Since several things in my life went cataclysmically wrong at the same, I found myself taking an enforced break from certain things. Since doing so, I have been all too aware, acutely aware, of how little TIME there is.
Louis Armstrong was lying when he said “We have all the time in the world”
We do NOT have all the time in the world, Louis… at best we have a couple of stolen hours at the end of the working day. It is the reason we have to book foreign holidays- to claw back some of those precious hours that things like jobs, families and the Internet snatch from us.
Notice how I included “The Internet” in that holy trinity up there. It is not so much that I consider the Internet to be one of the reasons for living or anything, it is certainly revolutionary and impactful upon our lives in a way I cannot possibly dissect in this blog post. However, the internet, when it is not being revolutionary or impactful upon our lives is also a massive drain on our time.
It’s only a Website
I am not going to laud the wonder of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Wikipedia, Youtube and all the other sites I visit on a near daily basis, the fact we know of them enough to reel them off with such alarming speed says it all here. As someone who has taken a (now potentially permanent) break from her favourite site (Twitter) for well over a month now I have had a lot of time on my hands. Time that..sure, I have refocused and spent more wisely on other things like work, real life friends and my health. My health, being something I was ignoring, tweeting into the void bolstered the reality of what was really going on with my body and mind. Without it to distract me I was forced to tackle it, head on. The simple freedom comes from not logging into somewhere, and having to wade through the exhausting and overwhelming feed of constant babble that was a bit like white noise. Twitter is something I still miss and continue to do so, in the context of genuine interaction with like minded folk. But twitter, like underlying white noise, is something that you can only really appreciate in it’s absence. Since I deactivated Tweetdeck I have…. well, I have accomplished a lot. Work, mostly. Though I struggle with where to blurt the thoughts in my head, as the days turn into weeks, I still have not logged in. If you are reading this post via Twitter it is because of the handy WordPress auto-updates.
Facebook, a place I actively dislike, has proved useful for putting work my way, so I still use that. As a bit of a social experiment, last week I didn’t use Spotify and tried very hard not to waste time track hopping on YouTube. I listened to RECORDS AND READ BOOKS. Sometimes it seems like there are a million reasons to keep us plugged in, which becomes counterproductive. The biggest difference can be as simple as not having updates coming to your smartphone. If you are a frustrated writer then think about the amount of words you waste on lovingly crafted Tweets, (in my case, several volumes) perhaps you are a songwriter who is wasting time better spent with a guitar. Maybe you are an artist who is typing, not painting.
I never really appreciated the amount of damage procrastination can do, the truth is, NOBODY can give 100% if they are obsessively socially networking all of the time, nobody.. not even Stephen Fry. Who knows what those people who save “funny” things to their drafts to post at the optimum moment could be accomplishing if they didn’t have their nose stuck in their timeline? Write a screenplay already.
I’m not saying I won’t ever go back. It’d odds on that in a month or so you will be hearing about my cat, trapped wind and single girl status via that medium of 140 characters again. I miss the banter and the silliness, I miss my friends and I even miss the egos. Ironic that Facebook introduced the aptly named “Timeline” recently, somewhere else to fritter away the hours. More disturbing still is how Facebook has become a literal real-time reminder of the ticking clock. A glance at my own reveals births, marriages, deaths, reunions, all in one confusing and constantly updating stream. We can’t escape the passage of time, but we can control, to some small extent, whether we want to be a spectator or a participant.