What are you afraid of?

We all have fears. Some are ones we might never share with another individual. Others we have no issue with telling the world about because in some ways it bonds us with others. Somehow over time our list of fears seemingly add up, and for those few of you out there that are daredevils and are willing to do and try anything, I bet there is still something that you are afraid of.

What is your greatest fear? I cannot necessarily say that I have decided what my greatest fear is, but I can tell you that I am absolutely petrified of snakes. Whether I see a small garter snake in the grass, or I am watching a movie with a massive snake I quake just a bit in my skin (okay not a bit, a lot). It does not matter where I am, I do not want to ever interact with a snake. Which means that on a hike, or even out for a run I will literally freak out if I encounter a snake. Forget looking at them at the zoo behind the glass, they still give me the hibbie jibbies. Maybe my fear is because they are so unpredictable, or they have a way of being sly and then striking. I have always been scared of them.

Your fears might be of talking in front of others, or the dark, or traveling on a plane. Sometimes our fears are because of something that has happened in our life, or because of something that has happened to someone we know. Other times our fears are about anticipation. We dream up all these potential scenarios of what could happen, or what should happen, and in reality we make it all up in our head. I am not sure if I can ever get over my fear of snakes, but I do know I probably make a bunch of crap up that keeps me afraid (the self-fulfilling cycle of fear).

Michelle Poler decided to not let her amassing fears overtake her life. She decided to live for 100 Days Without Fear. Take a peek at her website, where she posts videos that show her doing what she is afraid of. It is inspiring, and well I am not doing so well because I had to quickly scan past the video of her holding a massive snake. She did look slightly in pain doing it! So, what are you afraid of that you could maybe overcome?

Do you need a vacation intervention?

Americans, we have a problem. We do not know how to stop. I am one of the biggest offenders. We do not know how to truly go on vacation. This CNN article from last fall “Americans taking fewest vacation days in four decades” is quite scary. In 2013 Americans were only taking an average of 16 days off a year (about 3 weeks). For someone who has not been at my company long enough to accrue a large number of hours that does not seem so bad, but when you compare it to the average of other countries where Austria has 35 days a year (7 weeks of vacation or almost 2 months).

This is not a new topic, but it is one that I think as Americans we need to constantly revisit. Why do we give up our vacation? Why do we check into work while we are supposed to be relaxing and recouping from our day-to-day world? Some folks want to show their commitment to their jobs and company (I do not have that problem, my commitment shows regardless if I take some time off). Others might be addicted to the buzz of the distraction. My reason? It takes to damn long to catch up on emails and work when you get back from vacation. You need a vacation to catch up after being on vacation. Often it is easier to keep your inbox cleaned up, clear out the junk for a bit of time while you are away. So maybe I have a problem.

When start-ups and tech companies are granting unlimited vacation I think — amazing! Yet, then I also wonder, will you have so much work and feel so strapped to get shit done, that you never take it? Having never worked for a company with an unlimited vacation policy, how do they make sure folks play fair and use the time in a balanced way? Have we become over productive as a society? Or is the rise of unlimited vacation policies a way for companies to have their employees work hard and play hard. It has to be much hard to manage when a company grows to the thousands to hundreds of thousands. Does it only work for smaller companies? How would such a policy feel to you?

I am worried about myself and my fellow Americans. Do we take enough time for our spouse? Our kids? Our larger family? Do we explore new cultures? Do we go and sit our butts on a sandy beach and fall asleep never worrying what is happening back at work? Or do we go on vacation and constantly check in? Never turning off our mobile devices and never truly focused on the rest we so grossly deserve. America needs an intervention!

This video from Visa, while an ad to go and spend money on your Visa card is spot on.


WDWDWF (What Did We Do Without Facebook)

During these weeks that fly by with such crazy speed, I find it harder and harder to keep up with life, emotions, and the state of the world. I have not watched the news in months. I stay connected with morsels of information from Chris, whatever pops up in my Facebook feed, and the few moments I am at my desk at work with glances to see what is happening on CNN on the television in our area. Not too connected you might say?

Well, Facebook always tells me when a famous person dies, with friend’s status updates stating: “RIP, ________.” Or if there has been a plane crash, weather disaster, or incident in the world, my Facebook feed might say: “You are in my thoughts, ________.” I even know what job, home, or city my friends would be suited for based on the quiz they just took and shared. Or what level of Candy Crush they just completed. And, worst of all, whatever product I just searched for on Google, will now show up in my Facebook feed as a “Suggested Post.” So the news just follows me, I rarely have to go find it.

I almost forgot, I started following the No Poo group on Facebook, and now every other post is about someone who has failed or succeeded at removing toxic shampoos and conditioners from their personal care routine. Don’t get me wrong I have learned tons of new insights, but it is a lot of information and crazy amounts of people chattering on my Facebook feed. How to dye hair and stay “no poo”, how to get rid of frizzy hair and not use toxic product, how to start out on low poo, or mothers that have never washed their kid’s hair. I can only imagine what other “groups” discuss and at what frequency. It is like Dear Abby on steroids on every topic imaginable.

At the end of the day, some of it is worthless, some of it is so-so news, and some of it is just hilarious. WDWDWF? (What Did We Do Without Facebook)? We sent more texts, emails, and picked up the phone and talked to each other. Go figure. Before that we wrote letters (yes, I miss the lost art of letter writing). These days the only items I get in the mail are junk and bills. An occasional letter, yes, but that is the exception.

In any case, I am grateful that it is Friday as I look forward to a few extra hours of sleep tomorrow, time to catch up on emails, clean my house, run some errands and eventually curl up with a good book. Not too much to ask right? Oh, and I will probably take a few moments to peruse the mindless chatter on Facebook. Either it will be a waste of my time, or I will laugh, share, and like what you have bestowed on my feed.