I just spent two months away from the online world, as much as possible. I was gone so long that I forgot my WordPress and Twitter passwords.
I have to admit that this was difficult at first. My mind didn’t want to slow down. It was hard (almost impossible) to sit and watch a movie or read a book without the constant interruption/distraction of online chatter.
But after a few days, I settled into a feeling of calmness. And I realized, with a shocked wonder, that it had been a long time since I had felt so unstressed and relaxed, a long time since I’d sat and daydreamed or (better yet) simply sat with my feelings.
I’m going to repeat that because I think it’s a biggie: I sat with my feelings. I sat with my uncomfortable and awkward and insecure and angry feelings, and I didn’t pull out my phone or computer and immediately distract myself. I sat there with them and acknowledged them and felt them and you know what? It was okay. It was good. My feelings didn’t kill or diminish me. In fact, they led me in some damn good directions.
So, for two months I basically disconnected. I posted on Facebook once a week or so, to keep myself in the algorithms current or whatever the hell it they use, and I posted on Twitter a couple of times. But I didn’t blog or read blogs. I stayed away from most newspapers and news magazines (and all the Trump bullshit and political bullshit and local government bullshit). I didn’t worry about what everyone else was doing.
I slowed down. I lived my life, get it?
And it was quite lovely, as if I were connecting with a part of myself I had lost years ago, the part that feeds on my own thoughts, my own emotions, my own perceptions, the part I find when I run and swim, those long hours of no one else around, just me and the water or the woods and mountains.
Living like that for most of the time, day after day, made me realize how much the online world has changed me and also flattened me, turned me into someone more worried about how I looked to those outside of me than my own self. It’s as if social media caused me to view myself in third-person when, damn it, I want to live my life in first-person, thank you very much.
I also realized how much the online world pushes me to live in the future, to plan things I want to do, things I want to buy, publications where I might send work (and much of this work I haven’t even written yet), races I want to run, training plans I want to follow, etc., etc., etc.
This year I want to stay in the present as much as possible. I want to live my life like that quote from Little Miss Sunshine, “Do what you love and fuck the rest.”
This is what I hope to do: The things I love. And fuck the rest, fuck the “shoulds” and the “what will people thinks” and the obligations and the mind-sucking tasks I do not because I like them or because I benefit from them but because I’m afraid not to do them or feel guilt-tripped into doing them or feel duty-bound to do them, blah, blah, blah.
But enough talk. Here’s a little bit of what I’ve been up to these past two months:
And (drum roll here) we closed on our townhouse.
Yes, I am now the co-owner of a 1,065-square-foot townhouse in Tucson. We moved in on a Monday and had no furniture, so we bought an air mattress from Walmart and two lawn chairs from Ace Hardware (“Ace in the place with the friendly hardware woman.”).
Fun times. We furiously shopped for good deals, ran, hiked in the mountains and just sat in our yard and listened to the birds. Heaven-ly.
Then I had to come back to Alaska because, you see, we have a dog and paying a petsitter can become a bit pricey. And also because the contractor will be
tearing up doing some work on the townhouse–there’s water damage from the last owners plus a bunch of other things that need fixing.
So I’m back in Alaska. It was 4 degrees the first morning I got up: Brrrrr.
So that’s my life. I read a lot of really good books, which I hope to highlight in the next post, and had a few writing struggles plus one big epiphany (I used to hate, hate, hate that word in creative writing workshops, usually proclaimed with a lofty tone, ‘It’s a nice piece but there’s no epiphany.’). But, I had myself an epiphany and hope it leads to something good because, damn it, I’m kind of stuck in a writing purgatory lately.
And so I shall leave you with this: