I keep wanting to write a new entry but then sit here, with the cursor blinking, and don’t have much to say.
Everything seems too personal these days, which is such a huge change for me. I want to share things, but not so much that I’m not keeping a part of myself *for* myself, if that makes any sense. Maybe I’m starting to value my own thoughts and feelings a little bit more, which is good, I think.
I’ve read two really good books lately (“Beyond the Trees: A Journey Alone Across Canada’s Arctic” and “The Stars in Our Pockets: Getting Lost and Sometimes Found in the Digital Age”) and it’s making me think about what role I want the internet to play in my own life going forward.
Both books feature authors who took “breaks” from technology – their breaks were treks into the wilderness but they both shared profound experiences of what life was like without technology, and I was deeply moved and inspired to see what *my* life might look like if I stepped away from (most of) the internet.
I am dependent on some aspects of life online so just going completely off the digital grid wouldn’t work. Email has to stay, but I have been very diligent in limiting my email to only what is absolutely necessary or stress-free. I don’t text much, except with Tom, so that’s not an issue. I backed off from social media a few years ago- I removed my account from Facebook shortly after the 2016 election and I rarely use either of my Instagram accounts anymore. I don’t browse Instagram at all because it taps into some deep self-loathing stuff that I’m finally acknowledging and working on. I never got the hang of Twitter.
Reddit was something I resisted for a long time because of their role in the 2016 election, but when I started playing No Man’s Sky earlier this year, the best resource for the game was a subreddit, so I gave in. But now I’m finding myself a little overwhelmed by reddit in general and I finally put a block on it the other day because I have a bad habit of scrolling endlessly on the main page when I am tired or procrastinating, and it never makes me feel good.
I also blocked YouTube because there’s nothing on there that really makes me think “Wow, I’m so glad I watched that!” (well, besides コムアイの原点 aka Re:SET – that was absolutely inspiring). My main media preferences these days are books, music (suddenly obsessed again), paper magazines, and Netflix- I LOVE foreign shows, especially Korean dramas and “Terrace House” from Japan.
I don’t know. The internet is so useful- I mean it’s genius. But it’s also so toxic and huge and overwhelming. I think as I get older, I find myself really wanting to narrow down what I spend my time and focus on.
I’m also very tired of being influenced, directly and indirectly.
I am grateful for the internet, though. Especially those early years when it was so teeny tiny- I’m so nostalgic for that! I’m working through some emotional “stuff” from those years (I was in college/grad school) and doing this has made me realize there were a few people I met online during that time whose gestures of friendship made my world a safer and brighter place. I find myself wishing I could go back and time and say “thank you for being here for me right now” right in those moments because I’m absolutely positive I wasn’t aware of the impact that support had on me. It’s only looking back on it that I realize how lucky I was to have someone there for me during those really difficult times- there are so many people who *don’t* have that. It breaks my heart. The world is so connected but people are more divided and lonely than ever. Something went wrong along the way…
But reaching out now to thank someone for something they did over twenty years ago is very tricky. Ultimately, I’m not comfortable digging around for contact information that isn’t public. I respect that- I’ve become ultra aware of how important personal privacy is and I’m not going to invade that so I get to say “thank you” for something I should have been grateful for while it was happening. Plus, there’s a good chance they might have no idea who I am, or our interactions may have been just sort of mixed in with the rest of their memories, or they are just over that point of their life. I mean, bottom line is that I’m easy enough to find, and if they wanted to connect with me in all these years between then and now, they would have.
I think I’m probably just being nostalgic as I work on closure with the past and I start thinking more about the future, and what I want to focus my time and heart on. I do miss having friendships like that, though. I hope in the future there will be opportunities for me to develop comfortable close friendships again- the kind that just *happen*. Or does that become impossible the older you get? I’m hoping the opportunity to have friendships is one of those things we get back after we move. The “median age” where we live right now is 66 (from Wikipedia: “the age that divides a population into two numerically equal groups – that is, half the people are younger than this age and half are older”).
It’s probably just nostalgia and perspective- as I look back at my 19-year old self and realize how much that I actively hid from even my closest friends at the time, I realize that there there were a few people in my life who might have seen through it and made an effort to consistently be there for me. I guess I just want them to know it mattered, and their kindness, friendship, and support literally kept me going, and that I thank them for that, even if it is over twenty years later.
“I used to write…
I used to write letters
I used to sign my name.
I used to sleep at night
Before the flashing lights settled deep in my brain.
But by the time we met
The times had already changed.
So I never wrote a letter-
I never took my true heart, I never wrote it down.
So when the lights cut out
I was lost
standing in the wilderness downtown.
Now our lives are changing fast
Now our lives are changing fast
Hope that something pure can last
Hope that something pure can last.
It seems strange
How we used to wait for letters to arrive.
But what’s stranger still
Is how something so small could keep you alive.”
– Arcade Fire