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….