Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It Doesn't Get Any Less Partisan Than Pinterest




 Have you pinned, lately? I invite you to scroll through the many wonders your fellow man (but mostly woman) has created from burlap, a pair of craft scissors, and a hot glue gun. Get a clue, get some glue; BookFace ain’t where it’s at. Pinterest is the next social network venue for the crafty, the curious, and the visually oriented. It’s a never-ending corkboard that doesn’t require you to use those dangerously sharp pushpins.
Putting sticky raw dough in your waffle iron? A potential Pinterest fail, despite the pretty picture.
I recently joined, but haven’t pinned yet. Instead, I’ve copied countless tips regarding cleaning, decorating, and entertaining toddlers to the Notes section of my iPhone. While waiting in a doctor’s office, nothing beats compulsively flicking through the seemingly endless offerings. Will I ever repurpose an old door by converting it into a weathered farm table, a headboard, a bookshelf? Er, probably not. But boy, do I love seeing and reading about how someone ELSE did.
There are some notions I’m not interested in. I’ve never been one for elaborate projects, so I tend to skip over the cricut-adorned photo mats, captioned baby pictures, and scrapbooking ideas. If that’s your bag, though, it’s totally cool! Pinterest doesn’t judge; just keep going until you get to that next family-pleasing crockpot recipe that will change your life (I’m also a frequent visitor to Pinterest/Food). You can even select different subject filters so that you’ll only see, for example, the Do-It-Yourself section (my favorite).
So, to sum up, Pinterest is about making you feel confident and capable—good about yourself. It gives me something to think about as I struggle to fall asleep at night: I wonder if that pot roast recipe, the one that uses a whole stick of butter, a packet of ranch dressing, and a packet of au jus mix is as delicious as it sounds? I can’t wait to make salt dough imprints of my children’s feet and give it to grandma as a Christmas present! Does homemade edible glitter really exist, or is it another one of those Pinterest myths?
This all may sound pretty tame—or lame—to you. But it’s my life right now. I’ve never been crafty. I’ve consistently struggled to find creative ways to entertain my two small children. The question "What's for dinner?" haunts my waking dreams. Pinterest provides me with endless possibilities, and it does so in a gentle, reassuring way. It’s as easy or as complicated as you want it to be.
After happily embracing Pinterest, I found myself using Facebook less (hereafter referred to as FB). I compulsively checked FB for updates, but doing so only left me feeling hollow and sad. The recent contentious presidential election didn’t help. Partisan postings increased in a frenzied manner. There’s nothing wrong with self-expression, but can we do it with a sense of happiness and humor? Politics and elections are important but--let’s face it--they are not the be all and end all either.
47% of me finds this man attractive: chiseled, independently wealthy, and Mormon. What's not to like?

Granted, discovering the ideal glass shower door cleaner (Dawn dishwashing liquid and white vinegar, FYI) is not more important than who is president or the policies that govern our lives. However, such small, enlightening discoveries helped me to see what is really important in my life (another one: did you know that dusting your baseboards with a dryer sheet will prevent grime and dust collecting there? Oh yeah.) I was spending far too much time reading other people’s FB rants rather than improving my own lot.  FB is indeed a convenient way to maintain long-distance friendships and to share cherished moments (births, birthdays, holidays) and sad occasions (the passing away of a loved one or pet, not getting the job), but my feed of late has turned into a forum in which we high-five each other in collective smugness.
The trick of getting through life as a happy warrior, I think, is recognizing the macrocosm and microcosm of your existence. A belief in God definitely helps you make this distinction, but atheists can be successful at it as well. The macrocosm is the world beyond your family and personal sphere of friends and acquaintances. Your microcosm is everything else that you hold dear to your heart: your community, your children, your immediate family, making your home welcoming and special, updating your blog. I would argue that changes in the microcosm, even small ones, have greater impact upon our well being than seemingly large changes in the macrocosm.
I’m tired of obsessing about what’s going on in the macrocosm. I am ready to focus on what’s going on closer to home. Please note that focusing on the microcosm does not have to mean you turn into a selfish person; it may translate into volunteering, or being more patient with your sometimes exasperating children at the end of a long day, or deciding to not pick a fight with your spouse over whose turn it was to take out the trash.
That’s why I’m trying to take a mental health break from FB, but I’ll continue to post the occasional link to my beloved (i.e. beloved to me) blog Hell’s Domestic Backside there for any of my friends who want to read it. I promise not to be so serious in the future.

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