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.