A Delicate Balance

I’ve gained almost ten pounds in the past two years, and I’m blaming it on this blog.  It takes a lot of time to write my posts and answer the comments on them, and it takes even more time to read and comment on all the other blogs I follow.  And to make matters worse, once I’m sitting at my computer, I feel the need to read and answer my emails, and then to head on over to Facebook to see if anyone has posted anything more interesting than the latest political outrage or a photo of their lunch.  And all of this takes time, which means I’m spending more and more time sitting, which we all know is not exactly good for our bodies.  Hence the weight gain in the two years I’ve been writing this blog.

And honestly, it’s not just my body that suffering from all those hours spent sitting in front of my computer.  The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can also be incredibly depressing.  The non-stop bad news, the hateful comments and name-calling, and even the photos of lost pets can be overwhelming at times.  If I’m not careful, surfing the world-wide web can leave me thinking that this world is just plain mean and dangerous, and that basic human decency is nothing more than an illusion.

So what do I do?  Do I abandon my blog, deactivate my Facebook account, unplug my computer and live “off the grid” for the rest of my life?   Or do I just pretend that I’m not spending far too much time looking through pictures posted by people I barely know when I could be doing something far more productive?  (And by the way, it’s not “creeping” to look through people’s Facebook posts and photos.  If something is private, don’t put it on social media in the first place.)

I know many people who don’t do social media, and even some who rarely, if ever, utilize the internet.  They’re happy with their choice, and that’s great.  But it’s not the right choice for me.  I like the way I’ve connected with old friends, and keep in touch with far-away family and friends through Facebook, and I’ve become rather dependent on the ability to easily find so much useful information just by Googling it.  Even more, I love blogging because it has me writing regularly again and has connected me to terrific writers and readers from all over the world.  I honestly don’t want to give any of that up.

Which leaves me with only one obvious choice:  find a balance.  There is a huge middle ground between wasting hours every day sitting in front of my computer and abandoning it altogether.  I can write my blog, keep my Facebook account and otherwise use the internet while still making sure I get physical exercise every single day.   I can skim the news stories on the internet, reading only the ones I need to, and skip the comment section altogether.  I can enjoy seeing the photos of my friend’s new grandchildren on Facebook while blocking the posts that I know are going to ruin my mood for the rest of the day.

It’s just a matter of discipline and taking control of my life and making intentional choices about how I want to spend my time.  Of course it won’t be easy, but so many things that are worthwhile and necessary for living a meaningful life aren’t especially easy.  And it’s either that or go shopping for some bigger jeans….

78 thoughts on “A Delicate Balance

  1. I could have written this, word for word, my dear. Not as eloquently, but yeah, word for word.
    Just like with smaller food portions on smaller plates, I need to monitor my, um, monitor time. I haven’t gotten around to setting a timer – but that might be one strategy. “They” say you should take regular breaks to stretch your bones and to relax your eyes. When I worked, I had a tall glass of water at my desk and was constantly up to refill the glass or use the facilities to empty the bladder. I don’t drink as much fluid these days. Maybe I need to reinstate that habit.

    Good luck – keep us posted with your progress!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I like the idea of a time or a large glass of water. (And the water is both good for you, and also guarantees frequent bathroom breaks.) It’s hard to resist spending so much time in front of a screen, though, isn’t it? But it helps to know I’m not the only one. Thanks, Maggie!

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  2. Ann, you are right, discipline is the answer. Being discriminating also helps. I simply do not read everything that shows up on my screen. Lastly, my daily hiking takes precedence over everything else. You’ll find your balance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think part of the problem has been that I’ve been making blogging too much of a priority. I guess I was so scared that I wouldn’t stick with it (I heard how many bloggers give up in the first 6 months) that I sort of went too far the other way. But it is time for perspective: time with my family, and taking care of myself has to come first. Blogging is a wonderful part of my life, but I can’t make it the main part. Thanks, Larry! You are wise to make sure you get that daily hike in!

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  3. This is something that invariably happens when you’ve been blogging – and using social media – for a long time. On Facebook, until I started my two public pages (one of which I think you’re following?) I was avoiding muchof the horridness on the site by mostly using groups – often closed ones – for the various interests I have. That meant I was predominantly seeing the stuff I really wanted to see rather than, as you say, the sad missing pets and the unpleasantness. Then of course, I slipped back. My solution with both Facebook and blogging is to set the posts on a schedule and then take a few days or a couple of weeks off from time to time. It’s the only way I can maintain my sanity. As for the weight – oh yeah, I know that one too. I have a stepper that I was using and then I just plain forgot… I’ll have to fish it out again. So yeah, it’s the blog. (It’s also the icecream. But that’s probably just me!)

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    • It’s amazing how quickly things can turn negative on social media, isn’t it? Your idea of taking breaks is a good one, I think.
      Yes, I’m following you on Facebook. I didn’t know you have two pages! I’m following the coloring the past one. If you send me the link to your other, I’ll follow that too. And as for the weight gain, I think my fondness for sugar is also partially to blame.

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      • Yes, sugar is as likely as sitting for too long! 🙂 My other page is purely a self-indulgence and you’ll probably only like it if we share music tastes. It’s this: https://www.facebook.com/Music-not-Muzak-1743243619037203/ The other one (that you’re following) by the way, is called Val’s Vintage Potpourri. I was upset when I made my website and blog and then discovered that there was already a Facebook page called ‘Colouring the past’ – for another photocolourist (and a fellow Brit, too). It’s why I decided on a different name, but I’m hoping people don’t go to the other person’s page by mistake.

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  4. Yes, It’s a balance, Ann. I find I have to ignore Facebook for a week or so, every now and again. And just quickly skip through blogs to see if anything leaps out, rather than reading them all. Which is fine; we’re not forced to do any of these things. After a while, I feel more inclined to engage again.

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    • I sometimes take a break, too. I used to think people would be horribly offended if I didn’t read and comment on each and every post they wrote, but I know better now. We all have lives outside of the blogging world, and our blogging friends understand that. I know I do!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve found that pounding my head against the keyboard is almost as good as multitasking. Not only do I get a decent core workout, but if I hit the space bar along with all the other keys, I sometimes get “word credit” as I fill that blank screen 😉

    And I would hate the idea of not checking in with you here Ann, so the not blogging option is off the table. Just saying…

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    • You are so nice! And no worries, I’d miss my blogging friends too much to ever quit. I just have to get over my tendency to plant my ample behind in front of the computer and stay there until hunger pangs drive me to the kitchen in search of food.
      But I like the idea of keyboard head banging. I mean, everyone says, “work the core!”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t read the news. I just can’t do it. It is so depressing. The great thing about that is when friends post about something on FB and everyone is getting into a heated argument about it, I have no idea what they’re talking about and I just scroll onto the next cat video. Cat videos! That’s what you should be focusing on, blogging and cat videos. I’m glad you chose not to leave the blogosphere.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I feel that way sometimes, too! But then I get mad that I don’t know what’s going on, so I watch again, get depressed, and….. It’s a vicious cycle! Your idea of sticking to cat videos definitely has merit…

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    • I get up, too, but unfortunately, far too often it’s to head to the kitchen for a snack! The weird thing is, when I’m watching TV, I often do something else at the same time: folding laundry, sit ups, even a crossword puzzle. But when I sit in front of the computer, I just sit there, staring at the screen and typing or reading. So I have to find that balance of time!

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  7. There are definitely days when I need to do a media break, from FB as well as the nightly news! And a treadmill at the Y is great for working off what I can’t easily let go–just have to choose one not facing Cable News.
    But yeah, reading peoples’ blogs, seeing pics of people’s kids/grandkids, memes with ridiculosity…Worth the risk!

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    • I have an exercise bike at home that I ride while watching HGTV, but I’ve spent way more time staring at my computer. Maybe I need to figure out a way to hook the computer onto the bike handles? LOL! Thanks for the comment!

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  8. Life is about balance, of all things. Making time for the things we love as well as for those things we just have to do! Carve a little time in your day for some exercise, even if it just a lovely walk. I guarantee it beats reading all of that crap on Facebook!

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  9. I admit to being a bit out of balance as well. The percentage of time I spend at the laptop gets silly at times, especially in the day before and after a post. At least I have Facebook under control. I suppose it’s worth it, as long as it’s more social than media.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, the day we post is always a bit crazy, but in a good way, since we know people are reading it. Still, it’s important not to spend too much time in front of the computer doing “blog stuff” when it interferes with the rest of our lives. Balance is everything!

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  10. I am looking for that balance too. I try to go walking in the morning before I fire up my computer and my husband is usually around to remind me if I’m in front of the screen for too long. I’ve thought about raising my computer up so I have to stand to use it – as it is, I can usually feel my butt widen as I’m sitting there. Good luck with your journey and please share if you have any great insights. I’m glad that you’ve decided to continue blogging.

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    • I’ve thought about those standing desks, too, but then my feet hurt after a while if I stand in one place to long. (Doesn’t both me if I’m moving, don’t ask me the difference!) I think I just need to be intentional about making a schedule or a time limit of how long I spend sitting in front of the computer, and also be sure I exercise every day. It is heartening to hear how many other bloggers are saying they deal with the same thing!

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  11. Ah, discipline, if only I could find it. My one success is changing from reading my newspaper on the live web version to downloading it as a PDF in the morning. It’s not so up-to-date but it prevents me reading below the line. However many times I told myself not to go there, I’d be mysteriously drawn to the comments and, oh my goodness, the vitriol! I feel much better for that. I only follow nice people on blogs so never have that trouble….

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    • Yes, I stay away from the blogs that spout hate, too, no matter who they are spouting it at. And that makes reading blogs enjoyable, enlightening and even educational sometimes. As for those comments, I guess I’m just hoping to see voices of reason for once, but I rarely do. Just hate at those who think differently! I like your idea of printing off the paper so that you aren’t tempted by the comments.

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  12. Everyone who takes blogging seriously knows exactly what you’re going through, I definitely do! Try to slowly detox, set yourself timeframes for example when you use the internet. Make sure only to read the blogs you truly care about. I’m doing this now and it’s so much better than before 😄

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  13. No, you get up earlier and start a workout routine. You can use this wonderful computer you have and lookup all sorts of types of things, both harder core or mellow. Yoga or otherwise. Fitnessblender.com is a wonderful site, but there are other ones. If you are really committed to lose some weight, there is always to fit it in to our lives, busy as they may be. I’ve always managed for the last 40 years because it was important. Just make it a priority. 🙂 You’ll be so glad you did!!

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  14. Lol…you’re so funny. That first line had me smiling throughout the entire post. I never equated blogging with weight gain but I suppose they tie in especially when you bring in Facebook which I’ve never been a part of.
    But I guess it’s all about balance, as you suggest. Everything in moderation…or at least most things 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, George, if you are not on Facebook, just keep it that way! Honestly, the only reason I stay on it is because several of my blog readers aren’t followers, they just wait to see the latest link on my Facebook page. And I have moved a lot, so it is a way to stay in touch with old friends. But it takes so much time if I am not careful…and sitting on my ample behind is not at all good for my health (or my ability to fit into my jeans). So I am looking for a balance, and I do believe I will find it!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Ahh! I can totally relate to it. I myself have been struggling with weight issues and everytime I open my laptop part of my brain is thinking ‘I could have exercised a bit’ and the other part is like ‘how do I finish writing a piece so soon’! Plus once the baby gets up from sleep I have to put away laptop anyway. So basically the workout keeps suffering 😯😯

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  16. Great minds think alike! I’m in the middle of writing a blog post on this very thing!

    Life has always been about balance. Balance the job, the husband, the kids, etc. Keep all those plates in the air and don’t let one fall. Pick up the pieces quick if one does.

    But the internet, because of it’s sedentary nature, had required some reassessment on my part. Perhaps it will always be a work in progress. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad to know I’m not the only one who finds blogging to be a bit difficult to fit into the balance! But I will never abandon my blog, because it has become such a big part of my life. I love the readers I have connected with, and the other blogs I follow. Thanks for being one of those people too good to leave!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. We are in the same shoes. Blogging takes most of my time, as well. Its new to me, exciting, meaningful, but time-consuming. My strategy is to come out outside into the nature to shift focus. Grounding and meditation really help. Looking forward to reading all your articles.

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