I have a new goal that I have been working on for a few weeks now. For several months, I have been feeling over saturated, over exposed and like I am living in a wind tunnel of news, facts, information all metted out in overwhelming chaotic doses. The fact is that I really don't want to know all that much about Lady Gaga or the Twilight vampires. In fact, my goal is to miss out on the next wave or two of shock celebs and tween heart-throbs entirely.
I decided a while back that I needed to turn off this faucet that I have constantly flowing through my computer, connecting my head through a series of tubes to all the junk available with just a quick google search. At first, I thought that I could do a year long experiment in disconnecting. This thought came to me over the Christmas season, so the notice was short and I had very little prep time for something like that. There are plenty of details to hammer out, bill pay, banking, someone feeding my online Tomagatche (Tober has since passed, sadly, so that is less of an issue), too many to figure out while celebrating the coming of Christ with copious amounts of eggnog ice cream. It was a warm winter.
Instead of cutting off the supply entirely, I decided to take a few steps to limiting my consumption. First, social media in its many iterations had to go. A simple closure notice and picture change let my friends on facebook know that I had left the building for an extended vacation. Next, I added a filter to my computer. OpenDNS did the trick, I have a few websites that I still visit regularly, ones that don't bombard with information or that are specifically to further my formation. I killed access to news sites, and plenty of entertainment sites. With any luck, Lord Gaga will pass me by without my ever knowing of his coming.
Then, I had to get my email under control. I had so many automated searches, email lists and subscriptions that I was getting a couple of hundred emails a day. I've red-lined my gmail account twice already. Twice. After a couple of weeks of unsubscribing, filtering and deleting, I still get about 20-25 emails a day, but that is far more manageable than the ten fold onslaught of previous months and years.
Finally, I burned every CD that I have to itunes and filled my mp3 player with plenty of music and lectures for the road. I still have an hour drive to and from work, down an hour and fifteen minutes from my previous drive time, and I want to fill that time with something better than talking heads, idiot DJ's and commercials for 'more stuff I don't need to impress people that I don't like'. I still have some work to do in this department. There are some songs that I had that I find ... tasteless. I am getting rid of the music that fits that tag. I just don't want to give it any more of a place in my head. Sorry Tool, I love your music, I hate your themes.
It is a work in progress. But it is bearing fruit already. I have more time for more important things. I have been less concerned with things that I can't change and can focus more on tending to my own 'garden'.
I still have plenty of barnacles to scrape off my hull, I promised myself that I was done with this superfluous junk at least for the rest of the year, probably next year too, but once I am free of alot of the Facebook hangovers, I imagine that I probably won't want to go back. I keep saying that I want to simplify my life, but then I buy another gadget or join another web based community that is supposed to ... I don't know, fill a need? and I just end up crowding my life with junk and noise. There is a point where you have to say no more. There is a point where you put up a fence and raise the barriers to entry, because it makes life better.
And that is what I am trying to do, make life better.