Posts Tagged ‘online time’

I’ve been thinking about balance a lot lately. Two years ago to the day as I write this post, I wrote a Friday Fitness post about improving your physical balance, something that, although important throughout life, becomes more important as you grow older. The good news is that it isn’t difficult to improve your physical balance at all and can very easily be done while doing something else, such as watching TV or brushing your teeth.

Balance in life is a very different matter. When I grew up, balance consisted of getting chores and homework done while leaving enough time to run around outside playing with friends until Mom called us home to eat. It seems to me that we spent most of the summer outdoors and when we were lucky, we visited my grandparents on the farm or went on our annual vacation to some part of the US. Since we didn’t get a television until I was away at high school, TV wasn’t a distraction for us, but a rare treat in the evenings at the farm or at a friend’s. Books were the main indoor contestant for my attention.

Now life is quite different. The tentacles of the online world stretch everywhere, invading every aspect of our lives. Although my parents don’t have a computer, they’re in a tiny minority and life is quickly becoming almost impossible to navigate without at least going to the library to use the computer occasionally. Banks and financial institutions want to send everything via email, ordering is much easier (and sometime must be done) online, the instant communication that we desire takes place in the ether via our phones or laptops.

But the most insidious thing is that…it’s so easy.  And we allow ourselves to feel that it’s also necessary.

Most of us, (yes, even my husband and I) have smartphones, so we can be and are tempted to be online at all times. The meme of a family “watching” TV together while all on their devices isn’t funny; it’s all too real. People meet for lunch, supposedly to talk, while next to their water glasses are their phones, receiving as much attention or more than their lunch companions. There are more things that “need” updating than I even use or know about: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and ?? Your life—lived online, live, as it happens, if you choose.  And you can keep up with other people just as easily

And then there are blogs…and with blogs there are daily writing challenges, photo challenges, and all sorts of other interesting and useful (or not) things to read and participate in.

Where does real life fit in?

I’ve been asking myself that lately. I love blogging. I love reading other people’s blogs. I love the photo challenges, the writing challenges, the relationships, being able to talk with people all over the world. But I’m beginning to feel as though I’m drowning in email, posts, reading and commenting on stories, viewing photos, and online time in general, even though I love doing all those things.   I have to ask the questions.


  • How is my time best spent?
  • Am I ignoring the real for the online?
  • As a writer, is my time better spent reading…or writing? Where’s the balance?
  • If I had another hour or two each day to use, what could I be accomplishing?
  • And there are the more mundane things such as does the yard need work, the house need  cleaning, the boxes in the basement need organizing (and that I included that means that it does, doesn’t it), and so forth.

What are the answers? I have to decide where to cut back, what’s important, what I want to do and how often I want to do it.   Last week, after dropping my husband off at work, I went for a long walk in a nearby park, away from people and the trappings of the suburbs. It was incredible how relaxed I felt, even though I had my phone for the photos that constantly beg to be taken. I felt free and balanced. That’s a pretty big hint.

I feel the need to wrest back control of my life from Online and give it back to me. That’s going to involve making decisions. But for me, it’s time