I am the eldest of the two middle children of a four sibling family. Does that make
sense? Of course it does, just take a little time to think it over if it doesn’t at first.
Being a middle child has many drawbacks but it also has a lot of advantages. The
first child is an experiment, the last child is, well, the last child. But middle children
are often benignly neglected because other things are going on. Middle children just
know instinctively how to act so as not to cause too much attention to be focused
on them and therefore, often become more successful than the bookends!
I have long been analyzing my personality and have come to the conclusion that
many of my deeply held habits and prejudices stem from my placement in the
family. I observed how my older sibling behaved (usually rebellious and mean)
and the reaction my parents had (scolding, grounding, silent treatment, etc.) to
it and I decided I didn’t enjoy the chaos and yelling so I made sure my behavior
was as different as it could be. I did my chores (often mine and my siblings), got
decent grades, and generally got ignored except when it came time to go shopping
and my mother would despair over my being overweight but that is a blog for another
The creators of Facebook had no real idea of how far their social media application
would come and that, again, is a subject for a future time. However, there are many
positive things that have come out of the social media giant, not the least of which
has been the way the regular folk are engaging in the issues of the day, including
politics and religion.
I use my account mainly to inform people of what is going on in our neighborhood
as part of the self-imposed activism I feel is required of anyone who is alive and part
of a community. Aside from that, I use it to connect with friends by commenting on
a picture they have posted, or by uploading my own pictures if I feel they are relevant
or want to share a particular event or part of my life.
In the years I have been using FB, I have been hacked once but it didn’t have any really
negative consequences and I have since learned to be more careful about passwords and
about who I befriend and what I share. I am very wary about commenting on any odd
phrases a friend or family member has posted because I have been “conned” into games
or chain letters that really don’t fit with what I want to do with my time and are a very
embarrassing imposition on friends.
The last few weeks have had an activity on FB that I actually did like. It involved posting
“a black and white picture, no people, no explanation, of every day life for seven days and
challenging a different friend each day to do the same”. When I first saw this activity, I
wondered if anyone would think of me to “challenge” and was actually very happy when
a dear friend across the miles highlighted me!
This is where my being a middle child, and an efficiency aficionado comes in. I know that
I have hundreds of pictures that fit the requirement so when the challenge came in for me,
the first thing I did was to look through my pictures, pick out favorite every day things,
convert them to B&W, label them Day 1 through Day 7, put them in a file and go on with
my day. It didn’t take me longer than 10 minutes to do all that and I began to think about
the friends I would challenge, taking into account what I knew about their personalities.
Not everyone enjoys having a little fun and this is one activity where all that is required
is a tiny bit of motivation.
I was shocked then to see how people did or did not respond. One person did it but had
people in every one of her pictures and an explanation of where picture was taken! Another
friend completely ignored me. A third one said “remind me because I am very busy”. One
challenged me back by asking me to guess where the pictures loaded had been taken (I have
not seen this person since grammar school!).
Tom Waits is credited with saying that the “way you do anything is the way you do everything”.
I have to say no truer words have ever been spoken and I find that as I get older, I have a
tendency to observe people and their behavior long before I ask them to do anything for me
or to become friendly with them. The FB activity that I engaged in just for fun has shown
me more about my friends and myself than if I had actually asked them to describe their
personalities. It was quite eye-opening and I am glad that I was asked to participate.
black and white image of hologram from Bing.com free to use images