I’m taking an idea I have seen with several writers, but originally saw on Modern Mrs. Darcy. This seems to have been popularized with Emily P. Freeman, and so I’m writing down both the profound and the mundane things that I learned in February.
1. 7UP originally contained lithium.
I was watching a You Tube video with the children about the origins of various soft drinks, and so many of the stories were new to me. Yes, I knew that Fanta originated in Nazi Germany, but I didn’t know that 7UP contained lithium.
I also didn’t know that Coca-Cola was originally a cocaine and wine combination until prohibition made wine illegal. Even as a Georgia native, I found that surprising and difficult to believe. My children say that we must plan a trip with the Hubby to the World of Coca-Cola and see what other strange soft drink facts we can find.
2. Even the news I see come across a social media feed is customized based on my friends, my reactions, and my previous clicks.
Two books I read this month (Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now and Redeeming How We Talk) both made the argument, from completely different perspectives, that social media decreases our exposure to other viewpoints. This, of course, lowers our empathy towards others, as we don’t realize that our tailored feeds don’t match the tailored feeds that other people see. We assume other people are seeing the same things we are, and so we don’t understand where their different perspectives on life come from.
3. Quitting social media increases my happiness and contentment in life.
I took Jaron Lanier’s six month challenge for social media seriously. The only time I have been getting on either my Instagram or my Facebook is to watch a friend’s Facebook lives (for her jewelry sales). My happiness in life has increased, and I am not downing myself or angry anymore at comparing the areas where I just don’t compare to other people. Facebook makes me sad and I don’t miss it.
Except I don’t know what to do when I pick up my phone now and have nothing to do. It’s like I’ve taken away something to do with my hands in public. It also makes me notice how much time other people spent on their phones and how I am often the only person in a room not attached to my phone. I also notice how much time my hubby spends scrolling Facebook on both the computer and the phone, and it bothers me a little.
I haven’t made the commitment to delete my social media accounts yet, and I will even send this post out through Facebook, but if you want me to see a comment on the post, you should probably leave me a blog comment.
4. How to reset my Fitbit.
I just learned this today. I was sitting on the couch and my Fitbit told me my heart rate was 154. I knew that couldn’t be right. I had to text my husband and ask him how to reset it. On a Versa, you need to hold down the left and bottom right buttons until it turns off. Then, you can tap the left button and it will come back on.
When I turned my Fitbit back on my heart rate was 82. I knew it wasn’t reading it right but my first impulse was to go, “Oh no! What’s wrong with my heart?” Maybe I have an over dependence on technology.
5. What a dreamer is.
I admit that I have not been well versed on the immigration debate. They start talking about walls, amnesty, paths to citizenship and dreamers and I just kind of zone out. I don’t know enough to comment on DACA, the wall and other things related to the immigration debate. So, this month, I read Welcoming the Stranger to try and help counterbalance some of that.
While I am still not sure how I feel about many of the particularities of the debate, I feel like the whole debate has been humanized for me. Moreover, I do feel that some sort of permanent solution and path to citizenship must be reached for these “dreamers” or children of illegal immigrants. In most cases, they have no control over the fact that they were brought into the country illegally and can’t control their status. To me they are, or at least should be, Americans, and we should open up a path to citizenship to them.
6. Who the Tollund Man Is
I find that I never knew that this phenomena of bog bodies existed until this month, with The Tollund Man being the most famous of these bog bodies. They’re kind of like the mummies of Egypt. Of course, the mummies of Egypt are kings and royal officials, and the bog people are human sacrifices, but both are well preserved.
7. The Areopagus in Athens was a Council, not just a location
I had always read Acts 17 with the idea in my head that Paul’s sermon in Athens was just a little discussion of ideology. However, I find more and more that Luke often seriously underplays the seriousness of the activity against Paul and Paul’s actions. While the book of Acts is a page-turner, what Luke boils down to a sentence or two is often quite shocking when seriously pondered.
This week, I was faced with the pondering the idea of Paul’s sermon in Athens, and the realization that the Areopagus was not just a nice out cropping of rock for a nice discussion. Instead, Paul was (once again) being drug before a council and asked to explain what his ideas were and on what authority he was staking his claims. It was just such a council that would have decided the fate of the philosopher Socrates 400 years earlier.
So that’s what I learned in February. What have you learned this month?