Reevaluating our relationship…not quite breaking up with the internet

Dear Internet and Social Media,

This letter has been a long time coming, I had been putting it off but in the last couple of months, a series of events have occurred that have it made it clear I can no longer put this off. Calm down, I am not breaking up with you. Oh, I have thought about cutting you off, but there are times when I need you…just like I need my morning coffee and a good stretch. Breaking up for good is just not the answer; we crossed that point of no return eons ago.

Baby, you were so good in the early days when we first met in 98. You gave me so much; you made my life so much easier. I could spend 10-20 minutes with you and accomplish so much. When we moved to Maine and I was lonely, you gave me life through the old discussion boards. When my Mom was sick and even after she died, once again you came through for me. Seriously, I can’t imagine having navigated my 30’s without you.

I am not sure when things changed though, I suspect it’s when technology changed and I no longer had to be tethered to my desk in order to see you. I suspect our relationship started to change when I bought my first smartphone. Remember BlackBerry. Oh, she allowed me to tap into you whenever and wherever. Then I discovered social media…sweetie, that might have been the beginning of the end. Suddenly, I could be plugged in all the time. Oh, I knew I was swimming in dangerous waters but I was feeling so good. All of a sudden, I was no longer limited by geography. Sure, you allowed me to develop a following of people who actually enjoy my ramblings disguised as a blog. You have allowed me to grow some old dreams and even make a few bucks. But babe, you are hurting me.

I know you didn’t mean to hurt me, but this internet/social media/plugged in life is more than I bargained for. I knew I had crossed the line into an unhealthy relationship with you when my girls commented on it a few months ago. Remember when the girls aka the gathering of Black women happened a few months ago? Well they were none too pleased with my need to constantly molest my phone and share with the world our happenings. At first I thought they were being uptight, but the truth is they are right. I suspect it hasn’t helped that the Man Unit has also recently pointed out that I have been spending a lot of time with you when there is no need for it.

Here I am trying to live a mindful life, yet I have been anything but mindful when it comes to those closest to me. You are really cool and Twitter and even Facebook can be fun but what you give is a quick fix that at times has contributed to the moments of gray that overshadow me. Can I be honest? Sometimes when I am up late at night playing around online, it feels good but it also feels empty. Don’t get me wrong, I have met some great people because of you, but the vast majority of people I interact with online are never going to be more than lookie loos into my life. So why am I spending so much time with these people? Yeah. I know. That’s what I said. Never mind that sometimes I get so caught up in the moment when we are together than I stay up too late and then I am dragging and tired the next day. I just can’t stay up late like I once could which means if I am staying up late, it needs to be for a damn good cause.

Now, I admit I thought about pulling the plug, but that is just not practical. Instead I am taking a lesson from my mindfulness practice and realizing that I need to be a lot more intentional about how and when we connect. Some days, we can spend a lot of time together, but I need to know why I am spending time with you. Am I using you to fill a void, avoid dealing with those around me, etc.?

So, I hope that you are okay with these changes, like I said at the beginning, I am not breaking up with you, but our relationship has to change. Got it?  







6 thoughts on “Reevaluating our relationship…not quite breaking up with the internet”

  1. I know that struggle too. I did regain some balance around my prayer life by not plugging in until I am actually up and out of my room. So I do most of my prayer/meditative/reading when I wake up in the morning. I keep all the books and my Bible right on the side of the bed so that the first thing I reach for in the morning are those items and not my phone.

  2. I used to spend a lot more time in prayer or reading. My personal “fall from grace” came when I got an Ipad as a gift. Recently I’ve been feeling some guilt over the amount of time spent online (although I drew the line at opening a twitter account). The Internet is a wonderful tool for learning and connecting, but like everything else in life, TOO MUCH of a good thing just isn’t good.

    • It’s a delicate balance but it seems like without that balance, a great tool (social media) starts to take more than it gives.

  3. yep, that’s why I stepped away from Twitter, and I’ve missed you & Amadi a *ton* since but I was just feeling too swallowed up, chewed up, and spit out by SM. I still need to spend less time on FB, but I feel I’m more present in my offline life than I had been. Big hugs to you & good luck in your efforts 🙂

    • I do miss seeing you on twitter but I know that it can be a huge time suck and on some level even an emotional drain. I have become really aware of it when I started talking about my tweeps to the Man Unit. Thank you so much and I am glad to know that you are still reading this space.

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