It’s hard to enjoy the fact that it’s May when the temperature hovers around 50 degrees and the rain feels more like sleet than drops of green growing goodness. Spring has sprung, but I think the season got tired and went back to bed for a few weeks of extra snuggles and dreaming. Out of shape like the rest of us, the comforting warmth turned its motivation for procrastination. It’s easy to do. In a world where there are as many priorities as there are buzzwords, and sales pitches fill our inboxes, eardrums and short term memory, it’s hard to stay focused on one thing for very long. Our culture has ADHD, and not the legitimate kind that makes even the most basic task difficult for adults and children, but the created, fabricated, hastily diagnosed and drugged kind. Even now, as I try to sit down and engage the words that have been building up in my right brain world, an email notification pops, I click and out of my literary mind I go for a stimulating chaotic ride through my inbox.
Yet, as much as I may complain about my digitally driven ADD, I am as much the culprit as I am the victim. Every share, like, retweet, repost that I haphazardly send out to the world creates another distraction rather than a world of knowledge. I’m the distracted and the distracter, and honestly, I’m feeling much like Spring does right now; exhausted by the influx of overstimulation. While Spring’s excuse is Global Climate Change, yet another worldwide consequence I am a culprit in, mine is mostly self-induced. I stay connected to phone as if it were a tank of oxygen. It is my lifeline, more so than my passion for, not addiction to, coffee. Yet, as I read one more email, like one more post, or impulsively purchase one more things I must need with my PayPal credit account, the colors around me turn to gray. The things I love lose their wonder and life luster. One more click leads to one more natural, wonderful joy in my world to lose its ability to dazzle me.
There is no balance in my priorities. As my seminary friends would say, “There is a disturbance in the force.” (Cause, let’s be honest, seminarians are notoriously Star Wars nerds.)
I’ve known this for a while. I’ve tried “unplugging” before. I’ll declare one evening that I’m going to do the “50 minute Phone Challenge,” where you leave your phone behind 50 minutes before bed and let it rest 50 minutes past when you wake up. This gets my husband’s eyes rolling and a sarcastic “Sure… Okay… Whatever you say” response. He knows that after a night or two of this I won’t be able to stand it. Like a child, I will nestle the phone next to my pillow, or beside the sofa arm, convincing myself that he won’t see me feed my digital addiction like it’s a box of thin mints from the freezer.
The only difference I can honestly see now is that I can’t focus on anything. If my phone beeps, or I think I hear it beep, during the middle of my workout, sorry Karena and Katrina, we are done for the day! Or when I am reading a really good book, or not so really good textbook, my mind goes to whatever crap mail might enter my inbox today with the blue dot of “new” next to it. Or maybe I want to write, pray, meditate or, heaven forbid, go through full range of asanas, but no, the to do list pops in my head, I see something that needs to be put away, or I think of the person I was supposed to call two days ago, but I got distracted, and it all falls into the fetal position in my cluttered office. At some point, enough has to be enough. I think May may be the best time to pull the plug and medicate my distraction with some good old-fashioned cold turkey.
So, you may not see me around as much in the online atmosphere. I’ll be filling up on things I like rather than “likes.” I may not be sharing much more than my writing and a few Instagram pics here and there, For those of you who want to stay more connected, or at least connected outside of social media updates, I’m just a phone call, letter or email away. The biggest thing I fear in doing this is the loss of connection, especially on an small island where we have few friends, but life is short, connection needs to be intentional and I need to take a break from scrolling. I’m searching for something, and I’m pretty sure it’s beyond the screen.
Balance and Priority.
I am setting my intention.
May the force be with you, and with me.