Thursday, October 10, 2013
I feel the temptation to apologise for my absence here on my little blog. I won't, though, as this blog was always intended to be merely a creative outlet for me, regardless of who may be reading along (although I love that you do, dear reader!), and lately my creativity has been on the wane. Not for any reason in particular, although spending portions of my days in front of the computer for uni diminishes any desire to spend my downtime in this way! Two holidays in the space of a month (Bali and Stradbroke Island) has kept me busy as well, and of course there is just the normal hum of busy days at home.
However, general busyness is not the only factor that has kept me away from this space. Increasingly, I have been feeling uncomfortable with my engagement with technology (particularly technology with screens) and have been examining the reasons for this.
I have a screen addiction. If I'm not sitting with my laptop on my knee, mindlessly surfing the internet, I am playing with my smartphone. If it's not email, it's Instagram, or reading blogs, or 'researching' god knows what. Sometimes, you'll find me attached to both the laptop AND my smartphone at the same time. Over time I have disentangled myself from a mind numbing attachment to Facebook (I no longer have an account as that is the only way I can control my use - Nath won't even tell me his password anymore as I kept hijacking his account!) and we no longer watch TV (footy finals aside). I can't get rid of my computer as I need it for uni but something had to change. My creative energy was hidden somewhere under the numbness of disengaging with screens. I checked my phone compulsively, from first thing in the morning until last thing at night. I used to love photography, but that passion had been reduced to snapping photos to upload immediately to Instagram, so that I could then obsessively and repeatedly check to see if anyone had 'lied' or commented. I've heard people refer to this as FOMO - the fear of missing out - but I believe that, for me at least, it's more than that. I think that it all comes from my need to be validated and approved of.
Our trip to Stradbroke Island was a wonderful, cathartic time of reflection. We left the kids with some very generous friends for the week which gave us plenty of time for thinking, talking and doing nothing. I realised I had been craving more slowness in my life, not numbness. Always flicking from one screen to another was not giving me this. I decided to 'downsize' from a smartphone, to a basic, talk and text only phone. No more Instagram, no more social media, no more distracted parenting. My laptop stays switched off and put away until I have a purpose for using it.
It has been only four days so far, but already I feel freer. I have purchased a secondhand digital SLR camera and have really enjoyed taking creative time out to take mindful pictures. It helps me slow down and appreciate the beauty around me. I am loving rekindling this old hobby of mine.
I feel more present with the children, less rushed, less distracted, less frustrated at their intrusion into my busyness. I feel like I have more time in the day, but really I am just using it more intentionally.
I'm not writing this to pass judgement on anybody else' use of screens - I'm actually jealous of people who have more restraint than I! But although I am not apologising for my absence, I thought a little explanation wouldn't go astray!