We live in a world of a million options. At any given moment, there are a tons of different things we could be doing. On Facebook alone (at least on my newsfeed) I could spend all day following links, watching youtube videos, exploring photo albums, listening to music, commenting, liking, posting, ad nauseum. It truly is a clickhole.
But what am I really accomplishing by spending my time this way?
The answer is... nothing, I'm accomplishing mostly nothing at all. Sure, it keeps me up to date on the latest news from my friends and family. It fills me in on current events and Hollywood gossip, giving me something to talk about when I'm out in the real world. So there is some value to it.
But as far as my personal growth, my forward progress, I'm lost. Any benefit from it is easily negated by the damage done to all the other parts of my life that I'm neglecting.
As with most things, there's both a good and bad side to this. I wrote this blog post some weeks ago while I was on a plane, and as I typed away I was repeatedly distracted by the gorgeous view outside my window of California's bright green, rolling hills and epic, snow capped Sierra Nevada mountains. This was a good distraction. Taking a moment marvel in the beauty of nature is never a waste.
But then what about those times when you spend a few hours trolling around Facebook instead of getting on that writing project you've been meaning to tackle. Or when you play a video game all day instead of going on that hike with your friends. Or you when you stay home night after night watching mindless "reality" TV shows instead of engaging in the actual reality that's all around you.
I believe in balance, so there's absolutely nothing wrong with distractions up to a certain point. Life shouldn't be all serious all the time--ugh, that would totally suck--but life isn't just a bunch of fun and games either.
The serious parts of life are the lessons, the growing pains, all the conversations and questions that are a central part of who we are as humans. The fun times are there too for a much needed mental break, to lighten the load so we can recharge before going back to this meaningful business we call life.
Figure out a way to engage in both sides. Do it even when real world stuff hurts a little bit. Push yourself to get away from the comfort of distractions and out into the life-affirming waters of the present. It may be difficult at first, but I swear, in the end, you'll be happy with the results.
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