The Art of Choosing Yourself

There are plenty of moments when I get sucked into the phantasia that is the internet, shuffling my way blindly through articles and blogs and videos and lists and quizzes until I discover way more than I ever imagined I could. And while some of these forays into the world wide web are totally guilty pleasures (like finding out which 80’s cartoon character I am), others are important. They are places where I learn a lot and connect with people who see the world like I do. They are videos that showcase the amazingness of humanity or clips that grapple with complicated human truths in elegant ways. They are places where I can grow.

But they are also sometimes places where my energy is diverted. While I can often find the good in my wanderings on the web, lately I have been thinking about protecting myself and my life. Today there was a video I wanted to watch about a topic that I care about. I clicked on it, and one minute in, I realized that I was going to give myself, my time, my afternoon to this potentially good video. I was going to learn a lot, but I was also going to lose my chance to write and work on things that I also think are important. So I clicked the pause button, and I chose to close a good thing to be present in my moment.

I bookmarked the video, and some night when I’m tired and not in a place where I can write, I may watch it. And then again, I may not.

But then there are the times when I watch videos or read blog posts or peruse articles about controversial topics, and I get riled up, and I am passionately engaged with the ideas, and I am upset that the world is the way it is, and I want to just grab the nearest soapbox and preach away.

And it’s a good thing. It’s good to be passionate and engaged. But it is also sometimes bad. Sometimes I let myself be swept away but all the engagement into a place where I miss what is really going on in my moment. My emotions run high, my energies become depleted, my focus is diverted, and it is often just between me and the computer.

It is a good cause, but it dilutes me. And I let it.  

In this modern world we have access to so, so much. So much good and so much bad and so much in between. And we can take whole days swimming around in all the good and miss the chance to actually climb up on the shore and breathe in the air and take a walk in the present. I don’t usually think about having to protect myself from the good, but I think that may be exactly what I need to do.

I think we are quick to think that boundaries are for bad things, but maybe they aren’t. Maybe they are just for things that get too close and take too much and threaten the integrity of the thing they surround.

There is so much good in the world, so many things that I want to be involved in, to fight for, to engage with, to soapbox.

But I think that I need to be careful to not lose sight of myself in the panoply of good.

To not give up my moments watching other people have theirs.  

To remember that taking in is important, but being is more so.  

And no matter how much time I spend, I will never keep up with youtube or buzzfeed or even all the amazing blogs that I want to read. And that’s ok. Because life is choices, and learning to make them is a constant adventure, one that I am glad includes a few top ten lists and videos of cats and the choice to turn it all off and be me in the moment.


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