So long, for now

I think I have Internet Fatigue Syndrome. Does such a thing exist? I’ve developed complete dependence on the World Wide Web — in recent days I’ve looked up everything from car seats to used cars, found a darn good knockoff recipe of the Olive Garden’s Pasta i Fagioli, bought some Christmas presents, did research for a story, emailed, Facebooked, read blogs, shared photos, ordered Christmas cards, and learned all there is to know about Jaime Grubbs. Yet despite my utter dependence on this virtual beast, I feel like it’s sucking the life right out of me.

I use the Web All.The.Time. I Google everything. Yet I can’t seem to write a coherent sentence lately, and I think it’s because I don’t read anything that’s much longer than 140 characters. I know what I need to do to resolve this, I need to close the laptop and open a book. But in a daily grind where it’s a luxury to find 10 minutes to take a shower without one of the boys calling for me or needing something, it’s easy to justify taking 30 seconds to check my email instead of spending 30 minutes on the couch with this week’s “Time.” It’s quicker to Google a recipe for dinner than it is to sift through a dozen cookbooks that are gathering dust in my kitchen. It’s simpler, faster, easier ... but does that mean it’s better?

It seems the Internet has made me smarter and dumber all at once. Thanks to the Web, I have useless facts, celebrity gossip and NFL stats at my fingertips. I know that a high school pal has just completed a triathlon, and a former co-worker’s kid is sick again. But I also feel out of touch with the very best friends whose Facebook status updates I read religiously. I can’t remember the last time I picked up the phone and had a real, live conversation with one of them. And that’s just sad. It's weird to miss my friends, to feel terribly out of touch with them even though I know what their Starbucks order was this morning, what they did last weekend and what they're watching on TV right now.

I’ve also become unable to write even the simplest update on this blog. My Central Penn Parent blog is in desperate need of some resuscitation. I’ve barely looked at my Twitter feed in the last several weeks, and haven’t posted anything on there since late October. I’ve grown weary of social media, even as I religiously check Facebook for new status updates and uploaded pictures.

I don’t know where I’m going with this except to say that I’ve been kicking around the idea of scrapping this blog altogether. It began as a way to keep far-away family abreast of what we were up to way down South. It has since morphed into something else entirely - part “mom blog,” part family scrapbook, with an occasional random rant thrown in for good measure. I used to think I needed this as an outlet for my writer self. But what I’m thinking lately is that my writer self needs to live outside of my laptop, not live vicariously through 214 Facebook “friends’” lives. (Seriously, if one more of my “friends” starts training for a marathon, I’m going to start working out. I swear.) My writer self needs to turn real pages, not virtual ones. And submit real essays to real publications, not post them, raw and unedited and rambling, into the blogosphere for nobody in particular to read (and nobody to pay me for).

Yet part of me loves this blog. I love some of the entries I’ve written, and I especially love to be able to look back on my kids’ first years of life. When inspiration hits, this space gives me the arena to be heard, understood and appreciated in a way writers thrive on. So I can’t decide what to do.

For now, I’m just sayin’ I’m going on hiatus.

Merry Christmas!


Sheila said...

We'll miss you more than you know :).

Heather said...

I love your blogs, so I hope after your hiatus you have a new found desire for this one. Can't wait!

Lis said...

I love this blog. I will certainly miss it. Enjoy your down time.

Heather said...

While I love your blog, Robyn, I completely understand where you're coming from. I have:
• Two blogs
• Four Facebook accounts
• Three Twitter feeds
• Five to six e-mail accounts
• A Linked In profile
Recently, I bought some young adult books, thinking less pages means I will be more likely to read them. I miss curling up with a good book!
Maybe the solution is to downgrade your web presence rather than halt it altogether? You've nurtured this blog for a long time. You can't scrap it now. And as far as not getting paid for your first-person prose, I concur. You should look into Google AdSense.

paul said...

R - I've enjoyed reading your blog over the years. I totally understand going on a hiatus from the internet world. Myself...I've abandoned facebook, gmail, all forms of instant messaging (AOL IM, yahoo, meebo, msn), twitter and I watch very little TV anymore. On top of that, I'm just not as motivated to sit in front of the computer after doing it for 9+ hours a day at work. The last post on my own blog was in October. I'll miss your commentary/perspective on all things during your hiatus and while I hope you get back what you're seeking, I hope you'll eventually consider creating a new post on your blog every now and then, while scaling back the other technologies. Take care...Chew.

Dee said...

Don't cut us the updates....just don't feel you have to....too's great to watch the boys growing up...seems like I'm was great seeing you, I enjoyed the service...very nice