I miss paper!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for saving trees. But I miss my printed documents and card stock. My paperback novels. My non-fiction books and lifestyle magazines. And of course my newspaper and the feel of its pages between my fingers when I read my daily dose, not to mention the quanitative measure of it.

When I have the sports section in hand, I have a finite amount to read. I can sit down at my kitchen table, drink my coffee and know that in half an hour (give or take a few minutes) I will get basic local, regional and worldwide sports news. When on to the next section I know I will learn what’s happening in my community, then another section and I travel around the world. All over a nice hot drink, emphasis on hot.

News in the digital era runs my coffee cold, then empty. The amount of stories is infinite. A person can read about a subject, then link and read more, and link, and link and link and link. It has become a never-ending time suck.

And can I trust the news is real? I am never quite sure anymore (That is another blog in and of itself).

It wasn’t that long ago that I lived without it all. No internet. No Facebook. No Instagram. No Twitter. Just a lame excuse for an email. Ten years ago when my kids were in elementary school I was at a PTA meeting when the president suggested that the school no longer offer paper newsletters.

“What if a parent doesn’t have or use email?” I asked.

“Then they need to move into this century.” She replied.

I was one of those parents. I didn’t want to receive my kid’s newsletters via email because I knew I would never read them. But the newsletter went digital and, as suspected, I never read it. Even to this day, after coaching high school basketball again drove me into emails and texts and the start of social media and a 180 degree change in my digital world, I hate digital newsletters and rarely read my son’s high school newsletter as I sort through my loaded inbox.

It has all become a drain. Even the good parts. The fun parts. The family and friend updates and photos which are awesome, can become a time consuming monster. And what about that anxious feeling one gets of missing out. Not that I need to be doing what my friends and family are doing (though sometimes that would be nice), but the sick feeling I get when I can’t keep up with the feed. I miss most of what is posted on Facebook because I don’t check the feed often and I can never tell when or if I have seen all the posts. When I found Instagram I loved having a smaller group, one that I could keep up with and see all the photos with a quick visit to the site. Then my group grew and I started to feel stressed, like I needed to scroll more often, scroll to the end, see every photo. I hate that feeling. And then I started getting random posts, sponsored posts. What the heck!

In the beginning it was all meant to save time and connect people, but does it really do that? Do we waste time surfing on our phones when we could be planting in the garden, writing our novel, talking to our spouses or playing with our kids? Do we get to really connect with the people we watch via social media? Unfortunately, most of the time, no.

Could I go back to a life of only paper? Probably not, but how do I tame this beast? What must I do to find a calm and get my time back?

I’m going to start by limiting myself. Stick to two or three times a day for quick social media sessions. No rabbit holes. I’m going to grab my journal and write instead of surfing. I’m going to meet friends for coffee, go for walks, clean my house, have face to face conversations with people, relax, breathe and put my damn phone down.

What suggestions do you have to tame the beast?

WRITING PROMPTS: Write about what paper means to you. Write about Social Media. Write about saving time. Write about a beast. Just put your phone down and go out and write!