Monday, July 18, 2016

Down The Rabbit Hole

by Carol

Me - Photo credit : Terri Porter

Comments heard recently:  
"My Dad carries that iPad from room to room all day - it's hysterical!"
"Every time I open my computer, there she is - on-line again!"
"I don't have the time to sit at my computer all day like some people!" 
"The kids are always staring at something on a screen!" 

I hear all these comments humbly, knowing I am just as guilty, and feel, at first, a bit shamed. But the other day, I started thinking about how my homemaker mother and her friends used to spend their days when I was in high school. My Mom would get up early to take a literature course on Sunrise Semester on our little black and white TV. (Is anyone here is old enough to remember that show?) She read voraciously. and kept a notebook list of the books she read, and another of her favorite quotes. She took care of the billing for my dad's office, She managed the house, of course. She cut out articles and recipes to use from magazines. She wrote letters to family and friends. She sent us for the dictionary or the encyclopedia if we had questions while we conversed.

And here's me .... After a more-than-busy work week, there is nothing that I enjoy more on the weekend (after NOT waking to an alarm) than taking my coffee and my computer out to my deck in the warmer months, or to my comfy living room chair in winter, and diving in.  I might start by catching up with friends on Facebook. I may have some correspondence with some of my photo buddies arranging an outing. I may also answer emails about maintenance - schedule that dishwasher repair guy, contact a handyman, see when the local charity will be picking up in my area. If it' s that weekend once a month, I may pay all my bills on line. 

I read the news and sometimes magazine articles on line. Any reference that's interesting or new, I tend to look up. I read my favorite bloggers. (Kim Manley Ort's newsletter alone can suck me right into the vortex - so dense with  references that I want to follow up on!) Even the novels I'm reading are often now on my Kindle or my Kindle app on my iPad.

Every other week, I am writing for FOL. And that'll take an hour or so. It's often a process. I might start by seeing a quote that strikes me, or thinking about an article I read, Before long, I am looking up more details, or trying to find out who the quote belongs to. Sometimes I start writing and then find my writing spinning off in another direction and end up with a whole different subject from where I started, researching it as I go.

Then there are my courses. I have taken many photography courses, and many art courses on line. I also often purchase one of the "Great Courses" from their catalogue on topics that interest me, like impressionism or history. With the interactive courses, like Shutter Sisters, I am uploading pictures of my homework in the morning , and returning to the computer at night to see what everyone else uploaded. Instead of clipping articles, I am on Pinterest, saving projects of interest.

And of course, there's my photography, Lightroom and Photoshop - OY - now there's a rabbit hole of major proportions!

Me after a few hours on the computer

Of course, I do make myself stop at some point! There is life to be lived, there are walks to be taken, there are groceries to be bought and cooking to be done. and there are people to see! My eyes get as tired as everyone else's. I realize that the downside of all this is that it's completely sedentary, and if I ever am fortunate enough to retire, I absolutely need to build exercise time into every day or my body will positively rot! And corresponding with friends is not the same as spending time with friends, but on the other hand - every single one of these FOL girls and many of my in-person photo buddies I would not know if I had not met them online. 

My mind is enriched by my computer. My life is enriched by my computer. I will never take for granted the joy of having so much information at my fingertips! I love that I can take a course without dressing, driving and penning up the animals - that I can listen to a book while ironing or cleaning the kitchen....

So I've decided to ban that feeling of shame! It may not look like it - but I am getting a lot done here on the deck!


terriporter said...

First of all, I vividly remember taking that photo of you and it's the perfect addition to this post! And I've had that guilty feeling of spending too much time connected to my computer/iPad/phone but it opens up so much more of the world that wasn't possible just a few short years ago! Classes, connections, sharing -- all so much easier now. And we can do it all whenever and wherever we like. We just need to know how to not let it completely take us away from "real" life and spending time with "real" people. You're so right that this technology has brought people into our lives we would have never known otherwise. And that's such a good thing!

Dotti said...

Let's face it - were it not for technology, we would not have written this post and I would never have read it. We wouldn't be friends! Oh, my. That is a really sad thought. I've made so many lifelong friends online that have become real, in person friends, including the FOL sisters. And while we are doing what our moms did, just in a different way, it's like anything in life: there has to be balance. Thanks for helping us think this through.

Cathy H. said...

I've suffered from technology guilt and then other times I've praised the electronic world we live in. Without cell phones, computers, FB, and texting I would be waiting days to hear from loved ones and see what they've been up to. I couldn't have kept up with the growth of my grandsons. We visit several times a year, but that's not enough. I have literally seen them grow up and been a part of their everyday lives. And, like Terri and Dotti said, we all wouldn't know each other and my life would be less full!

kelly said...

technology is such a double-edged sword for me....thank you for reminding me of the good side. xoxo

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