13 August 2015

Dead Batteries

No Smoke Without a Fire

After having yet another problem with my blog the other day (or the other month, if you comprehend my internet accessibility issues), I requested The Lizard's advice.

"Well, Ms. Eastwood," my Clint Eastwood fan replied, "I'd recommend perhaps taking several weeks to several months off. In big, bold letters start a blog post with the phrase, 'See y'all the 1st of November!'"

Rather extreme, but stated with a kind, concerned and loving sense of humor and yet a degree of seriousness, he sees first-hand the stress and frustration I experience when I am not able to be all things to all people. He's been attempting to teach me to say firmly but kindly, "No" for 10 years and 28 days now.

Although I do experience a "Go ahead... make my day!" attitude now and then, my permanent and long-standing goal is to be respectful and professional. Thanks to our internet limitations of the past six years (until competition entered the airwaves in February), I think I finally began to learn I don't always have to say yes. I can't always say yes.

I finally am learning it's okay for me to have a life.

There are times when my blog is like a second full-time job. Both my job and my blog sometimes require overtime, and I've always been willing to submit, often at the expense of time with my husband. I love all three, but my husband is my priority. With our ten-year wedding anniversary last month, the temptation to let go of the blog did indeed simmer. Bad days brought it to a boil.

Thankfully, my husband understands my need to write. He has never demanded I give up my blog. He would like me to give myself a break. He doesn't want me to burn out. He knows burn-out is not inspiration-friendly. He knows I can't be at my creative best when I'm frazzled and drawn in too many directions.

What does all this mean?

I do not stay at my job 24 hours a day. I am not on call around the clock. I love my job, but it is not my life, and my bosses feel the same way about their jobs and lives.

Is it wrong to expect more commitment than that from a personal hobby blog?

I do not have 24-hour internet access. I recently lost half the internet access I've enjoyed the last few years. I cannot change my limitations without serious, dramatic life changes, but I wouldn't want to even if I could. (There was a time when I would have deeply, deeply loved to IMPROVE my former internet access without having to buy my internet provider a fresh array of satellite transmitters and a space shuttle to service the transmitters and surround sound-fashion cell towers.) I do not see life on the internet as life. Just as work is not my entire life. I have made amazing friends over the internet, just as I've made lifelong friends at work and outside work. I've enjoyed a plethora of resources at both work and on the internet. There is more to life, however, than what I see on my computer and on my phone.

I want to be able to ride my bike, stalk wildlife, climb mountains, hike canyons, photograph wildflowers and bake homemade bread. I want to make quilts and clothing. (And grandbaby clothes!!!) I want to write books. I want to finish books I've already written. I want to be the master over the weeds in my garden during growing season. I want to use up the rest of the yarn I dyed during the summer of 2013. I want to be properly trained in time for next year's Ride the Rockies if we get drawn. I want to be able to sit back and relax after a hard day at work without having to answer questions from blog readers who don't read and would have their answers if they took the time to read.

I'm not complaining. I'm not trying to be mean or judgmental. I'm not even trying to nudge anyone.

I just want to be able to reclaim a part of my life I've unknowingly but unwillingly surrendered to total strangers. It is not within my means to be all things to all people all the time.

One of my husband's favorite magazines recently published a story about what they are seeing in terms of subscription numbers. They said print subscriptions are on the rise, and electronic subscriptions are falling by the wayside.

I am one who loves a good book or magazine. I like the feel of holding books and magazines in my hands. I love to write in a paper journal, although I do think I like to type in a computer journal more because it goes so much faster and doesn't run out of ink in the middle of a word, but that's not proving my point. I like turning pages. I love the sound of pages being turned. And I hate trying to read (or type) much of anything on my phone. Can I say that enough??? My eyesight just isn't what it used to be. I hate squinting to read or write anything on my phone!!!

I would love to be a part of a world taking the time to unplug, at least temporarily, a world reinvesting in real reading completely free of texting and tweets and ads!!!), a world slowing down just enough to smell the flowers, watch the trickle of a stream and listen to the rustling of leaves.

I'm not walking away. I may slow down a bit, and my sporadic commenting may become even more spotty, but I'm not going away, at least not yet. I don't want to abandon my post. I'm just putting my foot down and taking time to enjoy things I may never get another chance to experience again. Hopefully, in the end, that's what makes my blog special. Seeing beautiful things, then sharing them right here. Like this...

Mama and Baby in Cimarron

8 comments :

  1. I think we all get these phases at one point or another with blogging. I know I spend waaaaaaay too much time on the blog. I probably need to go get a life, maybe a wife, hahaha I've been stepping back with internet stuff a bit lately. Just taking a breather, but the blog still is there. Only thing I've written all month is blog comments haha we can't be glued to the internet all day, well fun, other things sure slip away.

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    1. They say the average lifespan of a blog is 7 months. I just cleared 7 years. The biggest pain all this time has been internet access. I'm learning to do more on my phone, and that's a huge improvement, plus, I think it staves off Alzheimer's. 😅 I've lost half my internet convenience, and I have a choice of spending 2 or 3 hours 3 or 4 times a week at an Internet cafe or just scaling back so I can keep doing the things I love. I'll try to keep up, Pat, but I'm not going to give up life anymore to be ever-present on the 'net... To much to live for!

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  2. A man's got to know his limitations! - Dirty Harry

    I walk into a university library and get a sense of being immersed in knowledge and history - I love it. I walk into a computer lab (which includes university, Star Bucks, et cetera), I break out in a heat sweat. Yes, a lot to be said for books. I kind of feel for younger people who don't know, or understand, a good ol' book.

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    1. Thank you for understanding what I feel. I do like the internet, and I don't break out in any kind of sweat when I walk into an internet cafe, but I do want to limit my internet cafe time because there is so much more to life than that!

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  3. Amen ( or Preach it sister?) I agree 100% with you - but I may demand to see a moose photo now and then ok? We have the internet stuff too - half the time we can't get connected....we are still alive though lol - Enjoy!!

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    1. You've got it, Alycia! I plan to see lots of wildlife, and share it right here. Missing it for three years now is one of the reasons I need to slow down and back off a bit...

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  4. You go, girl! Go ride, go walk, go garden, go photograph, go hang out with Lizard, go read.... By all means ease up on the blog. There are no rules that say you have to post every day (thank God - if there were I'd be thrown out of Blogland in a minute). A blog is a demanding taskmaster. Of course we want our blogs to be the best they can; sometimes that means quality, not quantity, in terms of posting. We MUST make sure there is balance in all areas of our life.

    I live a very un-connected life in terms of internet access. We have good access, but we do not leave our computers on. When I want to go online, I turn on the computer. When I'm done I turn it off. I don't carry the internet in my pocket in the form of a smartphone; I don't carry (or own) a tablet or a laptop or a netbook. Living like this was initially dictated by finance but is now a conscious choice. And I feel much more free this way, than if I had constant access over many devices. It may be an unfashionable way to live but it's the way I've chosen and I don't plan on changing it any time soon. I do not want to be at everyone's beck and call; I don't want some little machine to ping me every time an email arrives in my inbox or someone leaves me a comment on fb. There is a time for everything, including online activity. Imagine if in the pre-internet days people strung a wire from their mailbox to their pocket so they'd know the second the mail arrived! Or if they had some kind of alarm system that alerted them every time some famous person opened his/her mouth! How silly would that be? ;)

    Yes, real books are the best! In fact I've been reading so many of them this summer I've neglected a lot of online reading. And that's okay. There's a peaceful, contemplative quality to having a book in one's hands. No hotlinks, no flashing ads, no distractions on the page.

    I could go on and on, but you've got other things to do than read comments of encyclopaedic length.... :D

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    1. You know what, Sure? I love your long, encyclopaedic comment! You are so right on!

      However, I do have to mention I used to watch out the window for the mailman when I was expecting a letter or card from Grandma...

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