Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Internet Won't Make You Happy (and other revelations)

This past Sunday evening my womanfriend-slash-sexy-time-partner-for-life-starting-this-July caught a ride with a friend back to her house in Wellesley, Massachusetts. It came out that the dude actually knew who I was, having at one time or another followed a link from the delightful Faith & Theology website to this one.

Ain't it grand the way the internet just plods on and on, making connections and drawing us all together into one, big, happy family?

Yay.

- - -

At the beginning of this year I promised myself and you that I would post something every day, because discipline is awesome and also I thought it might increase traffic and sell more books and draw more attention to that movie I'm trying to get made and eventually solve all my existential and interpersonal angsties forever and ever, amen. 

- - -

But then this past week a friend of mine had a bit of a personal crisis, so I had to sally forth for a week and leave behind my hobbit-hole and my computer and, to some degree, my stress over the fact that I can't seem to push this particular camel through this particular needle's eye.

- - -

This friend of mine with the crisis happens to also be a marvelous visual artist, so in addition to spending my time at his place reading a couple novels and not worrying about this (stupid-dumb) website, he and I also spent a fair bit of time talking about art. 

And while I do know and did remember that this whole art-making thing was supposed to be fun, I realized that in my efforts to rush the process, I'd forgotten to savor it. 

For this past week, though, I managed to leave behind my stress over all the money I still have to raise and the million tasks I have to complete for this feature film I'm putting together.

I forsook the tyranny of Posting-Every-Day.

I neglected the dozens of piddling little things I do hoping to possibly bump my estimation in the public eye. And I realized...

I don't actually like the internet. 

I am grateful that it allows me to share my thoughts and my work and make these tiny connections that for example give my womanfriend and some random dude a point of commonality. 

But I hate the way it makes me feel all fractured and desperate, and like I'm always trapped in a losing battle for attention. I hate how despite myself, I end up thinking of people as data-points in some popularity-game I'm playing. I hate the dehumanization. 

And the stress.

Ohhh, the stress.

- - -

In the back of my mind, I've been building this conviction that some day I am going to for realsies stop all this internet nonsense and focus on the things that really matter. 

And what really matters? 

What matters is being able to help out a friend with a crisis. 

What matters is being able to get back in time to chaperon that field trip to the museum my son's been so excited about for so long. 

What matters is that if the Lord wills it and the Creek Don't Rise, come summer I'mma hitch my metaphorical wagon to my womanfriend's and ride off into the rattlesnake sunset. 

What matters is my friends, family, and community. 

Everything else is just a chasing after the wind. 

- - -

My movie may not happen.

My books may never sell more than a few hundred copies. 

I may toil away in obscurity for the rest of my life, making things that few will ever see or care about. But the real tragedy would not be time "wasted" on making stuff that (let's face it) moth and rust are gonna destroy, anyway. No, the real tragedy would be to spend that time stressing about things I cannot control to the point where I miss out on what matters most.

- - -

So I un-promise my Post-Every-Day thing. 

Instead, I'm going to try to figure out how to do it for the joy of it, and I'm only going to share when I actually feel like sharing.  I'm going to work to reject the false promises of happiness this whole internet-thing keeps making, and stop giving it the power to bait-and-switch me into missing out on too many absolutely perfect moments. 

Because life is good, and too short to waste on fear. 


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