I am at a long time low for time spent on the computer. Current mood, interests and some browser functionality troubles making it a less engaging draw than usual. This is mostly a very good thing, not being so tied to the screen feels liberating, but it sure makes it hard to keep up. When I do check in I am a little overwhelmed. There's no keeping up with twitter, that's for sure. You're either there or you're not. I frequent an Aspergers board, and an allergy one, and I am a member of 4+ nings (and that is after culling the list last year!). I am finding time for light lurking, but not enough to participate much. I have the ubiquitous, though mostly inactive, flicker, facebook, shelfari, and youtube accounts. I do tonnes of practical stuff online from banking to researching, shopping to managing my library activities (how thrilled was I the day I realized I could request whatever books my heart desired online and have them all ready in a tidy stack on my next visit to our closest library?!). And then there are the things I am really invested in, like keeping up with my sisters and my gerds (girl nerds!), the kick-ass online course I am only about halfway through, and of course, here...not just posting, but wandering through the aisles of blogland, absorbing inspiration and encouragement, and hopefully putting some back out there too.
But time, time, always with the time...and balance. I have more freedom with the choices I can make in regards to my own time than most people I know, yet still struggle with managing it...or maybe I struggle so much for that very reason. It is open ended, much of it flexible in my own hand...mine to figure out, mine to waste or make the most of. Yup, unbusy. Still working on the unbusy.
And what does less time on the computer mean? Yesterday it meant time to read to 2 sick boys, and when my voice was tired and I absolutely had to do some housework, it meant laundry folded and a clean kitchen while we listened to Stephen Fry read us Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone. Then when a very ill L started trailing me around the house wrapped in a grubby blanket, just to be near, it meant I could stop and go sit with him...for a long, long while. It also meant getting all caught up on Complex Collage (the aforementioned kick-ass course), although obviously, I haven't posted my work yet, (*irony*) and cooking the most delicious stir fry for supper (sick boys scarfing down tonnes of veggies=parental triumph).
But when considering my screen time, it is not so simple as in the olden days when it was crystal clear that blowing 4 hours playing Doom was not the best use of my afternoon...no question. (what? those monsters were not going to kill themselves.) Now, the value of time invested in the computer is a little more complex to quantify. I am doing good stuff on here, learning, sharing, accomplishing practical tasks. I broaden my own world by connecting to the world at large. I am old enough to still marvel at just how fracking cool the internet is! Remember when researching meant making umpteen phone calls, hauling ass to the library, and trying to decide just how out of date the info in that dusty Funk & Wagnall's was? I mean, c'mon! You will have to pry Google out of my cold dead hands. Internet=good. Computers are a necessary tool, and time on them, not only unavoidable, but beneficial in a myriad of ways.
However, it has been undeniably pleasant to be less plugged in, and when I sit down to check my home pages and email, sift through bookmarks and twitter feeds, I am reminded of just how much complexity I have added to my days. And the time eaten up!? How often does just checking your email end up as link after link after link of an hour's worth of rabbit holes? Or maybe that is just for us ADD-ers? (ooooo, shiny object...) For me it can be a frighteningly potent distraction. So pulling back a bit, as Martha would say, it's a good thing.