I was thinking about when the internet first became a thing -- scary that I actually remember that. The IT guy at work was tricking out my computer to give me access, and I remember him looking at me as he did it, and saying, "You won't believe what a time-suck this will be!" He had no idea. This was well before YouTube and Facebook and Twitter. Heck, it might even have been before Google, though I'm not sure I remember a time before Google.
At the time I thought I just didn't have any extra time to waste: I was there to get my work done so I could leave on time and get home to my brand-spanking new baby. This work/life balance thing was already straining my limits; I really didn't have more to give. How wrong I was.
I recently spent an hour updating my LinkedIn profile page, fine-tuning it to be attractive to employ-mates. I obsessively check my email account to make sure I'm keeping up with the flood of messages that pile in from friends, coworkers, school, as well as all the businesses spamming me with the latest sales and deals they have to offer. I regularly drop into my Facebook page to check the status updates of my 437 "friends" that scroll incessantly down my "wall". And I just spent forty-five minutes navigating Twitter, searching for interesting people/groups/things to follow, and learning how to manage my account.
Because I just joined Twitter, and now I'm trying to figure out how this latest time-suck fits into my life. I can't imagine what exactly I need to say in 140 characters or less, much less who might want to listen to it. And if I decide to only use it to follow other people, I have to ask myself, who or what is so important that I need to hear from them multiple times a day in tiny little spurts? (Besides my spouse, that is. Goes without saying.)
No wonder I'm so anxious all the time: there's too much information to process, every minute of every day. I heard noted women's doctor Christiane Northrup speak a few years ago; she was saying that our psyches are built to process all the information of our village. But now that village has expanded, beyond the confines of our neighborhood, our town, our state, even our country. We have the news of the whole world at our fingertips, and our poor psyches are completely overwhelmed. I don't recall what she said we could do about it. I'm not sure she even had an answer.
But I remember when the blinking light of the answering machine, indicating at least one unanswered voicemail message, seemed like a lot to have to deal with. And that was for the one phone on my one desk. And somehow, I've managed to fold that time-suck, the internet, into my daily life. I just wonder what other meaningful things have gotten lost in the meantime. Because time only expands so much.