Disconnect to get connected?

Where have I been? On a media diet, so to speak. I got inspired by The Winter of our Disconnect by Susan Maushart. The trouble with reading is I get inspired a lot and find myself making home made ice cream that requires steeping tea bags in milk and standing at the stove stirring milk and sugar to custard consistency, which can take the better part of an hour. Or dreaming about hiking the Medeterranean with a seven year old and a nine year old. Wait. That's a nightmare. At any rate, reading can put crazy ideas into your head and when one sticks....watch out. So the media diet. Ms. Maushart is a warrior mom if I ever heard of one. She has three teen-agers that she has raised mostly on her own, and upon a re-reading of Walden she decides life as they know it has to stop! She was sleeping with her I-phone and her laptop and found this more appealing and less work than any potential suitor. Whoops....trouble. So off she goes to rid her home of cell phones, lap tops, tv's, and all manner of gaming stations. For six months. Did I mention she has three teen-agers? The idea behind all of this is that as much as they are connected in the digital age, real-time conversation and real-time connection were at an all-time low. The multi-tasking that so many of us revere was playing havoc on the ability to form complete sentences at dinner time- if there was a dinner time. An eerie blue glow emmanated from the bottom of her kids' bedroom doors late at night and it wasn't from night lights. So she sought to get her family back and that is as far as I've gotten. In the meantime, I have simply tried to limit my own computer time and am trying to notice how I feel about my own day and my own life. Do I feel less conneced? Not so far. I feel less stressed, for sure. I am not agonzing every hour about my friends in Wisconsin, I am not compulsively checking the weather, and I did not once peak at Justin Bieber's new do because I knew how limited my time was. I made holiday reservations and tried to write real e-mails to people rather than stalk old friends on Facebook. I had to force myself to stay on the task at hand and was not all that surprised at how hard it was. You can't google one thing without another coming to your attention. And I am itching for American Idol, a real sad admittance-one I can hardly believe I am putting out there. But so it goes. When Thoreau trounced through the woods, he felt he was getting in touch with real life by saying good-bye to the distractions of every day living in modern society. But he was also getting in touch with himself. All that techology can really distract ourselves from....ourselves. Crazy, right? Maybe Thoreau and Ms. Maushart are braver than even I originally thought. If you can stand being in your head and comfortable with your thoughts...now that is a real connection. No wonder this media diet is scary.

1 comment:

  1. Your plan sounds so much more realistic and helpful than Maushart's. I'm always troubled by those extremists--going from way too much "connection" to eliminating it completely. I agree with your implications completely: recognition of what we enjoy about email, tv, etc., while maintaining awareness of how much time we really want to devote to it.

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