In order to live a successful life, you have to live it.
Sounds simple enough. But over the last century, and especially the last decade, media (television, cell phones, internet, blogging, social media sites, texting, email, iPods, kindles) has gone from the back seat to front and center. They are the new normal and they constitute much of the activities the average person spends time on.
The problem is not with the usefulness or relevance of these devices or the services they provide, (as a homeschooling family, we sometimes use the internet for educational purposes) but in how much time away from real "living" any one of these can steal.
If I'm not careful, I can spend hours reading online because there are so many interesting places to "visit". Pinterest is amazing. I love to read about homemaking, looking up recipes, decorating ideas, etc. But I have to be careful or else I'll wind up spending too much time.
Thankfully, I don't do any social media (never have) because I have seen how addicting people say it is. Plus there is the security issue. But mostly, I knew if I did it, I'd be too tempted to check it all the time. For what? So I can tell hundreds of people I hardly know what I'm doing at the moment? It's not for me.
I've begun to wonder...what will life be like for people who are heavy social media users are in their twilight years? To quote a classic movie, "Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories." So much of their time will be "virtual" rather than real. Will their "warm memories" consist of "likes" on Facebook? Or spending countless hours contriving photo posts for Pinterest?
Maybe I am old fashioned, but that is not what I call living. So to combat the strong pulling undertow of that trend, I am changing the tide and making larger deposits in my "warm memory bank". I want to encourage you to do the same.
This year, I want to limit and track my time on television and the computer to a preset number of hours. Maybe five to ten per week, I'm not sure. And the other is to get outside more.
As a full time homemaker and homeschooler especially during the cold season, I am, by necessity, indoors a lot. Laundry, cooking and housework are all indoor activities so my challenge will be to be better organized in those areas to free up time for more walks, more sunrises and more sunsets. More picnics, bike rides and frisbee games. More exploring nature and taking hikes. More playing guitar and singing songs on a blanket in the grass with my kids. More enjoying God's wonderful creation. More enjoying the life he gave me.
What about you? Are you storing up your warm memories?
Here's a question for the brave: how much time do you actually spend on social media or devices in a 7 day period? There are two possible answers to that question - one is how much time you think you spend, and the other is how much time you actually spend.
I'm going to challenge myself to keep a ledger of media time and you're invited to join me. Starting Monday, January 13th, log the time spent on computers, texting, social media and TV. Next to the time, jot down a small note by each entry on what it was used for
(reading the news, texting a friend, blogging, surfing, homeschooling, streaming, etc).
A sample log might look like this:
1/27/14 - Start: 2:17pm (computer, blogging) End: 3:05pm
1/28/14 - Start: 6:45am (email, Facebook) End: 7:17am
Maybe the "busy" lives most people complain about wouldn't be nearly as busy if they took control over the time they spend on things not so important.
It's a new year for new beginnings. Beginning with today. Make it good one!