is in fact reality based. Meaning at this point in our lives we are entering the final phases of our live. Average age for men in women is 80 ish, so a 73-year-old is closer to their ultimate live expectancy.

The stigma is the fight against aging and the omission of being old. You see it over and over in TV commercials. Product A offers healthier skin, Product B relieves joint pain, Product C lowers cholesterol so you can play with the grand kids…. Point here is we have built marketing around combating aging and taking products to help what ails us. This creates the conditions by which many don’t want to talk about getting old, which can lead to masking of serious depression issues for older citizens. Loss of spouses, friends passing, Parents and siblings facing medical issues… all of these contribute to the mortality mindset. You begin to think about your own, and many enter depression as a result.

“The paradox of depression treatment is that patients who most need it are often the ones who have difficulty accessing care due to stigma, attitudes toward mental health, and lack of access. Healthcare professionals need to adapt their approaches with different populations to ensure access to care.”

If you are depressed or just don’t feel right your age is irrelevant. You should tell your Dr. who can help you. The goal is to live the best life you can with the time you have, living in depression doesn’t have to be a life sentence.

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Anxiety Lessons: One of the hardest things to deal with.

For those of us with anxiety we have good days and bad days. There are of course degrees of anxiety, some of us are in better places then others and that’s why every day is a crap shoot. Like anything in life the more you experience something the more adept you become at navigating its nuances. Anxiety is no different and for me I have had a few very hard lessons in my travels.

One of the hardest for me? The conversation you have been avoiding is probably the one you most need to have. If you are dreading it, chances are if it’s not already a trigger it’s going to be soon. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, the neighbor’s dog barking? The Amazon delivery person’s insistence in putting your packages on the side step instead of the front? This can be a wide range of subjects; we all have different triggers.

The worst part is not knowing, not knowing if having the conversation is the person going to think you are nuts? Will they reactive negatively? Violently? These emotions are real, and don’t let anyone minimize them. If you are talking to your roommate about the guy upstairs playing music to loud, don’t let their rational (or agreement) sway you from how you feel. The hardest part is making the decision to confront and “have the conversation

For those of us with Anxiety, sometimes the simplest conversation can be nuclear

This is one of the worst parts of anxiety. Wouldn’t it be great for just a day to not care what other people think? Many of us find that relief through self-medication and I am not advocating that here. What I am saying is, there are options. Continue on and allow this to eat away at you and become another trigger. I’ve done it, you wouldn’t be the first to live with other people’s crap. Or have the talk and confront.

The downside is it can be a disaster, creating more conflict then you ever wanted. The upside is the person may provide relief, gain a measure of respect for you and in the future may be more aware of how their actions affect you. I advocate to have the conversation, with a HUGE caveat. That being you have to assess the risk posed by the other person. Example, a conversation about putting the cap on the toothpaste is likely to have less of an impact then asking a parent to have their child stop leaving their toys around.

Both may be triggers but the likelihood of one garnering a negative response is higher. Use your instinct and your experience as an individual with anxiety. Some battles (and for us, internally, that’s what these conversations are) are less risky than others. have those first, build a mental reserve of successful (or failures) outcomes to draw on as you consider attempting the harder and harder conversations as your life progressives.

If you are thinking about it constantly, its eating at you and emboldening your anxiety. It’s likely a conversation you should have sooner rather than later.

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Anxiety and Post Vaccination life

As individuals with Anxiety the Covid 19 pandemic has been horrific. It’s not just that there is one more thing to worry about, a virus that can kill, but it’s all the ancillary B.S. that came with it. Wear a mask, don’t wear a mask, social media fights, zealous government regulations, lack of government regulations on and on. No matter where you fall on the pandemic there was anxiety and stress everywhere you looked.

We now have vaccines, something that is way ahead of schedule. Most vaccines take years to get approval, like it or not we can thank Trump for getting it produced early even though the distribution was a mess. The point here is we have a solution to the problem. What now? What happens after you get the vaccine? Is it back to normal for you? Not by a long shot…. I found a good article here That discusses the issue of reentry, which is yet another pain point for those of us with Anxiety.

From the article: “The new guidance said fully vaccinated Americans can gather indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing. It also states those people can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one household without masks, unless any of those people have an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Those people do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms. However, the CDC still urges social distancing and masks while in public or traveling.”

It’s a fairly short article with a news video report attached, it is from a local news station not a national one. The point they are making though is that despite the CDC guidelines above, everyone should still be careful. As individuals with anxiety we have to be diligent about our triggers. As an example I am not fearful of this virus as many others are but I am respectful. I wear a mask, I keep my distance, I wash my hands I am mindful of other people.

stressed-out-woman
Anxiety is still spiking around the world.

There are many, millions who think this is all B.S. they do not believe the threat is real and they are vocal about it. Just as vocal as those who rail against those who don’t think masks are important. It’s just another flash point in the social war currently being waged in western society. We are all neatly placed into “us” or “them” and depending on where you go you’re either a villain or a hero.

Of course those of us with Anxiety? We are screwed either way because now as this clears up you will be exposed to more people and their cavalier attitudes for either side. I imagine for the next year you will still see people wearing masks even though many are vaccinated. Taking a shower at the gym? That will be interesting, how will that work? When will that be allowed? On and on.

If you suffer from anxiety be diligent. Stick to your routines and if possible get vaccinated ASAP. We are in the beginning phase of reopening and reentry. I know many places already have, but with a vaccination out there (3 to be exact) more and more places are going to open up and you might be triggered. The end of this is closer, and the isolation and fear are beginning to ebb. You are doing great, one day a time. Hang in there, things are getting better.

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Plastic destroys the environment

Plastic Sucks

I don’t normally do environmental pieces on this blog but today we step outside of the normal format to discuss plastic. I use plastic, Im sure you do to. Plastic is horrible for the environment and if you have the ability to do so, you should not only use less of it but do your part in cleaning up some of the plastic already polluting our world.

Need convincing? Here are some random facts about plastic.

  • Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.
  • 50 percent of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.
  • Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.
  • Plastic accounts for around 10 percent of the total waste we generate.
  • Plastic in the ocean breaks down into such small segments that pieces of plastic from a one liter bottle could end up on every mile of beach throughout the world.
  • Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.
  • 46 percent of plastics float (EPA 2006) and it can drift for years before eventually concentrating in the ocean gyres.
  • It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.
How many plastic bottles did you throw away last year?
  • Billions of pounds of plastic can be found in swirling convergences in the oceans making up about 40 percent of the world’s ocean surfaces. 80 percent of pollution enters the ocean from the land.
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California and is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. This floating mass of plastic is twice the size of Texas, with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one.
  • Plastic constitutes approximately 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.
  • One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.
  • 44 percent of all seabird species, 22 percent of cetaceans, all sea turtle species and a growing list of fish species have been documented with plastic in or around their bodies.

Source

Plastic is horrible for the environment and horrible for all of our futures. I know I sound hyperbolic and this post is out of the norm for this blog. I feel strongly about plastic pollution and I hope, in my small corner of the blog sphere, the people who read this take it to heart and do something, anything to cut down on the plastic.

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Wisdom from the past: Winston Churchill

Nearly everyone who is reading this has either heard of or has studied Winston Churchill. To say he was (or Is) one of the most famous statesmen of the “World War” period wouldn’t be a stretch. He was in the middle of the most perilous time in modern history. The World Wars were the most devastating events in human history, oh and wedged in between those was this other event called the “great depression”. Needless to say if you lived through that period of world history you are probably wiser than most of us.

Churchill didn’t suffer fools, he did though accept the fact that even people he disagreed with had the right to be disagreeable. He valued free speech and basked in the fight and nuances of debate and semantics. The wisdom?

“Some peoples Idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, it’s an outrage.”

Boy is that true in 2021 isn’t it? Been on twitter lately? LOL. The point here is, most people that are telling you what they think often aren’t interested in hearing what you think if it’s not agreeing with their point of view. We are now to the point of intolerance where people are canceled for having “wrong think” or “wrong speak” and inconveniently we don’t have Trump around anymore to blame for it.

No its now (and always was) emboldened people who believe what they think is right and will go to extremes to make sure there is no dissent. Churchill faced this as well in his time, they were called Nazi’s and they burned books (think they would have liked Dr Zeus?) and committed horrific crimes.

Be wary of people who want to silence others, who deem something distasteful and are willing to remove access without consent. These are very dangerous people, in essence they want to control what you see, what you hear, and what you think. They are everywhere and, as Churchill warns, if you disagree it’s an outrage. Except now, the outrage has blossomed into something far more sinister.

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