Tuesday, March 8, 2011

We Were on a BREAK!

Friends, I have a lover. And his name is Twitter.

Some people can dabble with Twitter and are able to be moderate about it. I? Am decidedly not one of those people. I tweet while I’m nursing Gabe, while I’m driving, first thing in the morning, before I fall asleep, while we’re watching a movie, when I’m changing Gabe’s diaper, when I’m talking to Mike, while I’m eating, at work, instead of blogging, instead of emailing, instead of finishing the Joy Equation.

It’s a bit of a problem.

There was a time, a few years ago, that I cut myself off. I quit Twitter late one night.

I rejoined a month or two later, but with a sense of moderation.

Twitter is fabulous. It enables me to connect with real-life friends, other moms, and countless awesome bloggers. I’ve found out about most major current events from the past two years from Twitter (Mumbarak stepping down, Michael Jackson’s death, the Oscars...you know, important stuff.). I’ve gotten feedback about clothes, advice about dealing with a teething baby, and support during trying times. Some days, Twitter is my connection to others.

I feel silly talking about Twitter when I know a lot of you probably don’t get it; don’t see the appeal or why it would be a problem. And I get it. I know that living some of my life online is abnormal; having true, wonderful friends that I’ve met online makes me a weirdo to some of you.

For the next forty days of Lent, I’ll be stepping away from Twitter in hopes that doing so makes my time online just a little bit more productive and fruitful; one less shiny, distracting thing to spend my time checking. And in hopes that spending less time online enables me to be even a smidge more present.

I so struggle with being present.

I was thinking about doing this, and stumbled upon a podcast about our fondness for technology last week that confirmed my inkling. I need to be more present in my life.

A professor named Sherry Turkle wrote a book about how teenagers are ‘Alone Together,’ since they’re all on their cell phones or computers, even while hanging out together.

I am embarrassed how much I identified with the description of the teenagers :
“…interrupting the life as it's being lived in order to share with people who aren't even there...”
That line right there? Talking to my soul, people. My. Soul.

I have a penchant for being distracted and needing to be constantly entertained. I peruse Twitter and Facebook while I pump, watch television shows on my laptop as I clean, listen to podcasts when I drive to work, and blast my favorite songs while I play with Gabe. Noise. Always. Everywhere.

Though I appreciate and bask in silence, I rarely intentionally create the silence.
“And that's really the concern here, is whether we're all so busy communicating that we're not learning how to be alone with ourselves in a way that's constructive, in a way where we kind of know the boundaries of ourselves.”
While it’s generally not healthy or desirable for me to not be able to handle being present – whether to the task at hand or the person I’m with – it’s even more important to me now that I am a mother. The amount of impact I have on Gabe’s life is awesome and terrifying all at once. The author discussed at length the ways that children were negatively impacted by their parents’ obsession with technology. How parents texted while driving, checked Facebook while reading them a bedtime story, and read emails while pushing them on a swing at the playground.
“…when I interview children, for the years and years that I've studied kids, you know, for this book, the thing they complain about most is they feel the technology is the competition”
I don't want to be that mom. Not now, not in two years, not ever. And I think I might be becoming that mom, so I need to step back. 

I realize this is all about a bit deep. I really don’t take myself all that seriously, but I ultimately do need to learn how to be instead of do; how to practice moderation and spending my time working on things that will bring me happiness.

So, I shall.

To a fruitful, present Lent.


(I'll still be blogging, texting, and emailing - I find those things require more patience and intention. I'll also set up my feed to post through Twitter, since I know I rely on Twitter to let me know when my friends update their blogs.)
blog comments powered by Disqus