In college, I pretty much lived online. I mean, I very, very much lived with and surrounded by friends— but I also lived on my phone via (slow method) texting— or maybe— it’s quite possible the droid with the keypad was out by then? (I’m old, sorry guys). You know, I’ve heard how phones are like extra limbs now— and I truly believe it and see it. For me, I guess it’s an extra limb, because it’s like the lightweight camera that fits in my back pocket– but I could lose the internet and cellular capabilities and only feel lost for a few hours or so until I adjusted to the change. Facebook was brand new— like, braaaaaand new in my college online years. My school was one of the first schools to be part of the new Facebook. And instant messenger? Remember that? I was on it. I had a blog then— and probably wrote in that almost daily too. For me, it was very much entertainment, connection, but really and truly— a fear of missing out. I didn’t want to go to bed early, or wake up too late– because I wanted to be up doing whatever it is my friends were doing. It felt like my world would just suck or collapse if I went to bed early and something ridiculous, or fun, or ridiculously fun happened and I missed it because I made the mistake to choose sleep. This was of course ten years ago now.
When I look around now— it still feels like that is very much real, and more a part of many peoples worlds— depending on where you look of course. I still have a big, steady group of friends who honestly, probably don’t read my blog, have never signed up for twitter, and maybe visit instagram a few times a month—- if they have instagram at all. While I don’t think I would ever enjoy to step that far away from online interconnection— I do think, that those friend’s day to day, though much different than mine, seems very nice. I’ve mentioned it before— somewhere– if not here, than instagram, but I became heavily dependent on my phone– dare I say addicted to my phone in the days of breast-feeding. Hours alone with a silent baby, and not much else around me, I sat on Facebook and twitter to connect with something outside my living room and bedroom. Then instagram came and I got sucked in even more. It was another thing to look at— to scroll through—- to connect to– and quickly, beyond boredom, social media became a priority. And it was like I was back in my college days, fearing the fear— I was scared that I was missing out. I made sure to spend as much time scrolling back as far as I could to see everything I could see. If I stepped away from my phone too long— what would happen? Would I miss conversations? Or pictures? Or what? Really, what I guess I would miss would just be a routine that I had grown accustomed to.
Admittedly, my family does rely on the internet and the world around it for some of our income, but even if we didn’t, I wouldn’t turn it off. The photo taking, the documenting, and even the occasional spit out of thoughts and ideas is something I truly enjoy and have done for myself long before the internet blew up to what it is today and long before I knew I could make a penny from it. I’ve made some truly remarkable relationships through this space— with people who are now part of my everyday life– people I would be sad not to know. And I’ve made connections with wonderful readers that I wouldn’t have without this space. I’ve said a million times and I’ll say it a million more, but I’m thankful to the people who are part of my life (silent and not) through blog. I wouldn’t change it for the world. But what I have learned in the past few months— and maybe years— is that it is okay to step away and not fear missing out. I still check in on a handful of blogs every (or every other) day— and I use instagram almost daily, while I’ll only really scroll through instagram at least every couple days. I answer emails as often as I possibly can (I never skip those) and I do try to text friends and family back when I get a free minute— usually at the end of the day, but I’ve learned that I’m not necessarily missing out if I miss something for an hour or a few days—- that I can follow back up shortly after and that my world won’t crumble if I don’t know why everyone is doing, or wearing, or eating. My parents grew up without a cell phone and I spent my first 16 years of my life without a cell phone and I never, for a second felt as if I was missing out. Relationships do take work, they’re two sided, and I know the world is changing and I can’t stop it, but relationships go far deeper than buttons on a text pad– they pick up or slow down because we’re all having pretty awesome and busy lives— and I am too. I document, I share and sometimes if I’m lucky I strike gold on a connection and relationship. The internet is great, but I don’t fear missing out— we’re all so lucky to have a life off of it too.
The past few weeks has left me with a lot of thoughts— of what I love most about the internet and what I love most about my life. I had the ridiculously amazing pleasure of having a long time internet friend fly out and visit me. It reinforced the amazing feelings I have of this space. With Kathleen, we may not talk everyday and sometimes we go weeks without chatting, but a friendship has been easy. I live it everyday with so many far away friends, but her coming here has shown me how powerful relationships can be from a distance— even without actually meeting. And when you both do the same dead lizard expression at the same time— sometimes you know, the internet can be magic. I’m lucky to have faraway friends like this— and everyday friends I’ve also met through this space. It’s one of the reasons that I do stay and don’t ever want to give up technology. The following week, with me stuck in bed with really, basically nothing to do but sit on my phone has shown me how much I’ve changed throughout the years. To sit and do nothing but stare at my phone and the internet all day has proven to be self-torture, even with the time to “talk” (type). I do not fear missing out like I once did— I fear not doing enough. With the exception of last week, I think I can say I’ve finally found a healthy balance with this space and with that ghost limb we all carry around. I still make connections, make friends with readers, admire and read many other blogs/bloggers, but my happiness truly exists in the life I’m out doing away from a screen—- while the connections I make in-between are a very lucky bonus. I’m truly fortunate to have both.
ps. this is one of the few almost normal photos we have together:
we learned: we’re not good at taking photos together.
-the only time I really have bagels in my house is when I have guests. I then basically make them live off bagels because I’m so excited to have them.
-alex will always be a better host than me (but I knew that, this just re-confirmed that).
-I finally have a friend who is shorter than me!
-yes, from time to time, I will meet online people who turn out to be truly crappy or fake people, but it’s worth it to keep meeting people, some are real gems. I have a lot of gems.
-kathleen and I are soul sisters.
I hope everyone had an amazing weekend. My face is starting to feel better, a chill air came, alex has tomorrow off too, and we spent a lot of time outdoors and with friends. It was great. Happy November and new week, friends. Thank you again for being here– not sure how I got so lucky with this one <3