I’m on a facebook fast since mid-February. I was feeling a bit addicted to checking it and, while I like aspects of it (a few meaningful reconnections and occasional insights into friends’ daily lives), I was frustrated with much of it. Still, I was unable to stop checking it at least twice a day. So, I’m experimenting. Not plugging in to determine what I really gain from using it. To find out what reducing in this area of my life could mean.
This week, I read an interesting blog by Leo Babauta on How to Reclaim Your Attention that nicely discusses the pull of electronic distractions. He says, “…what you pay attention to becomes your reality. If you watch and read the news all the time, you will become obsessed with the latest crises. If you watch and read about celebrities, your life will revolve around them. If you socialize on social networks all day long, this will become your world. If instead, you choose to give your attention to work you’re passionate about, that you feel is important, that will change your life and the world in some small way … this will become your life.”
Which is just what I was thinking when I took the break. It’s a little hard not to get caught up in the trap of needing to stay “in the know” and “in the now” of what’s happening globally with virtual connections. Yet in my pursuit to simplify, I discovered a sense of liberation in not trying to manage so much physical stuff. Moving to a smaller place forced a reassessment about why I kept what I kept and what I really wanted to have in my life. And now, in narrowing my focus for how I spend evenings and weekends, I’m beginning to feel more liberated about time. I don’t have it all figured out. But as I determine what (fewer) pursuits I desire to give my attention too, I am less bogged down by what I “should” do or what I might be missing out of all the choices there are to do with my time. And I’m sure in the end, social networking will be a much smaller part of my day, while I seek to spend more time outdoors, with friends, writing and engaging in society itself.
(by the way…if you’re reading this via facebook, I won’t see any comments you post unless you comment via this blog. At least not for a few more weeks.)