Right now, I should be doing.
I should read the last article I have before class even though I’m pretty sure I have already read it and could tell you the highlights of it based on the title.
I should do a few more dishes, or vacuum, or straighten up the living room.
I should blow dry my hair instead of letting it air dry, leaving it a mess of waves and kinks.
I should go take my medicine before I forget.
I should, I should, I should. This was what I was worried about when I left JVC, that my life would go back to a time of always feeling inadequate, always thinking I can do more, always stressing when I don’t. Sometimes I’m amazed at all I fit in during my college years, and other times the “shoulds” still haunt me. Should I have done a senior thesis? Should I have joined a sorority? Should I have written for the newspaper or joined the debate team?
I’ll easily admit that I am not the most time efficient person on the planet. I check Facebook, e-mail constantly. I browse through patterns on Ravelry instead of just working on the ones I have already decided to do. I watch TLC and read blogs more than I need to.
The research I am working on with my professor centers around cell phones and information-communication technologies, so I’ve spent a lot of the last few weeks reading up on how changes in technology have effected us. The consensus is, that despite conventional wisdom of how cell phones and social networking sites are turning us in to sub human anti social beings, they really serve to strengthen social ties and networks and aid communication.
But when you combine our tendency to think “I should….” with our ability to interact, communicate, read, text, call all the time, we never stop to think. Never stop to rest, to unwind, to simply be.
Waiting in line, I text. Slow points during class, I check my e-mail. While my husband puts on his shoes before we go out the door, I turn on the TV. It’s as if any moment, even two seconds, of silence, my brain will stop flowing and I’ll keel over and die, pulling the plug on my mental self.
I’m not saying technology is bad, or time in line can never be used more efficiently than shooting off an e-mail or sending a text. But I’m saying that I don’t want to lose the art of being. Of waiting. Of silence. Of letting my brain rest before the next thing on my to do list. It’s amazing how when I try, the “shoulds” come back. I should do this. I should do that. I shouldn’t just wait. Waiting is wasting.
I want to find a balance between using technology for what its good for, and stop using it to avoid silence, downtime, slowness. These things aren’t evil, they are rejuvenating. These moments allow us to practice our presence, to simply be.