One day last week I was driving to work and felt like a million thoughts were rushing around in my brain. I felt distracted and anxious as I mentally prepared for the average work day ahead of me. There was nothing out of the ordinary going on that day so why was I so worried? I turned off the radio and felt slightly calmer but still stressed. I spent the rest of the drive in prayer, asking God to reveal some of my "issues" to me during the day,
Here are some of my thoughts:
- I have been uninvested lately because a few things are out of balance. I'm not sure which adjustment will put things back in balance but I cannot continue on "same old, same old"
- I waste a lot of time. I'm blaming Facebook in this case because I come home, check e-mail, log on, play a game or two, catch up in the lives of all of my "friends," etc. The real thing I'm doing is taking a mental break and not thinking.
- I will find the time I "need" or "don't have" if I stop wasting time.
- Filling up empty time with new tasks I don't enjoy will not help. I need to prioritize and to spend more "doing nothing" time with my kids.
- Perhaps one of the harder lessons I've been learning is that I've given up on some of my goals. I don't think I've forgotten goals, I think I'm struggling with the fact that I'm going in a different direction than many people around me. I don't know if I have changed or what, but I find myself less connected with people I was close friends with previously.
All these things reminded me of a time when I just graduated college. I was getting these incredible headaches all the time and I went to get it checked out. I asked the doctor if I had super sensitive hearing or if there was something wrong. She said that she didn't think anything was wrong, but perhaps my training as a musician was affecting the way I process things. She explained that most people, if they were in a cafeteria or restaurant would just be paying attention to/hearing the conversation with the person they were talking to. I will hear that conversation, the noise of all the rest of the restaurant, and if I want to- the individual conversations of anyone anywhere in the room. I do not block out sound. I can, if I'm focusing on one, but normally there's a whole lot of sensory input.
Normally, I thrive on energetic, busy, lots going on situations- but I think lately it has been draining. I am paying attention to everything at the same time and not turning off the voices I don't need to be hearing. (I am also not paying proper attention all the time to the people I should be listening to, honestly.) It just makes me feel like I'm going crazy. So, I've decided to cut back on some "noise" in life by leaving Facebook for a month to see if it makes a difference.
I love Facebook because it keeps me in touch with many, many people that I don't see often. It introduces me to new ideas from some of the penpalling and art groups I'm in. I can see daily events from friends who live far away or get prayer requests for immediate needs. I learn new things about people that I don't know well, like what they like to do or what their holidays are like. I see new places of the world. But, I also waste time. I get annoyed with people who are friends but constantly being aggressive about certain topics. I follow interesting articles and keep linking to other interesting things. I am connected to people who "friended" me but don't give me the time of day in real life, I have unfollowed people who obsessively post about every aspect of life or everything they have ever thought is worth sharing (cat pictures anyone?) and then I feel guilty about it. So, I'm taking a break. Will I feel completely disconnected and out of touch? Probably.
Here's what I'm nervous about- will I feel more lonely? I probably will, which brings me to another problem. Why, when we are "connected" to people on the internet, do we feel like we are included? Have friendships degraded so much that a "like" on a picture means more than a phone call? Are you really friends at all if the only contact you have is online? Does sharing glimpses of your every day life make people actually care about what is going on? I have been reading articles about "extending your influence." I have determined that I don't want to extend my influence. God put me here in my life for a purpose and I don't think that He intended for me to be blogging to thousands of people or always being part of a large group. I think that's part of what I like about penpalling. Every letter I write is designed just for that 1 person after I have intensely listened to their thoughts, processed what I want to say and responded. Maybe you are reading because you're one of the people I'm supposed to somehow make a connection with. I'm sure I will notice a huge drop in correspondences when I'm not online- out of sight out of mind, you know? However, I'm sure I will also catch up with some people who make an effort to stay in touch. I will reevaluate Facebook after the month. I think I really will miss celebrating with people about the good times in life and being reminded of everybody's birthday. lol.
I desire more relationships that are two-way, genuine, personal friendships. I desire to make the most of my time and to make a difference. I wish to give myself more fully to things I feel I have been called for. I want to take more responsibility with some things I'm always procrastinating doing that should be done. It's okay to not fit into expectations that others have set for me if they do not line up with what I feel God wants from me. All of this is not saying that I don't need to change at all to accomplish what I'm looking for. I definitely need to and I have not been a great friend to a few people I can think of off the top of my head. I just need a reboot. So, please feel free to reach out with a comment, phone call, postcard, or letter this month. I will keep you updated on how things are going.