I feel like this is a post where I need to have a disclaimer, this is my personal blog where as I describe in the About Me section “The truth is I am big mouth with an opinion on any and everything.” For the most part what I write in this space are my personal thoughts and observations about the world, generally speaking I am not writing as an academic or journalist and sometimes this is just my space to share what I feel like publicly sharing. Just the musings of an almost middle-aged Black woman trapped in Maine, so your mileage may vary!
Yesterday was a rough day, a really rough day. It didn’t start off that way at all, but in my 15+ years of human services work most of which have been spent working with financially insecure adults, struggling with basic survival, I occasionally come across situations that hit me at my core. Yesterday was one of those days, except that because I deal with youth now, I find that when I am faced with bad professional days, they are truly bad. Privacy laws and what shred of human decency I possess prevent me from sharing the details but I will just say that my evening involved a lot of tears, holding my daughter tighter than usual and needing to connect at a deep level.
Unfortunately I didn’t realize early enough that instead of posting a random post to my personal Facebook page that created a lively discussion that while pleasant, deep online debate and discussion was not what I needed. I really needed to just be in the company of friends and am thankful that I have some folks in my life who know me well enough to pick up the phone and call me even when I am being too stubborn or whatever to take that step myself.
I often spend a great deal of time online in part because so much of my day is spent alone due to my job so being online often serves the same function as wandering the office and stopping at a coworkers desk to gab used to serve. As our offline lives integrate so seamlessly with our online lives, at times it’s easy for me to ignore the times when I really need to unplug and regroup with friends. For many there are no distinctions between online & offline connections, but lately I am finding that is not the case at all for me. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the connections I have made online and certainly there is a growing number of folks that I have connected with online that are and have become offline buddies.
Yet there are subtle nuances that can’t be transmitted online, a few weeks ago the Spousal Unit and I met up with some friends we met originally online who are definitely friends and a discussion ensued that to be frank, had it happened online, would not have gone well. In fact I know if my friend had said what he said online, I would have pretty much thought what an ass. Yet a face to face connection and lack of word limits meant we could dive much deeper and in the end I left with better understanding on an issue that had been driving me mad.
So many small exchanges lately that have gone frankly a little wrong online are serving yet again as reminders for me of my limits to this online life. A little is great, a little more is even better but at a certain point, I need to step back. After a few well spent hours last night on the phone that brought me back to my happy, I realized that frankly I need more offline connections and that’s perfectly fine because part of this grown up life is knowing what we need and being intentional about it.