Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Saturday, February 08, 2014

In which I talk on the internet about not talking on the internet.

On January 19th my sugar pie honey bunch and I headed up to Denver for the long awaited, highly anticipated P!nk concert. We stayed in a semi-grimy No Tell MOtel because it was (cheap!) and close to the Pepsi Center so we could walk to the concert and wouldn't have to bother with parking. (The joint was so grungy, in fact, that the first room we were given lacked a toilet seat. Um, yeah. A toilet seat (!) So I went to call the front desk to notify them our bathroom was missing a rather imperative little somethin-somethin and the hotel phone was completely falling apart broken. That and there was this {obviously awesome $$} transvestite prostitute roaming the .5 star premises.)

Call me crazy, but I kind of loved it. It reminded me of when we were young. Only this time I kept thinking, if the Kilchers can live without an indoor toilet, I can totally hang with this. I'm an old fashioned, die hard {wannabe} homesteader woman, after all. Bring it, Ramada. I'm game for whatever you've got.

Anyhoo, let's get back to the concert, shall we? The doors to the arena opened at 6:30 and the opening band did not start until 8:00.

What took place in that hour an a half of waiting and people watching has, I'm afraid, scarred me for life.

I am not exaggerating when I tell you the only, virtually sole and solitary, lone activity folks utilized to pass the time was phone usage. Heads were down, lifted only to smile for the camera, then down again, fingers clicking, each person lost in their very own cyber space where they are the star and central force of the Social World of their making. It was a selfie extravaganza of epic proportions, if I ever saw one. And I have. It still haunts me. Young and old, it appeared as if not one was immune to the compelling urge to self photograph and display for all their friends to see.

Maybe it was just my current state of mind, but I was aghast.

Mostly because it hit too close to home.

I thought about my own life and how many days, times, hours, and instances I have spent there. Looking down, photographing, posting, photographing, posting, clicking away, shooing my loved ones off so I could continue online dialogue, peering into a screen rather than into their eyes, half listening, partially hearing their words, dividing my attention, distracted, perpetually distracted, preoccupied, craving some sort of external validation, feeding the will to be seen, heard, noticed, important by the outside world.

And I don't even own a smart phone.

What am I missing as I look down at my iPad instead of up? Who loses out when I am not fully engaged with my loved ones who are ever growing, ceaselessly changing, advancing, propelling themselves forward toward an eventual departure? When they are gone and I am in my quiet home alone, will I regret the hours and days and weeks that I squandered in a social media fueled daze? As I make Christmas cookies with them, must I really post pictures which actually takes me away from the activity or would it be enough to simply sit? Together. In unison. Focused. Minus distraction.

This reminds me, my daughters pooled their money together to buy an iTouch.

Who am I to teach them to control its usage so as not to steal the precious consciousness of their moments away if I am not doing it myself? My preaching will go no where. My example will speak volumes.

And so I have sat with my life. In as much quietness as a home with 9 occupants can hold. Engaging. Embracing the moments as they come.

It has stilled my mind and satisfied my longing for true purposefulness and freedom and loosening the tie that too often binds me to compulsive checking and posting and searching for a Something new, something novel, something intriguing or controversial or entertaining or exciting to drive away mental boredom and titillate the senses, to pass the time.

Don't get me wrong, I am for progress and I am aware this is and will be the world in which we live. The technological age has brought enormous, significant advancements of which I freely, gratefully partake each and every day of my life. But I also know, beyond a doubt, that this relatively new addiction of online usage, with which we all must contend to some extent, can callously rob us of the simple gifts that are before our eyes and cause us to mournfully miss the face to face beauty in our very own real lives. It can lay claim to our hours and demand the attention of our minds and occupy parts of ourselves that might be better off kept for what truly matters most to us.

I don't know how long it will last because I also find tremendous value in the documenting and recounting and reflection of our moments and years. Our blog books recount instances in our lives that I would have long ago forgotten if not for their documentation, and they are some of my most treasured possessions. There are lots of things I'd like to write about and aspects of our lives I'd like to share to hopefully encourage, inspire, commiserate, or simply bond with online friends and family. I have just felt that at this time a fast was in order. Especially in terms of other forms of social media.

And what I have seen is that when I slow myself enough to take it all in, my honest-to-goodness life is new and novel and intriguing and controversial and entertaining. Connecting with my beloveds is pretty downright exciting. When I mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, unreservedly invest in the joyful and hard and fun and wonderful and sometimes difficult and often challenging blissfully exquisite and tumultuous and triumphant and demanding content that fills my days, I am better able to soak up the goodness, and the bounty of my most blessed lot.

I kind of like looking up at it all, being part of it, fully immersed as it passes by. Even the tough parts.
When I whoeheartedly engage, boredom really has no room here.

And that's a lovely thing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do not let my husband see this! :)

I have seriously missed seeing you online but I suppose that's because we don't see enough of each other in person. We should fix that! Glad to see you posting again even if it ends up being less frequently.

- sandy n

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