I have been feeling lately more and more the need to slow down, and do less.
With homeschooling about to start again, and the Christmas season for our Etsy shop looming, I know that I am going to have to be careful if I am not to be overwhelmed in the coming months.
I have gotten better organized this year, with schedules, calendars, and meal plans, and I get up earlier than the kids every day now, so I can shower, get dressed, and have breakfast before they even get up. I have cut out all extra-curricular activities save swimming lessons. But somehow, I still feel rushed, and I don't seem to have any free time.
Granted, I have four children, and one of them is only 5 months old! The baby takes up a lot of my time, and also sleep. I'm not beating myself up. I work hard, and I have lingering health issues as well that lower my energy levels.
It seems to me that right now, I need to try harder to simplify my life. I saw a quote once that said basically, simple living is deciding what is really important in one's life--and then discarding everything else. That makes sense to me, and yet it is tough, because I have already discarded so much from our lives. In many ways I am already very simple and old-fashioned. (Recently, my credit card was used fraudulently for a large purchase at the Apples iTunes store. When I called Visa, the woman asked me if I had an iPhone or iPod...I couldn't help laughing out loud. She obviously didn't know me at all.)
But I do, I admit, spend a fair amount of time on the computer. Okay, a lot of time. There are two things I mostly do: read simple living, homeschooling, and homemaking blogs, and research just about anything. I never, ever play a game (I haven't done so in many years) but I am addicted to something else--the acquisition of information. Seriously!
So lately, as I have been feeling flustered and busy and like there is just too much on my plate, and it is getting hard to concentrate--I have decided to cut way back on my computer time. Because it's not just an issue of time--it's an issue of information overload. With all the stuff I read online, combined with the number of books I read, it's just too much to assimilate.
I will continue to write my blog, because I love to do it, and because it provides an outlet for my thoughts. It doesn't even really matter if anyone reads it or not, as long as I can write my posts and get them out there. But I am no longer going to read any but a very small handful of blogs, and after I have breakfast in the morning, I'm going to turn the computer off for the day. I really, really love all the wonderful women I have met in the blogging community...Many of them have been more inspirational to me than they know. But it's time for me to step back. I only have so much time and more importantly, so much mental energy, to go around.
You know, often when I am out doing errands I get this overwhelming feeling that everyone around me is in a huge rush. People sometimes honk at me because I am driving "too slow--" as if I should be speeding with my babies in the back seat! And I have to wonder: Why is everyone in such a rush? Modern life has so many time saving conveniences. A lot of folks don't even cook their own food these days, so why doesn't anyone, seemingly, have any time?
All I can figure is that although some modern technology saves us time, other technologies use up more time. Maybe the people who honk at me are rushing home to play World of Warcraft or update their Facebook status or research hotel prices online or watch their favourite tv show. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong...I just get a sense that as a whole, the entire human race would do well to take a deep breath and step away from those screens for maybe a few days, or even a few weeks.
I originally wrote this post in a cheap spiral notebook at my diningroom table on a sunny Saturday morning in August. The pleasant drone of cicadas filled my ears, along with the occasional chirp of birds. The remains of breakfast--oatmeal and jam--were scattered across the table, and I felt serenely happy. It felt really nice to write my thoughts down on paper, instead of the computer screen.
I am very grateful that the wonder of modern technology will allow me to share the pages of my notebook with friends all over the world. But I'm also grateful that once I type the words and hit "publish," I can turn the machine off and turn my attention to other things.
Which is exactly what I will do. Is anyone else out there trying, like me, to step away from the screen more often?