My mom did not drink Tab (that I can remember). Tab was too expensive. My mom drank Faygo. The cheap woman’s soda. A bottle was about 10 cents. She could purchase more bottles if she purchased Faygo. Besides, it was basically carbonated sugar-water of sorts. With such high amounts of sugar, why would it matter what it tasted like? As someone who no longer drinks soda, I can only imagine what my future kids will think of me. Hardcore? Mean? Boring? I will not let them drink that syrupy substance that has so much sugar they will bounce off the walls. Hell no. I have gone from being a child who hated her vegetables, to being a hardcore vegetable addict. Not only for the taste, but for the nutrition. Probably more for the nutrition and what that means for my health and energy.
I think we had Kool-Aid, but from what I can remember, it was “fake.” Some other knockoff brand. From what I can remember it still tasted fine. Again, it was just drinking sugar-water. Along with those frozen Fla-Vor-Ice quasi popsicles. They were basically sugar-water. No wonder we loved them. Sugar was few and far between in our house!
I really doubt my mom worried too much about us. She was too busy (when I was really young — before she got sick) trying to make sure we were fed, and that she made it to one of her many jobs on time. If she was not working, she was planning many months in advance how to get us Christmas presents via the longest ever layaway plan. This was before credit cards were so common and that is how you eventually owned products. She was the queen of figuring that out. Going each week to a list of grocery stores to get the best deal, and to a few other stores (such as Target) to pay that week’s installment of layaway. Her Friday nights were a scavenger hunt of sorts from store to store in order to get the best sales and purchase price. Sometimes she had us in tow. It was exhausting. These days we go to different stores not for the deals, but because of the assortment. You know those items that you can only get at Trader Joe’s!
In the summer she spent her spare moments not figuring out her layaway plans, but taking care of our vegetable and flower gardens. While I will never know, I think it was her favorite time of year. She was working with her hands, out in the sun, and most likely it was therapeutic for her. Any of her other waking hours were spent helping us with homework, and giving whatever time was left to her church. Thus why this line resonated with me from this Today.com Parenting blog:
“She said get the hell outside, and we did. We made up games and rode our bikes and choreographed dance routines and drank out of the hose when we got thirsty. I swear, my mom did not know where we actually were half the time.”
We did just the same. I do not remember telling her where I was going or what I was doing. I never really got into too much trouble. I was either on my paper route, riding around, at a friend’s or neighbor’s house, or snuggled somewhere with a book. Harmless. Today I bet life and freedom is not so easy to come by. Thank you, Mom, for the freedom.
I sometimes get teased at work for my excessive use of Post-Its. I have even been told that based on my actual job I should be more savvy using apps and other electronic means of managing my day. I cannot. I am a failure. I am deep down an old school soul. Post-its remind me of the quick, need-to-do-right now tasks. The notebook I take with me to all my meetings serves as a tracking of history. I can go back in time and remember items from meetings, I can track to-dos from those meetings. Usually ones that are not urgent go in my notebook, and Post-Its track URGENT tasks.
We all have our own ways to keep our life in order. I am a mixture of old and new. Chris and I track our grocery list, restaurant interests, and movies via an app on our iPhones, yet I still have paper notes for long-term, ongoing to-dos and future planning. Which way works? If there was an app out there that did exactly what I wanted, without crashing, and had no syncing issues I would probably divert all efforts digitally. However, that never happens for me.
Just this past Sunday I was on my way to the grocery, and just before I leave we realize my phone will not sync with our Any.do app, so I was not be able to view all the groceries on the list. Instead, Chris sent me an email with our list. If I cannot trust an app 100% I might as well resort to old school methods — pen and paper. Post-Its are my colorful, insistent reminders that something has to be done. If that Post-It is kept in an app on my iPhone I can easily ignore it. I have to remember to open that app to be reminded.
What is the method to your madness? Do you have a process that keeps your organized? Are you all electronic? All paper? Or a little of both?
I subscribe to a multitude of email newsletters. Airline fare sales, inspirational newsletters, blogs I follow, shopping discounts, to name a few. However, recently I have noticed a rather annoying and frequent trend from retailers. I will tell you right now that I am not blind and it is not anything new, it just seems that in the past few months it has been blatantly excessive. Now, I know I can unsubscribe from the emails, the discounts, or sales, and that would be the easiest way to end my frustration.
I do not give up that easy. Let me give you a bit more context. I do not really ultimately care about the emails with deals, or the ones that say “hey did you know our new product line is in stores, and here is a bit of a reveal to what you will see.” That is actually enticing to me. What I have seen in the last few months is a true influx of pervasive emails reminding me what I have left in my cart, or reminding me of items I clicked into for more detail. Now I know that the items left in my cart are sitting in my cart, so it makes a bit of sense to get a reminder that they are still there. I mean gosh I wish that could happen for me in the grocery store when I leave and do not come back for a week. Maybe they too can suggest an item that I may like because of the item in my shopping cart. Joking. That would only deter me even more from going to the grocery store.
What I do not need is to be told multiple times each day that I have items in my cart. Once a day is enough. Last week, I had put a few items in my West Elm shopping cart so I could show Chris later. Each day last week I got a new email listing just one of the items in my shopping cart. I had four items in my cart, and rather than just sending me one reminder email listing all the items, I got four different emails one day after the other. Annoying and I feel like I am getting spammed. West Elm is not the only offender, Gap does the same thing and there are others.
What creeps me out the most (and yes I know about tracking cookies and websites knowing what you are looking at, but it still is creepy) is when I click into the detail of an item and potentially could do that on hundreds of items on a website, and then I get emails that say: “Take Another Look: [insert name of product].” There was a reason I did not put it in my shopping cart and I do not want to be reminded that I did not purchase the item.
If online retailers are not careful they will piss off their customers. No one wants to feel followed or tracked down. It is no different than going into a retail store and the person that greets you says hello, tells you about their sales, and then proceeds to follow and talk to you as you wander throughout the store. Sometimes (most of the time for me) we just want to be left alone to shop. Will this in your face online phase change?
It can feel like what you do in a day probably does not make much of an impact on others. You go about your routine, doing similar things each day. Your reaction and response to most events makes you feel like it is the “same old, same old.” It hit me recently that whatever story we tell ourselves about our impact is most likely bullshit (well if we are talking ourselves down).
I see it all the time at work. A colleague takes an extra step and picks up the phone to handle a nasty customer (instead of emailing) sings to them, and generally adds cheer to their day. That leaves a lasting impact. You leave an impact each day, by not reacting, by sharing your thoughts and opinions in a meeting, by reaching out with love and care. It is hard to know you have left a mark, is it not? We do not get to be omniscient to find out where the seeds we share get planted. Sometimes a seed makes its way back to us and we can see that the day we spent extra time with someone, showed them that they matter. We just do not always know.
All of this made me start to think of keeping a mantra at the forefront of my thought. It sounds a bit self-centered, but hear me out. “I IMPACT.” Just that. If we remember that in everything we do we have an impact, we then realize that when we are nasty on the phone with a customer service agent we just left an impact on them and their day. I really have to remember that. There are times when I have had to call a company more than a dozen times to resolve an issue and by that thirteenth time I lose it (well honestly probably earlier than the thirteenth call). What if I got to a place that I never lose my cool? Why? Because we have an impact in everything we do.
If we remember “I IMPACT” then hopefully we leave those we encounter with a positive, cheerful, uplifting mood. Good and bad interactions create a lasting memory, but maybe we all should work a bit harder to leave the good memory. At the grocery store, at work, with our spouses, kids, and family. I know it may feel like a lot of pressure, but it is food for thought.