The Un-Post

A funny thing happened during my vacation.  I thought.  I thought a lot about a lot of things.  Actually, that’s a lie.  I thought a lot about one thing, mostly.  The rest of the time was spent not thinking about much at all.  It’s vacation.  Thinking has no place in vacation.  But I did think.  Like I said.  A lot.  What I thought about was this place.  The internet.  Twitter and Facebook and Google+ and email and IM and even this blog.  I thought about how it all doesn’t matter.  Because seriously.  It just doesn’t.

I mean, it’s a nice distraction most days, where you can be someone else if you ever wanted to change or be completely you if you don’t feel you can be you in real life or any hybrid of the two.  You can hide your true self or exaggerate it.  You can even be a dude if you’re a chick and vice versa if that floats your boat.  With the internet, there are no rules. There may be some sort of unspoken rules or even rules that get repeated ad nauseum, but who the hell could possibly enforce them?

And if the internet is where you earn your living, well then that’s a different tune altogether.  But for the vast majority of us it’s just an off-shoot of the rest of our lives.  An extra.  And sometimes, an intrusion.

Remember way back in the olden days when we didn’t have WiFi and smart phones and laptops?  When our memories were kept by actually remembering them and not by micro-documenting them with photo sharing and blogging and tweeting and updating your status to reflect exactly what you’re doing at every single given moment?  When we were actually present?  No phone shoved in our face, “talking” to people we don’t know and will probably never meet, sharing personal details of our lives with them.  Remember that?

I remembered those days this weekend.  I was in a place very, very special to me with people who are the most important in my life.  If you know me, you could guess where that was and who those people are.  I saw things that I’ve seen a million times before for the first time in a long time.  I really saw them.  And I smelled the smells and heard the sounds and breathed that air.  I can’t convey to you how amazing that air is.  I can’t blog about how my lungs felt, I can’t tweet a picture and have you understand what it felt like to actually be there, present, breathing the sweetest air I’d ever breathed before.  I can’t update my status with “wish you were here” because at that moment, I was there, not wishing anything would change.

There’s something to be said about stepping away sometimes.  I enjoy the hell out of Twitter and email is absolutely my preferred method of communication.  I’ve never been a face-to-face people person and so the internet has allowed me to open up and be vocal without actually having to open my mouth.  But then again, maybe I’m supposed to be a quiet person.  If that’s who I am naturally, why change that?  And so I stepped away this weekend and unplugged, just to give it a go.  Know what?  It felt bizarre and unfamiliar … and wonderful.

I’m going to do that more often.  I’m going to be here, with my family and by myself, not there, wherever it is you are.  Not forever, and not right this moment, but more often than I have been.  I’m going to start remembering to breathe this air and make memories that are just for me.  Not you, just me, and I urge you to do the same.  Put the phone down.  Remember what you’re doing instead of documenting.  Swim with your kids instead of Instagraming them swimming.  Inhale and ingest and absorb a sunset instead of tweeting about how beautiful it looks.

Obviously this will be nowhere near a permanent lifestyle change.  I still love Twitter.  And I love my Bubblegum, which is Instagram for Windows phones.  And above all things internetty, I still love this place.  I love telling stories, fiction and non, and I love telling them to you.  I love making things with words about my life and also not.  But more often than I did before I’m going to put the phone down.

I’m going to Eirinn’s soccer game tonight.  And that’s all you’re going to hear about that.

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17 thoughts on “The Un-Post

  1. Hope Eirinn is the next Abby Wambach…oh wait you’re Canadian…hope she has a great time

    I think you and i blogged about the same thing, sort of, today.

    standing ovation

  2. Amen.
    I was away for a week, blog free, tweet free, email free.
    Free.
    And present.
    It wasn’t my intent when leaving, rather it was a realization and a decision that some times in life are just too good to waste.

    @writewrds

  3. Loved this.

    It was interesting to “plug back in.” I learned a LOT being away about a lot of things. Real conversations aren’t limited to 140 characters. Talking to someone’s face is scary-anxiety causing, but only if that’s who you are. It’s even more interesting when, while you’re on break, your time is spent with people who really don’t know or care what in fuck a tweet is or why you’d even do it. I missed the interaction so I turned the computer back on. The best thing about being away? You realize who and what is important. I was just talking about this today – I’m not afraid of anyone, because, generally speaking, who the fuck are you, person all up in my grill picking a fight ON THE INTERNET? Sit the fuck down. Nobody gives a shit in real life. STOP SAYING WORDS.

    Anyway sorry to comment jack. Being away is liberating. Coming back was great. I recommend a good unplugging to everyone.

    That sounds hot and dirty.

  4. Yes. Yes, yes. I have been feeling the same way lately, especially because I have so much I want to say, but feel like I cannot. Writing used to be cathartic and healing and eye opening…and now it is just another way to hide. What is even worse is it let’s people hide and create the life they wish they were living.

  5. There is something about real life that just can’t be captured or shared online, and that is exactly how it should be. I have been taking my weekends “off” to just live in moments instead of writing/texting/tweeting/fb’ing about them… I enjoy them so much more! Good on you for putting things back in their place.

  6. Been feeling the same this summer now that my kiddos are home with me all day. Living life instead of documenting it all the time. Now I just pop in and see what’s happening once in a while. 🙂 Feels good.

  7. This reminds me of a conversation I had with my friend about a music festival we went to, well before the internet and social media and everything else related. Instead of looking at photos, or our tweets, we just had an email conversation back and forth about what we each remembered, and kept adding on other memories as the prior emails twigged other things for us. Totally awesome.

  8. Look at you, taking the weekend off already. Sneaky!
    I was looking at our wedding pictures the other day (circa 2004) and I noticed how, standing around outside the chapel, everyone was either looking at scenery or talking to each other. There were no phones out – no one was texting, checking in on fb, Instragramming…it was so lovely, and I was grateful we missed those details by a few years. Amazing how quickly the times, they are a-changin’.

  9. Ditto. I was away for a week. I think I posted one “away” post on Facebook. I was out of town for three days and didn’t log on to anything until I had been home for three days. Nobody even knew we were back. The phone didn’t ring. No pressing e-mails. And I was just there with my boys. When real life started again, I wanted to go back.

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