I was reading someone's blog today and they were mentioning the fact that their sis-in-law was reading it and felt bad that she wasn't mentioned more. It got me thinking about this whole age of technology and whether or not we really have a space where we can go to be quiet and self-reflective.
Lately, I feel like I'm just completely tapped out energy-wise. I was thinking about it yesterday and wondered if part of it is related to never having any uninterrupted quiet time unless I'm sleeping. The minute that alarm goes off (and on and off thanks to snooze), I don't really get any quiet time. I listen to the radio while in the shower to keep track of the time and to hear about potential traffic issues (and news soundbites). During a normal work day, I've got Napster running, Yahoo messenger (with multiple offices communicating throughout the day), I've got email (personal and business), a work cell phone, a personal cell phone, a regular work phone (with voicemail that never quite gets used), people coming in and out all day/every day, and a boss who has no clue about personal space or when she's crossed the line. I'm interrupted probably an average of 32 times a day (that is average... I've timed it out to be at least once every 15 minutes). So during the time I'm trying to work, I've also got about 12 screens up (on average) on my computer because I'm juggling so many things back and forth. There are times that I will have someone on the phone, two people on messenger, one person coming into my office and then my cell will ring. Those are the times that make me want to cry.
Then there is commute time. Tim and I commute together, so that is nice because not only do we get the carpool lane, but it is time for us to be alone together. Now it isn't always pleasant, because it seems that either one or both of us is irritated about traffic, but it is still time together. But even then, we have the radio going and we're talking off and on while trying to maintain sanity on the road. The commute is 2 hours of our lives every day (at a minimum).
We get home and have to scurry to get dinner ready (or extend the commute time and stop at the store). All the while, the tv is usually on in the background, the cat is meowing in search of attention, and the dog is hovering around underfoot wanting to be part of the activity. I'm starting dinner, feeding animals, catching up with dishes, starting laundry, opening mail and answering calls.
And the phone is sometimes the worst thing ever. We have a home phone and three cell phones (between me, Tim and Jessica). Someone may try one of us on the home phone and if we don't answer, they will call the cell (or vice versa). If we don't answer, it isn't like there is a voicemail left (most of the time), so I don't know why we even bother having that feature. Then there is my work cell which should go off once I leave, but sometimes people need to call me in the evenings, so there is a possibility of that as well. Some evenings it feels like the phone rings non-stop at our house.
So everything going on around me made me start thinking. Then I stretched it a little further. Even my artistic expression isn't self-reflective lately. I love the scrapbook world and the digital scrapbooking community, so it really made me think the other day when I was creating some layouts. I was censoring myself because I didn't know what everyone would think. That internal voice was chattering and causing doubt. It also hit me that I was doing a lot of challenges based on sketches or ads or suggested topics. I love those, don't get me wrong, but I was being cautious when I did them. I felt like I was doing them more for a particular audience than myself. Do you ever feel that way?
It made me laugh because I thought about journaling and instantly the idea of an "art journal" popped into my head and then all of the same scrapbooking thoughts came into my head. If it is supposed to be art... then am I really journaling and being authentic, or am I doing it to make something pretty (or acceptable or "in")? And then there is the whole idea of online journaling or the idea behind having an online "space"... and I started to worry about who would read it and if I could really write about what I was thinking/feeling. What if I hurt someone's feelings? Recently, my mom threw a fit because she didn't like one of the scrapbook pages I did about guilt. I had a picture of her (and my brother) and my grandma and I was talking about how I felt split between the two family camps and how guilty it made me feel. She was all hurt and then saw that was the only page I had done with her on it and then felt really awful. So then I felt like I even had to censor my scrapbooking topics. But to me, the emotions workshop and the life is better shared workshop really made me think and dig deeper to find the more authentic spot to create a layout from. And when I look back on those pages, they aren't the ones that received the most comments (aka love)... but they were real.
That is the difficult thing about this technological age. In some ways, we are closer to others than ever before (like our online friends and family members who are living in distant places), but at the same time, we may be getting farther away from our true selves. I watch my daughter and her friends and all of the quarrels that get started because of MySpace. It is crazy! Then employers are basing hiring decisions on MySpace (and other blogs). We can look into a prospective friend's space and decide whether we like them or not based on their "space". It seems so cold and impersonal. But maybe it is just the way things are going and it will take some getting used to.
I guess I don't have any great cosmic solutions, but these are things that I've been thinking about. I just wanted to put it out there so I could mull it over a little more.