Tuesday, January 29, 2013

fighting through the crowd

sometimes i get this uncomfortable claustrophobic feeling.  

i'm not talking about that time that i started shaking uncontrollably inside the MRI machine and they had to pull me out.  that was a nightmare though.  seriously...how can you keep from losing your ever-loving mind when you are cramped in a dark tunnel with a metal mask on your face and a loud hammering sound coming at you from all sides.  yep - i marched my freaking-out self right through those double doors and never looked back.    

so this feeling...it's kinda like that.  but it's different.

sometimes i feel like the world is so full that i have to elbow my way through the crowd.  it's slow moving and i can't settle into a brisk pace...sometimes i can't move forward at all.  there are moments when i even feel myself being pushed down by the masses.  i start stumbling backwards.  suddenly i can't even see where it was that i was headed.

i look around at all the people and what they are successfully doing 
and how many thousands of people follow them on twitter 
and how well-organized their websites are 
and how many well-known figures endorse their books 
and how perfectly artsy all their instagram pictures are 
and how hilariously witty all their facebook posts are 
and i feel myself hyperventilating.
i think i might just get swallowed up by the masses.
i'm afraid i will disappear and nobody will even know i was there...in the crowd.
i get that freaking-out feeling again.  
i want to start pushing people away from me.  i want my space.  and i don't want it to be cyberspace.  i want it to be the space filled with fresh air that i can really breath and grass that i can really sink my feet into.  i want it to be big enough for me to run and run and run...

social media and the internet has started making me feel claustrophobic.  
i know there is so much value to these tools.  really, i do.  but right now the cost is outweighing the benefits for me.

i am a wife and a mother and a children's ministry director and a writer and a reader and a runner and a friend and a counselor and an artist...
and i don't have time to manage social media.  there is so much living i want to do and so much dying that happens every time i chase a rabbit hole into my laptop.

is it possible that we are becoming too 'connected'?  with every connection that i make i feel the responsibility of that one and then the pressure to make another one and another one...and it never ends.  

i feel quality suffering for quantity.

our culture certainly has a tendency to value more, more, more...and i feel that happening with technology.  i wonder how it will affect my kids.  i wonder how it is affecting me and my marriage and my friendships {the real ones}.

i think today's post contains more questions than answers but i needed to start asking them.  the only real answer for me right here and right now is to take a break...to remove myself from the crowded arena and take a detour down a quiet dirt road in the country somewhere.

so here's how i'm going to do that...
right after i hit publish on this post i am packing up the kids and going to the biggest field we can find and we are going to run...wild and free in this rare january sun.  and then i am going to cut myself off for a little while.  no facebook, no twitter, no instagram, no surfing the web for ideas and inspiration for the rest of the week while i mull this over.

in the meantime - i'd love to hear from you.  how do you make sure that staying 'connected' doesn't sever connections?  how do you keep from being swallowed up by social media?  does any of this resonate with you or am i the only one struggling here in the 21st century?