It’s not my first time at this parade. Here’s how it goes.
One, panic because we’re all so screen addicted. Two, backlash against the panic because screens are so incredibly functional and they’re good for everything. Three, a creeping feeling that no matter how functional it all is, we still might be overdoing it. But then that hovering anxiety held in silence, too, because, anyway, there’s nothing we can do.
Five to ten percent of people (Tanya says right here) can’t control their social media usage. Do you see me raising my hand? Hi, my name is Esther Emery, and I can’t control my social media usage. I basically have all the pressure points: obsession with knowing #AllTheThings, a bleeding heart, social anxiety, perfectionism. It gets the worst when I feel friendless or personally isolated in a place, which is a common condition, and not only for me.
The truth is, I’m a bit of an expert on this region, where Internet use meets the deep cravings of your soul. I haven’t blogged about it a ton. I sometimes do. But I did write a book about it. (And this is what my TEDx talk will be on.) Did you all know that?
It can be so confusing to guess all the things someone is going to be passionate about. It takes some people by surprise, to hear that I wrote a book about dropping off the Internet, as opposed to a book about living in a yurt. But books move more slowly than lives do. And people are complicated. I wonder if I make the toga-clad Internet platform gurus cringe with all my personalities? You’re supposed to have only one sign in your yard.
But you know what? Folks, I don’t have a yard. I have a mountainside. And, anyway, this is all the very same story. Jesus. Intersectional feminism. Going off the grid. Going off the Internet. Jesus. It’s all trying to find real in the sea of manufactured, and precious holy in the sea of the profane.
And judging from the voices all over the Internet, sounding nearly desperate for a way to slow down and get deep, under the waves of our surface-driven lives, I’m not alone.
I’ve been on a bit of an Internet binge this last few weeks. I just so love to know what everybody is thinking. I’m always trying to get my finger on the pulse. And when I realized the pulse was leaning self-aware in these arenas…to short attention spans and joyless scrolling and wanting to throw phones over bridges, I just leaned in that much closer. Until I couldn’t look away.
October comes just in time. I have a precedent, a pattern, in October, and I need it this year even more than I did when I created it. For all of October I will create content on this blog, for my #31days on daily tasks and simple beauty. At least an image and probably some words will go up here every single day in October.
But you won’t find me much in other places. I’m deleting all the apps. I’m regulating the online hours. I’m letting go (at least temporarily) of the platform-building number crunching nightmare.
Don’t expect me, though, to be a purist. I’ve done the purist thing. When I did my year without Internet I was absolutely draconian, and I have for sure proven whatever it was that I needed to prove. (What was that, anyway?) This time it’s more of a generalization. Exceptions include:
–My posts will be advertised on social media automatically anyway, because they always are.
–I’m not quitting the Mountain Dream Home series on YouTube.
–I will occasionally promote Sarah Bessey’s book Out of Sorts because I’m on her launch team.
–And, I’m going to be on Blab. Blab. Do you all know about Blab? October 13, when my interview episode is live on the podcast Spark My Muse, I’ll also be available for a live conversation on Blab. I can’t skip it because I’m already committed and because how can I pass up the chance? It’s called Blab.
So, yeah. Clearly not a purist.
All I know is this. I need to watch a sunset now and then, without wondering whether or not I should Instagram it. I need to be witty with my husband without wondering if I should capture this or that funny moment and turn it into a tweet. Sometimes I need to capture moments with my children on my heart instead of on my Facebook feed.
And every year, in October, I need to do a soul-splittingly long list of homestead chores.
I won’t be far away, this October. Not really. I’ll be right here. Doing piles and piles of work, mostly. But also getting my head on straight, my vision in line, and my soul calibrated. Then I’ll dive right back into the waters of the Internet, ready for another go around.