If you are at first lonely, be patient.
My “always-on” lifestyle is fun. I’m on Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, blogs, and myriad other social services that promote people sharing their stories and ideas in real-time. My iPhone is always on, my netbook is always charged in my saddlebag, and even my TV at home is connected to the Internet. In other words, I am only truly “alone” when I’m sleeping (even then, my wife and dog are there too).
I have wanted to spend time alone, but haven’t spent the effort necessary to seek out solitude. I tried to make a pledge during a summer fellowship with the National Writing Project in Kansas City to go acoustic; I wanted to go a week with no devices, only pen, paper, and face-to-face interaction. I promised myself I would honestly look at how and why I was so connected. What better time to be reflective than when I was being paid to think and write? Alas, I couldn’t bring myself to unplug. The addict came right back to the spacebar and motioned for another round.
I hadn’t reentered the memory of my failed endeavor until Tanya Davis yanked me by the collar and sat me down.
If your heart is bleeding, make the best of it.
I want to thank Paul Oh for sharing this poem on Facebook. It’s actually a bit strange when I think about it; the nature of the poem encourages just the opposite kind of action, but perhaps Paul knew this. Maybe he knew that overly connected people like me would need to see this. Whatever the reason, I’m going to make another attempt at an Internet fast. I’m not sure what it will look like yet or how long it will be, but I’m going to bookend it with this post and a reflection at its conclusion. While I’m still planning, I’m open to your suggestions.