I enjoy my online time immensely. I spend it writing my blog, reading other blogs I enjoy, browsing Facebook, processing the day’s photos & Flicking them (Flicking? The verb form of Flickr, of course), responding to email, processing orders, working on websites for design clients, working on my own websites… and many other things I could name if I thought hard enough. Some of it work, some of it play. Most of it enjoyable. I could easily whittle away my waking hours, computer on my lap, in the same cozy chair, with nothing but minimal breaks for food, drink, and bathroom. And I could be happy most of the time I am at it, too.
But here’s the thing: at the end of a day like that, when the computer is shut down, and I am safely settled into my pajamas, there is a dissatisfaction that creeps into my consciousness. I look around and really see my surroundings. I may have made great strides in the campaign to have a spiffy blog sidebar, but at what cost? Piles of laundry strewn about the bedroom, dishes stacked in the sink, kids running amok, stress, crankiness, and pizza delivery for supper?
Sure, all of those things can happen even when I’ve been nowhere near the laptop (and they do!), but I find that my domestic life hangs by an increasingly precarious string, the more time I spend typing. And the more chaotic I allow life to get, the more I retreat into my cranky self, feeling defeated by my children, and keeping my husband at arm’s length.
I’m very often guilty of trying to avoid housework. Very often. Being busy with the computer is an exceedingly effective avoidance mechanism. Still, I eventually do notice that my presence in the virtual world is having a negative impact on my real world(tm), and when that happens, I am reminded of the value of physical work.
Throwing a load of laundry into the machine in the morning, straightening up the living room, doing a small repair job for a paying customer, washing a few dishes, folding the clean laundry, cooking a meal, spraying down the kiddie pool… this is the work of my hands. This is something that has a profoundly positive effect on the well-being of my family. This is something I can take pride in, something tangible, and something I need not run away from so often.
Today, my hands have been busy. I feel good about how my time has been spent. I am guilt-free. I am content. I am inspired to playfulness and affection with my kids. And with my husband, too, for that matter. Using my hands to better my physical world makes me happy.
This idea is not news to most of you, I’m sure. I wish it wasn’t so often news to ME! It might be nice not to have to re-learn the lesson every couple of months…