Time For Blowing Bubbles

Blue Sky Bubble

I think most who read this blog regularly are aware of my intense frustration at not having a working internet connection.  Since Saturday, I have been sporadically trying to connect, with no success, until yesterday evening when, for some completely inexplicable reason, it worked.  It’s been strange time,  because surely, to be offline for a matter of days is no big deal.  So why did it affect me so much?  I felt adrift, aimless, untethered from one of the elements which anchors my life.  It’s such a small thing, and yet it has become such an integral part of my life.  I’ve lost count of the number of times over the last few days that I went to check my email, my feedreader, my comments, Twitter etc. before remembering that I couldn’t!  It’s almost as though it has become a part of my consciousness, in a way that I’m not even aware of.  And I don’t think it would have even been so bad had I made the decision to disconnect – the fact that I technically couldn’t connect was what was driving me crazy.

Interestingly, yesterday, before the connection was restored, I had begun to stop thinking about it as often.  I found myself brainstorming after writing my morning pages instead of catching up on my blogging.  I sat and watched a programme with the kids without checking my emails during the commercial breaks.  I started work on my next thesis chapter instead of randomly stumbling.  I took the time to blow bubbles: beautiful, big, iridescent bubbles that floated briefly before drifting to the ground, and nestling in the soft, dew-bedecked grass.  I feel on some level I began to reconnect with the world around me – the one that doesn’t require a router!

I like to think that I’m someone who is quite engaged in my environment.  I like to think that I notice things .  I like to think that my attention is both broad and yet focussed.  What being offline has taught me over the last couple of days, is that my investment of time spent on the internet is beginning to rob me of some of the qualities that I like best about myself.  There really is no need for me to be on the net as often as I am.  I need to be more efficient in my use of my internet time.  I need to cut loose more often.

I need to blow more bubbles.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re offline?  What changes do you see in your perception when you have spent some time without a connection to the net?  Do you think we’re becoming too reliant on our virtual relationships? By developing a rich virtual life, do we risk losing some of the richness from our actual reality?

I’ll leave you to ponder these rather large questions; I’m going outside to play!

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February 13, 2008. Inspiration.

6 Comments

  1. joannayoung replied:

    Oh, big questions Amy!

    I think there’s something addictive about the online world, I definitely spend more time there than I want to or ‘should’… on the other hand I know I also feel more interested, alert, creative, connected than I have done for a very long time as a result of exchanging ideas with such an interesting collection of people, all over the world.

    When I learn how to get the balance right I’ll be sure and let you know!

    Joanna

  2. Autumn Song replied:

    I still don’t have an internet connection at home, Amy. To start with this bothered me a great deal – I like to be able to check me emails, sign in to messenger and see who is around. I felt very cut off when I first moved, and having no internet meant that I was out of contact not only with my friedns through email, but with what was going on in various other places (university website, blogs etc.)

    Now, although I still plan to get a connection at home (it’s easier to work at home when I can do MLA searches / use the online OED etc) I don’t feel like I miss it so much. Having a phoneline helps not to feel cut off, and having no email at home means I don’t spend my whole weekend responding to student enquiries!

    I think it is difficult to balance the time we spend on the net with other things. Perhaps you won’t spend so much time on your computer now you’ve rediscovered blowing bubbles. Perhaps, when I get connected, I won’t check my work email at the weekend anyway…

  3. mrschili replied:

    I am sometimes bothered by how much time I spend online, even though I really do consider my online life as an integral part of my community and my identity. I really do need to consider how I spend my time, and perhaps establish an online life that’s a bit more balanced with my offline life…

  4. Kelly replied:

    I love that picture… it captured me as your page loaded on the computer.

    I enjoy my days with no computer. At first I figured the world would end without me knowing about it.

    Getting back into a ‘net’ routine, it was almost hard to keep up with all I do.

    I enjoy reading and playing with the kiddos and making beaded jewelry.

  5. amypalko replied:

    That’s exactly what I’m struggling with, Joanna – a balance!

    Good point, Autumn Song. I think there is something to be said for clearly demarcating the times when you can be contacted.

    Completely agree, Mrschili, it is an integral part of my community and identity too, which is why I felt so bereft without it.

    I find, Kelly, that if I’m out of the house on a lovely walk, visiting family, meeting with friends, I don’t think about my ‘online’ existence. It’s only when i come back home and the computer is sitting right there… I think I need to learn restraint 😉

  6. toni replied:

    It’s great that you never lose your sense of childlike wonder 🙂

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