Being present.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Life is slowing down and space and time are spread out for me daily. It used to be uncomfortable not hopping online all through the day, interacting with my virtual life and work. I found pockets of time now available but I was programmed to sit and click clack and scan the online field, so I would wander about the house confused. I felt awkward and feelings would come up in the silence. Boredom, no one knows what boredom is anymore. It used to be the motivator to create or invent. Boredom is very important. It is rest for our busy brains, and in that nothingness comes all sorts of inspiration.

I spend about 5 minutes online a day to do some checking of the bank account, delete a few emails, check book sales and that is it. I have no social media and I’m completely off YouTube right now. I have turned back to books fully for entertainment, recipes, gardening tips, budgeting. I just order stacks upon stacks of books from the library and every week a bag of brightly colored books arrive and we spread them out on the floor and go over them all as if looking over new gifts.

I’ve been craving that simpler time before cell phones and laptops. So, we created that here. I can do it now while the boys are still young and under my influence. Soon they will have their own laptops and cell phones and I will be on my own in time travel.

But for now, one old laptop shattered when it slid off a shelf and the boys only have an old chrome book to work from. I let them play games and do educational stuff for a couple hours a day, but they would sneak and trick and wind up on the laptops for hours and hours. They are old laptops of mine. I was glad to see the one break. One less computer to deal with. The other is hidden for a week or so while I figure out what I think is enough computer time and how to make sure an hour doesn’t become a week.

As for me, my laptop is stored under the couch. I am doing NaNoWriMo’s July virtual camp and I write here. That is what my laptop was originally for, not hours watching YouTube or making videos.

Now that I’m not on the computer and I never did use my cell phone, I am present daily. I water parts of the garden by hand, I have been mending everything and tending to the laundry well with a bar of Zote soap, getting out stains, sewing up holes. My sewing is nothing pretty but it’s gotten sturdy and I’m pleased with the back pack and my favorite stretch pants that are now mended.

I’ve been cooking large meals and making big salads that stretch for a couple days. I love that bread machine and Soyabella milk maker. We have fresh bread and milk daily.

Propagating, I have a small section on the porch with my newly propagated nectarine and rose branches. If all goes well I want to propagate the old pear and my beloved pluot plum in the Fall.

I am not feeling social these days. I have a small handful of old friends that we chat over the phone like the old days before texting and tweeting became the normal way to communicate.

Conversations with anyone, these days, are strange. Unless it’s a light chat over apples in the store, it winds up being something heavy about politics, disease, the environment, injustice, and in the end it feels like we need to choose what side we are on. I miss the old days when one could pontificate over nothing while having a mug of coffee. I miss the old weird conversations of the 80’s when we just focused on our feelings and authentic selves, or whatever Oprah was talking about that week. Remember Gary Zuckoff and all that talk of our “authentic selves”. That time was annoying but I miss it. Now we have to decided on who’s lives truly matter. I saw a bumper sticker that read, All lives matter. Amen. We all matter! There is the great answer, now can we relax a bit and just garden or learn to mend pants or make cinnamon rolls?!

So, long story short, I keep to myself and I am keeping us off line. I truly, with all my heart and good sense, feel that social media and all that damn news and these cell phones that people can’t take a crap without taking the gadget with them, it is making people mentally ill. I have never seen so much drug abuse and depression. We are being bombed, not just bombarded, but bombed all day with news updates and our virtual social lives that come in the form of photos and tweets and tags all day long. We are not equiped to take it all in. We are becoming stressed and suicidal.

I know I’m right because I was suffering mental exhaustion and it wasn’t from my home life or even discovering my eldest son may have Asperger’s. It was being online all the time. I avoided the news and had an ad blocker but it still found me. I don’t have Facebook, twitter or Instagram but I was on YouTube all the time and I was fully engaged with people and a life on there that was full but empty. It’s like the person that has 5000 Facebook friends but not one person to go to coffee with.

I would get sucked into weird videos or fear mongering vlogs. There is so much fear mongering out there because it makes money, it gets views. It isn’t because these people care about you, they know that fear attracts humans. Humans are naturally attracted to anything that will help them worry just a bit more.

Since getting offline completely, except to write or post a review and update my book reading status on Goodreads, I went through a period of being uncomfortable and a little lost to truly feeling the mental exhaustion where I couldn’t even watch a movie. I needed quiet and to feel bored and have few thoughts. Each day I felt better and now I feel so different!

I feel rested mentally. I go about my days doing little projects inside the house and in the garden. I forget about the laptop under the couch. I don’t feel the need to check things online or call people to fill up the blank parts. I wash walls, read through a cook book from the library, plant things, take the kids to the park for hours and read under a tree.

It is like before when the boys were little and I had internet but I rarely used it. I rarely talked on the phone except with Miss B and we had simple conversations about how to tend to a home, clean better, tricks for getting stains out, and money savings because she was so poor she knew her stuff and I was just trying to keep my position as a homemaker on my husbands small paycheck.

I care about the world, but not all that is going on is my business. I do my part with being greener, cleaning up a small forest nearby, working at the food pantry when I can, donating to nonprofits, signing petitions, teaching my kids integrity and values, voting and so on. But I didn’t make this mess and I don’t agree with much of it. I see easy solutions but it seems humanity is a bit disabled right now. I can’t fix it all. So, why would I torture myself daily with reports on humanities short comings?

According to the teachings of the Tao, one should focus on inner wellbeing in order to help others.

I was reading verse 80 the other day and could relate.

Times are changing and you can decide how you want to live. We don’t have to follow everyone else and be, what we call, sheeples. Don’t be a sheeple. Build a sanctuary at home. That is what I’m doing and I am now ok with it. I had to work through untruths and misbeliefs to get to that magical place of “this is how I’ll run our home and this is how we will live amongst the masses”.

It seems to be serving my sons and us well. We are more creative and peaceful being unplugged. Being offline becomes so peaceful and lovely that it is as addicting as being online. Just observe Esther Emery. She wrote the books What Falls From The Sky. It was her experience offline for a year. She said she found her soul during that time. Later she and her family started a couple YouTube channels for about 4 years and then they disappeared a couple years back. If you read her book or heard her Ted talks you would get why they disappeared. She and her husband probably saw themselves getting sucked back into an online life as they had in the past and it wasn’t healthy. They took their private lives back.

Alright, well, I’m off to shower, water the garden by hand, pick up a real planting guide from the nursery that I ordered, get some more creamer for my coffee, take the boys to the park and putz about the rest of the day.

27 Comments

  1. I am glad you are finding peace. We have the most basic of phones. The kids have a magic jack for their phone. I love hearing my soon to be teenager tomorrow yacking with her friends on areal telephone. I have to admit I am spending a ton of time online researching how to get the smell out of our floor and how to do some home repairs. I need to see things being done to assist my husband.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad to see you are content Kate! I have really been feeling not to social myself and have seriously weened myself off of YouTube for awhile. The Debbie Downer,the world is ending people are so depressing! It’s not good for my psyche.

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  3. I like your new name! At the moment most of my income is from various sources of online work. I would unplug it all and walk away if it weren’t for the needed income, and you make it sound so tempting. I’m glad you found what you’ve been looking for and am looking forward to the day when I can do it myself!

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  4. I have missed your videos so much but I am happy to see that you are so content being “unplugged” from social media. 🙂 Enjoy this precious time with your family as the growing up years with your children just seem to speed by. 🙂

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  5. New name? Almost didn’t open this as it was not a name I recognized. Glad I did. Hope others don’t do that.
    I love being in my world and taking care of my yard, animals and self. Much, much do be said for peace and quiet and calm.
    Have a good one.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I miss your videos, but I love your blogs. It’s a calmer, more contemplative medium for conveying your thoughts on life.

    Unfortunately, I feel that I should caution you that the phrase “all lives matter” is not quite the obvious and inoffensive truth that it seems. In the current context (of which you may be unaware, as you avoid the news), it carries a definite right-wing political connotation. It’s used as a push back on the “black lives matter” movement, intended to shut down the conversation that makes them uncomfortable. Ironically, the meaning behind the black lives matter slogan is that “all lives matter, so stop treating black lives like they don’t”, so the two phrases ought to be in agreement, but alas they are not being used that way. (Also, “sheeple” is widely used in alt-right circles to describe anyone who doesn’t buy into their conspiracy theories, and thus can be a somewhat loaded term as well.)

    I only share this with you to ensure that you are making an informed decision when you reference these terms, and are aware that some people will make assumptions about your views and political stances if you do. These are complex times we’re living in.

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  7. Lol, and my point exactly. I appreciate it but this is what life is like trying to converse with people. They seem to always be looking for what side you’re on. Well, we are no conspiracy theory people but I think sheeples goes way, way back. It is about being a sheep and I do feel most people are so controlled by news and media these days and have no clue that they are. Ah well. Makes is hard to have a conversation or make a joke these days. We will just stay home.

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  8. Yes, I am not buying to I need a cellphone. They do facetime every Monday with their godfather. Otherwise, it is the telephone. I have to admit we are in our head with our rental project rehab. My husband tells me what he is planning and I watch the You tube video. Luckily, we work great as a team. We think we have a solution how to get this smell out. We will find out Thursday.

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  9. Actually, the sheep theory goes back to Milgram’s experiments to define why people blindly follow authority.

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  10. Sometimes the way words are used changes over time and we have to keep up and change with it. I cringe when I see the word sheep or sheeple… overused and cliche really. Who gets to decide who is the sheep? Why do you or anyone else get to define which is the right culture to subscribe to and if I have certain beliefs, then I’m a sheep but you’re not? Maybe we should stop speaking in slogans and cliches. It really doesn’t show much individual brain thought to constantly be on repeat of what other groups of people announce. It’s good to know which words are politically loaded so you can avoid it. One funny thing that happened to my friend is that she posted a meme saying she was a proud “snowflake” but she is an alt-right and everyone knows it. She wasn’t up on the terminology that snowflake meant liberal. (in a derogatory way by the right). People started to comment she had to choose and couldn’t be both. She said she could be whatever she wanted to be. Later, she and I had a big laugh when I told her what snowflake meant. I have friends of all political affiliations, including no political affiliations. Usually, there’s a common ground and something we can all agree on. I will not tolerate divisive or hostile people in any realm. One lesson I learned from an election long ago – I was so caught up on my friend’s opposing political beliefs and her constant spewing them down my throat. I felt stressed and angry all the time and complained about her constantly at home. Then something traumatic happened to me and she was my number one supporter. The people in our tribe may not believe as we do, but we need a tribe. We need supporters, community, and human interdependence.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It is so wonderful how happy you are. You are figuring it out and I think it is awesome !!!
    I guess my friends and I are all on the same page. We do not discuss the world, politics, the economy and all that stuff. We just talk about our lives,and honestly, like you, I am not that social right now . I am still online, I resell online, blog online, and still have my crafting/ reseller YouTube channel, but avoid the news, and watch positive things. My husband and I only watch positive things. We watch resellers we love, homesteaders that are just homesteaders, not preppers. Just gentle, sweet positive people living a healthy lifestyle . I keep a stack of books in the bathroom and around the house and plan to start going to the library every week with our oldest daughter and her kids. Over time , as you talked about them, I had bought all the books you loved so much about the depression and I am excited to start reading them.
    You commented in another blog post how the tv and computers and phones have stopped many people from reading. I can absolutely relate to that. I want to get back to my love of books. I am so grateful to you for that simple statement. It really woke me up.
    Thank you for showing how life can still be simple. I enjoy that about these blog posts. Even with my online life, I am going to work on living more simply and less digitally.

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  12. The message and tone of this blog is marvelous. We are creating a sanctuary where we live now. We have had enough of the information overload in this world. I feel so much better!

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  13. We are on opposite coasts. I am almost a decade older than you are. You are caring for children and I am helping with grandchildren. And we are living parallel lives of contentment. Thanks for the encouragement. Going to make some refrigerator pickles and hang laundry.
    Valerie in SC

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Yes to this! My husband and I have basically settled in with the fact, that everyone needs you to subscribe to some sort of team, due to folks living everyday of their lives, on screens. Wish I was close, we would hang out on your porch and drink coffee and discuss birds, flowers and veggies! Hard to find people, who don’t want to spend all their days, discussing click bait, gloom and doom!

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  15. Exactly, click bait, gloom and doom. And you are so right about subscribing to a team. I told Bali I feel like everyone’s trying to find out what you stand for right now in preparation for the great divide. Well, I just want rainbows, unicorns, coffee, and music.

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  16. And there is so much great stuff out there online. I learned everything from YouTube and had a great time making that channel. But I was realizing that I have to withdraw when going through a growth spurt. I do the deepest healing when I’m bored silly from not being online. I will go back and forth.

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  17. Yes, all wonderfully true. But right now a lot of people just want to isolate until things are not so dramatic. It is tiring. As for sheeples, I had no idea it was a cliche, I learned it from the boys. I am so uninvolved right now that I’m no longer hip to what is cool, not cool, ok, not ok, a cliche, not a cliche. Ah well, back to living in a dream state. I have people from all walks of life and political and religious backgrounds, and you are right, the ones you least expect to be there is there. Never cancel anyone out and never burn bridges, you may need to cross them one day.

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  18. “I care about the world, but not all that is going on is my business”. What a Great line Kate, I miss your videos, but your blog is wonderful! I read your book on my beach vacation and felt like you were there with me!! God Bless! I’m glad you are doing well!!!!

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