Monday, October 05, 2009

Slow Down, You Move too Fast

Ok, I know I’m not Miss Cutting Edge. Never have been. As a matter of fact, I would say that if life were like a vacation getaway, I’d be not the young painfully hip trendies with the “Let’s Go” book under one arm and a backpack over the other, I’d be the person in sensible shoes and slightly unkempt but comfortable clothes perusing the Frommer’s guide whilst trying not to spill coffee on myself.

I know I’m not at the forefront of anything, which isn’t to say that I don’t discover great stuff—it’s just that I usually latch onto it relatively late in the game. Of course, I’ve always told myself—and I do believe this—that it doesn’t matter when you find something; the important thing is to find it. This doesn’t help, however, in this day and age of searchable files. These days, you can dig up info and stories on just about anything on those wacky Internets and drive yourself absolutely nuts finding cool stuff you weren’t a part of, fabulously rockin’ bands and hot clothes and dark, dangerous rock’n’roll bars and brilliant novels that you love passionately but that are long past their prime, that are not even yesterday’s news but last year’s. Go crazy wondering why you weren’t there, trying to figure out where you were instead, what you were doing, and what it was that kept you from whatever fabulous trend/movement/phenomenon you’ve discovered months and sometimes even years too late. As in, “why why why wasn’t I there when The Clash played Shea? When Bruce was at The Capitol Theater? When Joey got onstage with that great garage band at The Continental?” Answer: because I was a) 200 miles away from most of this and b) painfully unhip.

And though I have made some concessions to modernity, things haven’t really changed very much in my world over the years. I don’t have an iPhone or a Blackberry. The iPod I was given over five years ago sits on a shelf unused. I still haven’t really figured out the digital camera I was given several years back. Oh, I am not in the Dark Ages by any means—I text message, I have a Facebook account—but I don’t do the Twitter, don’t know what # or @ mean except “number” and “at.” That’s who I am, and it’s far too late to change.

But really, does it matter? I’m far past the age at which it’s reasonable to make massive changes in the way I do things. Little alterations, maybe, but not life-altering drama. Really, do I need to know that this or that FB post was “sent from a Blackberry” or “via MobileWeb”? How does this make my life better? What am I supposed to do with this information? Seriously, you’re already telling me what you’re eating for dinner; do I need to know you’re telling me whilst sitting on your ass clipping your toenails?

A month or two back I was feeling really exhausted mentally and physically, and took a mental health day off from work. Did nothing but play with the cat, eat my favorite food and walk on the beach. No computer, no phone, no technology of any kind. And you know what? I had more energy the next day than I had had in weeks. Lately I’m finding that keeping up with what’s what on Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo, Google, etc. is an undue stressor in a life already crammed full with stressful stuff, and frankly at my age, who needs it? After all, it’s not the technology; it’s how you use it. It’s living each day to the best of your ability and being happy with what you have. Enjoying small things, like the way your cat looks at you when you rub her chin, the way the sun plays off the breaking waves of the Atlantic, the way a cold drink tastes when you’re thirsty.

Yeah, I’m a Frommer’s girl in a “Let’s Go” world, and for me, that’s just about right.

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