When I add a second life to the cosmos in May, I have an urge to disconnect completely—a deactivation of accounts kind of disconnection. I am consistently concerned with being present and engaged in everyday moments. I despise a group of people sitting and staring at their phones. But am I guilty of this myself at times? Of course. It’s easy for a stay-at-home mom—or anyone in the world—to take a moment to escape to your personal hook, whether it’s Facebook, Reddit, or a game.
I know what my husband sees when I do this, but I often wonder what my son sees when I am on my phone. I literally think he believes it’s a magical device that we just call a phone. He knows that the phone has pictures, videos, games, TV shows, and other mysteries such as the actual ability to talk to daddy. But he doesn’t seem to care when mom or dad has to work on the computer during our “quiet time.” Ha, let’s be real. He doesn’t care as long as he’s had his daily laps around the kitchen and quality play time beforehand.
Really though, how much influence does this “on the grid” existence have on our lives?
I’m clearly not the first person to ponder this, nor will I be the last. The duality of the matter is endless. Technology allows me to stay in touch with numerous family members living all over the country. It allows me to write and share with others… like I’m doing right now. I don’t underestimate the power of this kind of connection, yet I often question it. I have legitimate fears that I will waste precious moments posting a photo when I could be less preoccupied with documentation and more concerned with experience. I’m afraid that “checking in” could take precedence when maybe it shouldn’t.
I entered the social media realm when my son was closing in on his second year of life. I wanted a better opportunity to share our journey and glimpse into other people’s joys, woes, and opinions. I don’t regret the decision, but think I could benefit from looking around my own space and place, unconcerned with what I can’t see or touch. There is an ultimate question of balance: how far does the family bridge extend without the medium; how much writing can one do without deciding to share?
I have joked that I’d like to be a shut-in like Emily Dickinson writing and writing and doing as she pleased. No one really knows if she truly desired this existence or not, but her mind’s infinite inventiveness can’t be questioned. Then I remember and know that this wouldn’t satisfy me forever, so I keep looking for my equilibrium.
I will absolutely disengage when my new baby arrives, but I am not sure if I will fully deactivate just yet.
Even if I did, I’d come back. And maybe that’s all that matters—finding a place in the universe that works just for us: A place where we can be ourselves, where we can see our acquaintances from long ago on the screen and still hold our spouse’s hand and hug our friends; a place where we feel comfortable and confident; a place that allows us to break free from excessive political discourse yet allows us to remain informed; a place where we can share our important feelings on justice and peace; a place where we can see each other’s similarities and differences and embrace them. A place in between Walden and a technological metropolis…that might just be within our reach if we try hard enough.