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  • Writer's pictureSusan Carr

When was the last time you tried something new?

Updated: Mar 9

No, I did not take this picture, that would be unsafe. Thanks to the Canva AI-image generator for it.

While driving to visit my mom this morning, I saw a record number of seven hot air balloons in the sky. I've never seen this many at one time, and it was extremely beautiful and quite distracting as I was trying to drive on an interstate system.

Even within the moment of awe and beauty, I experienced sadness. This would have been a moment I would have loved to share with my mom.

Mom has always been fascinated with things in the sky, especially planes, even though she didn't experience air travel until she was 78.

Mom had a blast when we flew with her to Michigan to visit family. The crew adored her!

Before she moved into her memory care community, she would marvel at the clouds. She couldn't identify what they were; she never could find the word cloud in her vocabulary, but she loved looking at them.

And for all her issues with her memory and ability to retain and learn new things and recognize old things, she could still say, 'Look how pretty those big white things are in the blue sky.' At least she could remember her colors.

Nowadays, it's a rare occasion when I can share anything new with my mom.

The manipulatives and sensory items that I purchased for her at the beginning stage of her journey with dementia are no longer appropriate to her condition. She doesn't want to look at or touch them and cannot interact with them.

And so it's been a challenge to find new things I can provide for her cognitive and tactile stimulation. The memory care community activities director spends a lot of time with the residents to help them remain mentally and physically active, so I deeply appreciate this. I'm sure even for her, finding something new to do when people have limited abilities is also a challenge.

I experienced the same challenge recently as I tested a new service area for my freelance business.

I am not a big follower of social media. It takes away from our valuable time of authentic engagement with other humans, contributes to cognitive decline, and keeps us in that decline as we mindlessly fill the voids in our lives with anything else but true meaning.

  • Social media usage is linked to reduced cognitive performance and brain shrinkage due to increased susceptibility to distraction.

  • Social media impacts transactive memory, leading to reliance on external sources for information rather than internal memory storage.

  • Regular social media users, particularly those under 30, are prone to self-worth concerns and relationship overanalysis through comparisons with online peers.

I know this is possibly harsh and magnifying, but I feel like social media has caused us to degrade as a society.

Having said this, though, I recognize that social media is here and here to stay. So why not find ways to use it positively?

I wanted to help a friend in her small business to try and see if her business could grow through one of the social media platforms. And so, I offered to provide her with 20 graphics and wording that could be used on her Instagram account.

I wanted to help in building her business because I firmly believe in her service and benefit from it every week. And I wanted to see if I had what it takes to create something valuable for social media use.

My friend genuinely appreciated my effort in creating the Google sheet and graphics. She mentioned finding value in both as she charts the course forward for her business.

When I sent the Google sheet to my business coach for her honest feedback, I was very encouraged by what she said:

  • Ensure consistent branding in graphics for recognizable business identity and increased engagement on social media feeds.

  • Prioritize understanding platforms and driving results before charging for services, especially in a results-driven environment.

Encouraged by my belief that I do not want to provide social media as a service!

AI image of me laughing at trying a new thing, content with the realization that it's not for me.

While I enjoyed the imagination behind creating the graphics, I do not feel I have a sales-oriented enough personality to be good at making an effective social media post to promote a business.

And that's okay. I tried something new. I don't think that it fits me well.

Witnessing the beauty of hot air balloons, I longed to share that moment with my mom, who still finds solace in the simplicity of colors. Reflecting on her limited ability to comprehend new things, I recognized a resonance with my dive into social media services.

Just as my mom finds comfort in the familiar colors she sees, I realized that trying new things requires understanding one's strengths and limitations. Though the adventure may not fit perfectly, it serves as a stepping stone toward discovering services that will align with my strengths while still stretching my ability to learn.

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