Full Life Reflections

Striving for happiness, peace, and fulfillment in a chaotic world

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the intersection of connection, technology, and freedom. These thoughts dovetail nicely with many of the themes in Cal Newport’s book, Digital Minimalism, which I wrote about back in June when exploring the important issue of solitude. In today’s essay, I share some more of Newport’s ideas, along with what I’ve been pondering about my freedom theme for 2019 and how it relates to the ways – and how much – I communicate with the people in my life.

My Two Books are On Sale Now!

Books by Debbie Roes

But before I delve into those topics, I want to let you know that for a limited time, I have reduced the price of my two e-books. If you’re new to the blog, you may not know that I published two books back in 2014. These books encapsulate some of my best tips and strategies for smart shopping and wardrobe management gathered from the hundreds of posts on my former blog, Recovering Shopaholic. My books are available now for just $2.99 each. You can learn more about them via the links below, and you can also purchase them there if desired:

Please note that my books are only available in electronic format, but they may be read on any device using the free Kindle app. I have plans to publish additional books in the coming months and years, so stay tuned for news on that soon. Also, I still consider myself more of a “recovering shopaholic” than an “ex-shopaholic,” but the latter worked better for the subtitle of the first book and I kept it the same for the second book for the sake of consistency. I view recovery as a long-term process with ups and downs along the way, but I’ve learned a lot and I’m definitely in a much better place than I was before I started blogging. I know that I will continue to learn and grow – and I also learn so much from the readers who comment and email and share their own journeys. Thank you as always for your wonderful support of me and my writing!

How Technology Impacts Freedom

Now on to the main topic of this post, how technology impacts personal freedom. I’m 53 years old and I can remember a much different world than we’re in today in terms of technology. Looking back, I can recall having to sit at home when I was expecting a phone call and needing to park myself in front of the television whenever my favorite programs were airing. If I needed a bathroom break during one of my shows, I had to wait for a commercial and then hurry to make sure that I was back by my TV before the show started up again. I remember declining invitations to go out so that I could be home in case a guy I was interested in would call me. If I happened to miss his call, I wouldn’t even be aware that he rang me because this was back in the days before answering machines and caller ID.

In many ways, our freedom was limited before technological advancements such as VCRs, answering machines, and pagers came on the scene. We often had to choose between being in contact with people and being out and about, and if we wanted to watch our favorite programs (many of which aired on Friday nights!), we had to decline invitations for going out on the town. I remember being elated when my family bought our first answering machine and VCR back when I was a teenager, as these devices allowed for increased mobility without having to make difficult choices regarding staying in touch and keeping up to speed with the popular shows of the time.

Fast-forward about twenty years later to when cellular telephones became commonplace… I was excited to be able to receive an eagerly awaited call while also being out and about. No longer did I need to plan my activities around being in touch with the people in my life. Text messages made communication even easier because they could be both sent and responded to whenever it was most convenient for the people in question. The advent of these new technologies increased our freedom and mobility, and most of us were grateful for their availability and presence in our lives.

How Things Are Today with Technology and Connection

woman with smartphone

Have our smartphones become more of a curse than a blessing?

However, things have become a lot more complicated now that virtually everyone is carrying a smartphone in his or her pocket or handbag. While these devices are certainly convenient in many ways, it’s my opinion that they are also negatively impacting our freedom. There are now seemingly infinite ways to keep in touch with the people in our lives (some of whom are more “friends” than true friends), and the new expectations for availability and response time are often unrealistic.

Many of us are never without our precious devices these days. They are now almost like additional appendages and even accompany their owners into the bedroom and bathroom. I believe that in many ways, modern day technology can be more of a curse than a blessing to us. Not only are we sadly lacking in the solitude we need for creative inspiration, self-reflection, and gratitude, we’re also more prone to anxiety and insomnia.

Additionally, many of us are actually less deeply connected to others than we were back in the “dark ages” when I came of age. The always-on, always connected environment frequently leads people to wade in vast but shallow pools that lack the type of deep interaction that can truly satisfy us. It’s akin to grazing on junk food rather than devouring nutritious meals, which as an aside is also a big problem in today’s modern society.

Few Escapes from Technology

There are few escapes from technology these days. When I’m at the gym, I’m amazed at how many people stop to gaze at social media and text messages in between sets. It’s also now commonplace to hear women talking on their phones or listening to Instagram stories while they’re in public restroom stalls. And when my husband and I go on our regular walks by the water, we’re shocked at how many of our fellow walkers are looking at their phones instead of at the beautiful scenery surrounding them.

What’s so critical that we need to be “on” all the time?

Are we doing it out of any real necessity or is it simply a habit?

Are our devices truly serving our needs or have they become albatrosses around our necks?

I may be in the minority in feeling this, but I find myself longing for the simplicity of the eighties and nineties. I felt a lot freer when I had fewer queues to check and when I didn’t feel the need to spend literally hours each week keeping in touch with people through myriad electronic mediums. I miss the deep and meaningful in-person interactions I used to enjoy with others before cell phones began distracting everyone all the time. I miss those quieter and slower times and sometimes long to completely get off the merry-go-round and go back to living the simpler life of yesteryear. But does that type of life even exist anymore? Is there any way to quell the anxiety I feel about technology and connection?

Connection vs. Conversation

It’s here that I turn to the powerful insights shared by Cal Newport in his most recent book, Digital Minimalism, one of which is the distinction between connection and conversation. At face value, it appears that social media platforms enable us to more easily connect with the people in our lives, which should lead to less social isolation. However, a 2017 study conducted by the University of Pittburgh and reported in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine concluded that people in the highest quartile of social media use are three times more likely to experience loneliness than those in the lowest quartile of usage. Another 2017 study jointly conducted by U.C. San Diego and Yale University found that the use of Facebook is negatively associated with well-being related to physical health, mental health, and life satisfaction.

The studies mentioned above underline a paradox of social media, that it can make us feel both connected and lonely. The researchers were initially surprised at their findings, as you may be as well in reading them. However, the negative impacts of social media have to do with the degree of usage. The bottom line for most people is that the more they use social media to connect with their online networks, the less time they devote to offline communication. Replacing our real-world relationships with social media use is what is detrimental to our overall well-being, and this is often what happens due to the ease of use and the addictive nature of Facebook and other such platforms.

To further illuminate the findings of the studies highlighted above, Newport outlines a powerful distinction between connection and conversation. The distinction between these two concepts was originally covered by Sherry Turkle in her 2015 book, Reclaiming Conversation.  Connection refers to the low-bandwidth interactions that generally define our online social lives, while conversation refers to the richer and higher-bandwidth communication that typically occurs during real-world encounters.

When we communicate with others face-to-face, we are more fully present with each other and more readily develop good listening skills and empathy. Because in-person conversation unfolds slowly, we also learn patience and the ability to interpret tone and nuance. We’re simply not able to learn the same skills when communicating via our digital devices. Thus, the more we shift away from face-to-face interactions and toward online connection, some of the critical communication skills that have served humans for eons are declining and many of us are finding our communication less fulfilling.

Newport Recommends Conversation-Centric Communication

Newport contends that conversation is the only form of interaction that actually “counts” toward maintaining a relationship. He doesn’t believe that conversation has to happen face to face, but it does need to involve Sherry Turkle’s criteria of nuanced analog cues, such as vocal tone and facial cues. Thus, phone calls and video chats can also be considered conversations. However, textual interactions – meaning all social media, email, text, and instant messaging – do not count as conversations and are instead considered to only be forms of mere connection.

In conversation-centric communication, connection is used only for logistical purposes, such as to arrange conversation or to exchange practical information. It’s no longer a substitute or alternative for communication; it’s only used to support it. Those who choose to adopt Newport’s recommendation might still maintain social media accounts for the aforementioned purposes, but they would refrain from their previous habits of browsing these tools throughout the day, “liking” other people’s posts, posting their own updates, and monitoring feedback on their posts. They would probably still use text messaging on occasion as well, but only to make arrangements and to ask and respond to quick questions. Only real conversation would count and connection would no longer be viewed as a viable alternative.

This recommendation is in line with what I mentioned above about wanting to return to the simpler ways of communicating of yesteryear, so it appeals to me. I like that it doesn’t complete eschew modern technology, as there is definitely some value in it in terms of its convenience. After all, it’s great to be able to let someone know if you’re running a bit late or to avoid “phone tag” when trying to set up a meeting. But I agree with Newport that deeper conversations are more fulfilling and lead to closer relationships. I also agree that if we spend hours each week – or even each day – on connection types of activities, we have less time, space, and energy for those deeper conversations, whether they happen in person, on the phone, or via Skype or a similar medium.

On the “Like” Button and Social Media Comments

The Facebook “Like” button and the Instagram and Twitter “heart” icons – play a large role in the slot machine nature of social media because they denote a sense of social approval.  These buttons also provide the most minimal level of communication with our “friends” and those we follow on social media. Although clicking a button may seem innocuous, repeating this action teaches our minds that connection is a reasonable alternative to communication. In actuality, clicking like and leaving short comments on other people’s posts does not serve to improve our relationships with those people and instead gets in the way of our cultivating meaningful social lives. Therefore, Newport recommends that we stop doing these things.

While most people believe that they can balance connection and communication, it’s very difficult to do and it’s far too easy to fall back into the habit of prioritizing digital interaction. If you focus on conversation-centric communication, it’s likely that some people will drop out of your social orbit, especially if you had primarily interacted with them over social media previously. But you may want to ask yourself how deep those relationships were anyway if your decision to dial back on social media led to their demise. Perhaps you would be better served by focusing on quality over quantity and choose a smaller number of people with whom to engage in deeper conversations from time to time. I know that there are people in my life who I don’t talk to all that often, but I enjoy the deep interactions I have with them, whether they occur weekly, monthly, or even yearly.

A Few Other Recommendations

In the interest of space, I will just briefly highlight a few more of Newport’s suggestions related to cultivating a conversation-centric communication approach:

  • Consolidate texting: The suggestion is to keep our phones in “do not disturb” mode, which means that text messages become more like emails in that notifications are not shown when they arrive. It’s possible to adjust your settings to allow for texts from select people to come through if you’re worried about emergencies, but most messages will be saved until you open the messaging app, which you can do at predetermined and limited times each day. You can reply to texts in bulk fashion rather than individually and at all times of the day.
  • Hold conversation “office hours”: Instead of needing to answer the phone whenever it rings, you can institute a practice of having office hours during which anyone can call you and talk to you. For instance, a friend of Newport’s told all of his family and friends that he’s always available to talk on the phone at 5:30 p.m. on weekdays, which was when he was commuting home from work. This practice eliminated the need to schedule conversations, so people could just call him whenever they wanted to talk to him and were available at his pre-determined time. You can select a time or times that work best for you, which will enable you to better keep in touch with loved ones with little planning or hassle.

Some Closing Thoughts

While I agree with most of Newport’s assertions and recommendations, I don’t know if I want to take as hard of a line as he suggests. I agree that the majority of social media interactions are hollow at best, but I have derived value and even experienced depth in my online communications. I think that if we keep our social networks small, the interactions we have there can at least bridge the gaps between the times when we’re able to have deeper conversations with others. The key, however, is that we need to make sure that those deeper interactions also occur and that we don’t just take the easy route of clicking “Like” a few times or leaving a few simple comments.

Social media can also be helpful for crowd-sourcing information, especially when it comes to Facebook groups for key interest areas or like-minded individuals. The problem is that many of us belong to far too many Facebook groups and spend far too much time there. This is becoming increasingly common as pretty much anyone and everyone is starting a Facebook group because they’re free and so easy to create.

As for me, I overdid it with my participation on social media so much in previous years that I’ve had a hard time finding a “happy medium” that works for me. I set the precedent of being a person who was readily available on Facebook, so it was really hard for me to moderate my participation there. Also, when I’ve been able to cut down my interaction, I always worried that I was disappointing people and/or missing out on the sense of community that I craved. The problem was that I got to the point where I just didn’t find it all that fulfilling and it also produces a lot of anxiety in me because it feels impossible to keep up, especially since I don’t want to spend much time there anymore.

It definitely seems easier to take Newport’s advice from his previous book, Deep Work, to quit social media altogether, but I’m not ready to do that yet. Perhaps it’s the same foolish part of me that thinks I can moderate my clothes shopping (still struggling with lots of ups and downs there…), or perhaps it’s because I realize that many of those who I believe are my friends will simply forget about me if they don’t see my comments in their Facebook feeds. I also wonder if it’s akin to being a prima donna to insist on communicating in a much different way than others do. If I set “office hours” for the phone, will anyone call? And what if my office hours are at a completely different time than theirs?

I wonder if it’s my people-pleasing tendencies that are getting in the way of my fully embracing Newport’s advice, or maybe it’s my belief that I should be okay with “progress” when I’m really not. What if my version of freedom looks a lot different from others’? What if I truly am okay with having a few long conversations with cherished friends a few times per year and the rest is merely “fluff” to me? I think the bottom line is that we all need to decide upon our bottom lines, what we truly value and what will bring us peace and meaning in life.

As my year of freedom draws to a close, I need to do some soul-searching and decide what I really want and what I’m willing to do in order to get it. If that means that I move more toward the path of being a Luddite, so be it. I don’t think it will actually come to such an extreme, but if it does then I need to honor myself and do what’s right for me. I have to trust that those who love me will honor my needs and my path just as I do my best to do so for them. In the end, it all comes down to self-awareness, communication, and respect. These things are critical, but they’re certainly not easy, but the most valuable things never are…

Your Thoughts?

As always, I welcome your thoughts on anything that I have shared today, from Cal Newport’s recommendations to my own struggles with connection, technology, and freedom. I will likely write at least one more post on the ideas and concepts expressed in Digital Minimalism, and I will definitely give another update or two on my freedom theme for the year before I select a new theme for 2020 (can you believe it’s almost here?!). Those posts will be published soon, along with an update on my “Half Project,” a 2018 purchase review, and my thoughts on the loss of my mother-in-law and the grieving process.

26 thoughts on “On Connection, Technology, and Freedom

  1. Tara C says:

    I would love to shut off facebook, but connections that I value with certain people would be lost that way. I am definitely always looking at my feed and asking myself, Is this bringing value to my life? And eliminating those for which the answer is no.

    Also, as a shy introvert, it’s hard for me to call someone up to chat or invite them to go do something. I plan to work on that because that aspect of my personality is isolating me far more than looking at FB.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I feel much the same as you do, Tara. At this point, I pretty much stay on Facebook for 2 groups that I’m in that I value. Those groups can overwhelm me at times, though, with how much conversation is going on, and I feel like the amount I’m willing to spend on Facebook now isn’t sufficient to keep up, so that’s my challenge… I’m also a shy introvert who usually doesn’t initiate getting together with people in person and that’s something I need to work on, too! I would love to meet up with you again when you’re back in San Diego (I think you’re gone at the moment if my memory serves me…).

      1. Tara C says:

        I’ll be back next Tuesday, let’s do it!

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          I look forward to hopefully seeing you soon, Tara!

  2. Gundulina says:

    Thank you for this Essay, Debbie, it really resonates with my current line of toughts after I received a random Newsletter yesterday that made me stop. The introduction was „did you know we are into the last 90 days of a decade?“ This really made me reflect what happened in this decade, how satisfied I am with it and what I would like to change for the next decade. Your very analysis and discussion helps me to better understand why I feel how I feel about certain interactions on social media. So thank you for putting so much work into compiling your experience, reading and conclusions in this essay!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’m glad you liked this essay, Gundulina. I saw something about this being the end of the decade, too, and it gave me pause. I should probably take some time to reflect on how I feel about the years of 2010-2019, perhaps in a future post. I have a tendency to be too hard on myself, though, so I need to focus on the positives as well as the negatives. Yes, social media can be a mixed bag. I think that like with many other things in life, it’s what we make out of it, but the very nature of it makes it more challenging to have it be something that will ultimately be fulfilling in our lives.

  3. Kim says:

    Sounds like a very interesting book, Debbie. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been doing a “tech shabbat” where I have all screens (except my e-reader) off for at least 24 hours. I’m going to do it for 48 hours this weekend. I’ve been enjoying those screen-free 24 hours and find I am more productive. I wasn’t on my phone so much but definitely addicted to my laptop. I’m 55 and well remember the non-connected life. It’s funny to think back to those times.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Yes, there’s a lot of thought-provoking information in “Digital Minimalism,” Kim, and I would like to read it again. I love the idea of a “tech shabbat” and I would like to implement this practice in my life. I think it would help me to feel more peaceful, as technology tends to stress me out. I spend too much time on my phone, tablet, and computer and even though I’m spending less time on social media, I think that technology overall contributes to my anxiety. Isn’t it amazing how much has changed since we were in our twenties? It’s really a mixed bag as to what era was a better time, but I would love to see more people having tech shabbats or at least leaving their phones at home or in their cars once in a while.

  4. Gail says:

    For me, it feels like giving up some freedom just to have a phone on me when I am wandering around. I liked the feeling of no one knowing where I was. Esp. at my age (73), though, it is a safety issue, and I am a good girl about turning on the blasted phone when I am out alone.
    I do not participate in Facebook, which is fine except when someone posts there a photo or birth announcement, for example, that is no t posted on email or elsewhere. I then am out of the loop. Often my daughter will forward something significant to me, for which I am grateful. Normally, I don’t care about what is on Facebook, but a few times I did miss out. Sometimes it just seems like too much to keep up with!
    It amazes me to see a group in a restaurant with each person on his/her phone. I don’t think it is very social! I wonder also how people who are always on the phone ever get any thinking done. I don’t even have that many people I want to call!
    Texting and email are so much less intrusive than voicemail, so I am glad for that.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I know what you mean about feeling free without a phone, Gail. We’re both old enough to remember the feeling of being unencumbered by devices. Yes, we can feel out of the loop when we don’t participate in social media. Even though I AM on Facebook, I STILL miss out because I don’t have it on my phone and I often go a week or more without checking in there. I guess we just need to trust that if something is truly important, we will find out in alternate ways. I feel the same as you about groups in restaurants who are all on their phones. It’s like those people are more concerned about being in touch with OTHER people besides those who are right in front of them. I really hope that the pendulum will swing in the other direction and people will be less glued to technology in the coming years, but it’s hard to predict what will happen. We all have to figure out what’s right for us and do our best to abide by that. Not always easy, but well worth the effort!

  5. Sdlsel says:

    Very timely reflections!  I am really struggling currently with the amount of time I spend on my phone.  It is so easy to just keep scrolling and scrolling.  That fear of missing out is overpowering at times and I feel like I need to respond to others’ posts since they respond to mine.  I do use my phone for work related tasks as well and private groups that involve work.  I just don’t know what the happy medium is.  Some days I am embarrassed at the amount of time I spend on my phone. I may be taking a seasonal job for a couple months so I feel like I won’t really have time to do much else since this will be on top of running a small business (health education/teaching).   I don’t think the answer is to give it up completely although I secretly admire those celebrities who don’t ‘do’ social media.  My daughter’s fiance’ is not on FB.  He does use IG and possibly twitter but I don’t see him creating a big presence on social media. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.Susan L.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Yes, it’s FAR to easy to keep on going with the endless scroll! I often set a time limit for myself and I’m amazed at how quickly the time will go by. It’s like we’re in a time warp when we in the grips of technology. It’s SO hard to find a happy medium and FAR easier to be all or nothing with technology (I feel the same about shopping). It’s not all that practical to completely opt out these days, especially for people like you who use your phone and social media for your business. Perhaps it might be helpful to have stop and start times and to plug your phone in somewhere that’s not in your usual path during the alternate times. No easy answers for sure, but I do think that pondering these types of questions and determining what we ultimately want for ourselves is helpful.

  6. Catherine says:

    As always, Debbie, your blog resonates! (And I’m going to finally pick up your books…hard to believe I’ve gotten and used all your advice through the blog). I’m starting my first office job in more than a decade tomorrow and I’ve noticed a tendency to use it as an excuse for purchasing more clothes. Gonna have to watch that. As for technology, it relates also to the open environment I will soon experience. (Why this has gained traction during the past 20 years is beyond me.) I am really worried about it. And I’m the loud one.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’m glad you liked this post, Catherine, and I hope you benefit from the tips in my books, too. I should probably go back and read them myself (lol). I hope your new job is going well so far. I know it’s tempting to buy a lot of clothes in such a situation, but you will likely be better served if you wait a bit to see what you truly need in your new environment. I share your concerns about the open office environment, as I do best with quiet for concentration. My husband works in such an environment and he told me that most people wear headphones (either to listen to music or noise-cancelling headphones to help with concentration). Even those who are more talkative need some quiet time and downtime. I hope things will go well for you!

      1. cbgraham12 says:

        Thanks for your response, Debbie! You’re such a dear and I appreciate the well wishes. The first week went well and I am using headphones which is quite helpful. As for clothes, you were certainly right. Most of the items I wore teaching as an adjunct professor these past 10 years are fine…and I just need to learn how to pair different items more. I’ll be fine. Hope you’re well!

  7. RoseAG says:

    I like the conversation office hour concept. Sometimes I feel like I”m intruding on the younger generation if I call them. I end up texting to see if it’s OK to call them. I don’t know how they’d have survivied 30-40 years ago when the phone rang and you answered it without knowing who or what the call was about.

    Texting is not a substitute for talking!

    1. cbgraham12 says:

      I feel the same way, RoseAG. But, you know what, we’re still in the workforce, doggone it.

    2. Samantha says:

      Thank you for this thought-provoking post, Debbie. I really enjoyed your books and have found Newport’s very interesting so far. I agree with setting whatever limits one feels comfortable with, but wouldn’t oppose deep conversations to emails – then what about letters and books… As for setting my own limits, I sympathize with your fear of disappointing others but I feel more and more convinced it is a risk we have no choice but to take. All this (useful) technology has simply become overwhelming. One of your great qualities, it seems, is that you go at your own pace – it may disappoint some people, but I believe it is liberating for many others 😉

      1. Debbie Roes says:

        I agree with you, Samantha, that we can go deep in emails, letters, and books, but it’s much harder to go deep in the short burst of text messages and most social media posts. I don’t agree with all of Newport’s concepts, but he does give us a lot to think about. Since I’m a writer, I enjoy being able to write to people, but I like the long-form format of email much better than the short-form mediums that are more in vogue today… I also agree with you that we often have to choose to disappoint others rather than overwhelm ourselves. Where does it end? I struggle to honor myself and to respect that my limits are different from others, but I completely depleted myself otherwise and then I’m no good to anyone, including myself. If my honoring myself and writing about it helps to liberate others, I would be very pleased with that!

    3. Debbie Roes says:

      I like the office hour concept, too, Rose, and should challenge myself to adopt such a practice myself. I agree with you that texting cannot substitute for talking! It can be convenient for certain purposes, but nothing beats a good conversation (especially face to face). Yes, it’s a whole different world these days! I used to be nervous to just pick up the phone and not know who was there, but that’s how it was back then and we all got used to it. I don’t know if I will fully get used to how things are now and I’m not even sure I want to!

  8. Maureen says:

    I’m excited to hear that you’ll be publishing more books in the next few years! Your writing is so thoughtful and high quality. (Fun fact related to digital minimalism: Yours is the /only/ blog I read on a regular basis!)

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you, Maureen! I’m so honored that my blog is the only one you read on a regular basis. Sometimes I feel guilty because I don’t publish as often these days, but I also realize that many people are overwhelmed by information and may even appreciate a “slower roll.” I’m still working to figure out a plan for my upcoming writing, but I don’t plan to stop writing. Even if I’m slower with it, I still plan to keep going and am happy to have an audience of people who enjoy reading what I write.

  9. Jayne says:

    Thinking about it being the end of the decade has given me pause for thought and reflection. I think maybe it can be a way to draw a line under a lot of things that have happened this decade. Eg buying way way way too many shoes and clothes and see if I can start the next decade a little early and stop buying stuff and save more money. I have a dressing room that is full and though it is organized, the amount of shoes looks crazy. The best thing to happen was at the very start of the decade when our beautiful daughter Piper was born. (now of course nearly 10 and still beautiful and funny). The worst thing to happen was that I was involved in a horrible car accident in late 2014 which I think started my overshopping pretty much. The biggest thing to happen was that we moved from the North Island of New Zealand to the South Island in early 2018 and now don’t live close to any family. I am starting to make a network of friends which is great, but quite hard, seeing as I am an introvert. I am thankful that we live on a canal by a beautiful lake and have a lovely home. I am going to go into 2020 feeling blessed.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I hadn’t thought a lot about it being the end of the decade until recently, Jayne, and it DOES give me pause. Even the end of a YEAR brings about reflection, but the end of a DECADE is far more thought-provoking. I love your idea of using this transition as a time to draw a line under behaviors, practices, etc. that we’d like NOT to continue in 2020 and beyond. Perhaps that is something I will write about as 2019 draws to a close… It would be interesting to consider bests/worsts/etc., as you have. I’m glad you’re making more friends (I know how hard that is as a fellow introvert) and are counting your blessings. The South Island of New Zealand is one of my favorite places to have visited and I loved it there! I hope to make it back to your beautiful country one day. Best wishes to you as we move into a new decade soon.

  10. Jenn says:

    I’ve read and will re-read both of your books. Lots of great tips there and very well-written. As for social media, I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. I probably look at it twice a day, more when I’m tired. I “like” and comment less and less these days.

    I’m always happy to hear about ways to more efficiently use my time,Debbie, so thanks for sharing.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’m so glad you liked my books, Jenn. It always makes me happy to learn that they have benefitted people. I also have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. More than anything else, I wish it moved SLOWER. I feel like I’m on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange with everyone shouting and it leads me to feel very anxious. I would be much happier with a few threads per week in a group (I pretty much only use FB for groups these days) with deeper discussion and less “noise.” Sadly, I feel like I’m alone in my wishes. I wish there was a “Slowbook.”

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