I have been wanting to tackle this topic for a few weeks now, but I kept postponing. Why? Let's be honest, procrastination usually stems from some form of dread.
I have been dreading this topic because once I write about it, there is no going back: I will be accountable to the readers of the blog, some of which are close friends and family who can easily monitor whether I am doing the right thing or not.
This is scary, but it is also necessary. Being accountable is one of the best ways to implement change in one's life.
If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that mindfulness is central to my approach to life in general, and to this Less is More project in particular. More than a way to declutter and save money, this project has been a way to refocus, recenter, redefine my priorities, simplify my life, and generally feel better.
All in all, decluttering my house and curbing my spending has been relatively easy. I adopted a more mindful approach toward stuff in the same way that I had adopted a mindful approach toward my physical health (through exercising and healthy eating), and in the same way that I had adopted a mindful approach toward my mental health (through relationships, work-life balance and meditation). (For more on those topics, browse the blog by using the Search tool on the right-hand side.)
Many wonderful things happen when you become mindful: your life looks like the life you want to have. You feel content. Satisfied. Fulfilled. Enthusiastic. Energetic. Peaceful. Truly, mindfulness is a panacea. Some things, however, are easier to be mindful about than others. We all have an elephant in the room.
Mine is my Internet use.
It all started very nicely: the Internet is a wonderful way to keep up with current events (especially when you very rarely watch TV, like me), to read everything on the topics you are passionate about, and to stay in touch with friends. In addition, the Internet offers very convenient tools such as interactive maps, dictionaries, and various apps. Obviously, I also use the Internet for work: email is my primary way of networking and communicating with my - numerous - clients on a daily basis. Most of my work resources are online as well. I have also used the Internet to find inspiration and to publish my writing (for example, see here, here... and of course, this blog).
Because the Internet is so central to many positive things in my life, it has been hard to draw the line between reasonable use and excessive use. Just like overeating, and unlike, say, smoking, overusing the Internet poses the extra challenge that you cannot completely eliminate it from your life. Using the Internet might not be a "basic need" like eating, some people (including me) still rely on it for the major part of their income. Even when I am not online per se, I am typing away on the computer for work-related purposes. Stepping away from it, in my case, would signify the end of a big chunk of my translating/editing/writing career. It's not an option.
So. Internet has to stay. The problem is, I often find myself overdoing the online presence. I will go check my email or write a blog post... and end up wasting an extra hour reading all kinds of articles (which I then "have to" repost on social media, of course). Most things I read are "intelligent" and help me learn and grow. Sometimes, they are humoristic and entertaining; hey, we all need to unwind and have fun. Still, that time spent in front of the screen is time I don't have for other things.
I know I am not the only one struggling with my use of technology. This is partly why I decided to share my thoughts today. Many of us are addicted to one form of technology or another. In a lot of cases, what should have been used as a tool has become a crutch or even a drug. If you or anybody you know spends hours on end watching TV, have a hard time putting down their phone or cannot imagine life without video games... we are on the same boat: technology addicted. We have been swallowed by the black hole. As of today I want to extirpate myself from it - or at least regain my control over it.
Being mindful does not mean everything will suddenly improve drastically. Knowing you eat or drink too much, for example, is only the first step toward improvement. But it is a necessary step. Over the next few weeks I will be making conscious efforts to limit my use of the Internet. I know I will experience both success and setbacks. But what matters is that I am setting this in motion.
What is YOUR elephant in the room?
WEEK 24 IN REVIEW
Donations (good riddance)
Have you ever really addressed the small things in your house? Pens, paper clips, nails and screws, small utensils and tools, lip balm tubs, earrings and the like might not take a lot of space, they do create clutter. How do you organize yours? And how many do you really need?
I am slowly getting rid of anything belonging to the "small things" category that I don't really use or like. You should give it a try!
Observations and cogitations
The weather has been (and will be, judging by the forecast) glorious. It reminds me, once more, that simple things such as sunlight, wind in the trees, bird songs, colorful flowers and the scent of fresh cut grass or pine trees are enough to fill me with joy. Why do we even bother looking past those wonders? Why do we fail to notice those wonders in the first place?
Your turn to share about your struggles and victories of the week! What did you resist? Did you donate or get rid of anything? Did you face any challenge? Please comment below! And...
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