The past few weeks of holidays and visiting family and minor emergencies of illness and injuries and broken-down cars and blizzards has meant that I’ve been much less connected from the world than usual. Without time to edit Book 6 (which I’m actively doing again right now, never fear) I wasn’t on my laptop nearly as much, which meant that when I needed to take a break, or look up a reference, I wasn’t trolling the internet seeing what nonsense has been going on.
And it was . . . marvelous.
Think about it—to not know what irked thousands of people that hour? To miss the tantrums over nothing? To skip seeing who all was offended or marginalized or thought everyone else in the country is too pampered and here’s a thousand reasons why?
For those few weeks of less-connectedness, I was at peace, even though I was fending off massive whirlwinds of worry.
But not worrying about the world and its opinions was . . . heaven.
Now those weeks are over, and now I’m back to hard-core laptopping, and I find myself pulled stupidly back into the discussions, the comments, the articles, the self-righteousness in every corner, and I wonder . . . How do I regain that lovely peace I had so recently?
I know part of my problem: FOMO—Fear Of Missing Out. I’m a recovering news hound, desperate to know everything that’s happening everywhere, because if I don’t know what’s happening, how can I be prepared for what may (and likely may not) happen to my family in the future?
I also have an obsession with reading everything that crosses my way. In the car, I glance at every billboard, every street sign, even graffiti. My eyes have to take it all in. It’s even worse when I’m on social media. Every blasted headline, word, image, comment, etc. I feel compelled to read. I’ve been like this since kindergarten: someone took the time to write it, I need to honor their efforts to read it.
It sounds noble, but it’s utterly absurd.
So I’m sincerely asking: how do you train your mind to hold back the avalanche of too much information, especially when you work on a computer every day? How do you discipline yourself to look to see only if your daughter responded to your message, and not get caught up in a circular debate elsewhere about what constitutes religious persecution?
I don’t have a smart phone, blessedly, otherwise I’d be on overload all the time. We also don’t have cable/dish/TV, but watch only Netflix and Amazon Prime, which gives us a great deal of control over what never gets into our house.
But that blasted laptop, which is my best friend and confidante, is also like a gossipy fishwife, tempting me with news about some frivolous or important issue (don’t know until I’ve read it), or some images of an awesome volcanic eruption (which I need to show my volcano-obsessed son) or something stupid some celebrity said (I don’t know what actress said at whatever award ceremony, nor do I want to; the only celebrity news I ever pay attention to has to deal with Star Wars or Harry Potter alum).
I’ve narrowed down my problems to Facebook (I don’t understand Twitter, I’m too old to “get” the other social media pages, I limit myself to visiting only 10 posts on Pinterest and go there ONLY if I have a legitimate need, and I have a Google Plus account that I visit maybe once a year, which seems that’s as often as anyone else visits Google Plus) and a couple of news forums (or those pretending to be, like Yahoo).
Oh, but they call to me. And I feel guilty if I don’t know what they’re crying about, or what’s happening with them, as if I’m doing something wrong by not being connected, as if I owe it to the world to join in the melee.
But then I’m annoyed with myself for falling for their inane click-bait titles, or wasting precious time on someone’s ill-thought-out tirade.
So tell me—how do you decrease your involvement in nonsense so that you can be more connected to the real sense of world of home and family and neighborhood instead?
How have you pulled heaven a bit more to earth?
I desperately want that. (And yes, I’m realizing that my posts for 2017 so far have consisted of asking for advice; this may be a new trend since I’m not clever enough to come up with something earth-shattering each week.)
“There’s nothing in this world I want anymore,” Perrin said. “Nothing except to take my family and leave it.”
~Book 4, The Falcon in the Barn