That crazy time of the year has rolled around even more quickly this year...
I don't know about you, but I've had a really busy year. Overall it seemed to have a good balance, what with the variety of the rewarding work I did, some time travelling, and also kicking back with the people who are important to me. Though I've got to admit, the balance probably happened more by accident than any real planning that I'd done.
I work in several different locations around the traps, and therefore get to work alongside some amazingly committed & creative people. My private practice takes up the bulk of my week and that has been full-on, my busiest year in a long while. People attend for the first time, with issues relating to, say, worries they are having about their teenager, or issues in their couple relationship. But once we've been talking for a while, underneath it all for many of these people, are on-going issues relating to the earthquakes, which in turn decreases their resilience, and means they are just not managing things as well as they would have been otherwise doing.
So as you can hear, it's been another stressful year here in Christchurch, where, three years after earthquakes decimated our city, people are still struggling to have homes repaired. The rest of the country is understandably sick of our incessant whining, and over the last couple of months they've managed to distract themselves by watching either Lorde's premature quest for world domination, or Peter Jackson's latest journey to track down whatever it is he's now managed to lose....Mmmm.
With just over a week to go until Christmas, most of us are about to embark on some fairly intensive family time. In this part of the world, most people get together in large family groups on Christmas Day, and this usually leads in to some extended holiday time soon over the following couple of weeks, with camping holidays seeming to be still the preferred option amongst the people I've been talking to lately.
What I've been noticing in increasing amounts lately, is a worry, and I've been thinking about this, because it's likely to be a particular issue over these holiday weeks ahead, when people get to spend extended amounts of time together (which is mostly a positive thing, but not always). And what I'm meaning, is our heightened pre-occupation with our technology (but especially our smartphones), when we are otherwise in the company of 'real people'. And yes, this is something I also need to be personally more focused on...
It seems that we are majorly dependent on these devices. I know I'm not the first person to mention this - we all seem to know that we shouldn't do it, yet we do... I wondered for a while if this was just a New Zealand thing - but no. I spent most of October in the US, and everywhere I went, people were obsessed with their smartphones. Maybe it's OK when we are waiting for a train, or doing something that doesn't involve being physically present with other human beings (but even then, we are probably still looking at someone's Twitter feed, rather than being present in the moment - which we all use to do very well before the technology got a grip on us), but not good when we are actually present with a group of real living breathing people, and we are still giving preference to our smartphones. And because we all do it, we somehow think that it's OK - something along the lines of I-won't-frown-at-you-when-you-are-checking-Facebook-for-the-second-time-in-5-minutes-if-you-then-look-away-when-I-text-someone-that-I've-arranged-to-have-coffee-with-later-on.
Call me old fashioned, but in the end, I think we all wind up giving out a big non-verbal message, that being physically present with you here today is my second choice. And maybe this will be an important thing to be thinking about over the holiday season. Meanwhile if you think you might be a little too dependent on your phone, here's some other useful stuff you might want to read....
Thanks for stopping by to read my ramblings - I'm continually stunned by the increasing number of people who have been visiting these pages during the year.
Good luck and happy holidays - I hope you don't just get socks or underwear....
"Some occasional thoughts about families, relationships, and other things that distract us...."