I’m a part of this culture, no doubt about it. I’m in it, enjoying the luxuries it affords me, its conveniences: checking my e-mail on the go from my phone, driving a little over three minutes to the nearest grocery store, tuning into my favorite show on TV (and if I miss it, it’s most likely online the next day!). When it works for me, it works for me. But there is a tension I feel all the while. I like it but I don’t want to be slave to it. I don’t want to check my e-mail at every stop light because I can. I don’t want my kids to remember their mom as someone who had her nose in a screen instead of her eyes on them. They’ll do as we do, not as we tell them to do, right? The coming generation, I worry, is losing the ability to communicate outside of texting and Facebook. These are the kids my kids will be growing up with. A community that, I’m afraid, is missing out on real life. That is watching people live their lives on TV instead of actually living theirs. That is playing games with a Wii controller inside instead of with a baseball and a glove outside. Was I the last of the generation that used their imaginations? I used to play school by the hour in my basement. I played store with my friend Sally, making price tags for everything in her room and taking turns being shop-owner or customer. I rode my bike around town, weaving throughout the streets of my small town with my friends from morning till evening all summer long. I didn’t have a cell phone in my pocket and yet I managed. We all did. Does that exist anymore? While I totally take part in this culture, I chafe against it so much. At times, I want to be rid of it completely opting instead for a simpler time in which we weren’t fighting the “keeping up with the Joneses'”. (Parents, I mean no disrespect, but WHAT are we doing buying six and seven and eight year olds iPhones or computers? Setting no time limits for their computer or TV time? Why can’t we, quite literally, tell them to go outside and play on a beautiful day and not dare come inside for one whole hour? To read a book to earn their TV time?). I’m not saying it’s simple. Kids are stubborn. They don’t want to do those things when they could be so easily entertained and put no work in by watching a show. And parents, well, we’re tired and sometimes lazy and a screen is a cheap babysitter! But goodness, does it worry me. I don’t want my kids to miss their lives. I don’t want them to look back and wonder why I let it happen. Here’s where my (and I should say our, because Steve is so of this mindset as well) dreams of living off the grid come in. I want to live a simple life. Where a regular day could consist of passing the time in a hammock outside with a book. Where walking trails wind all around and gardens of vegetables grow waiting to be picked. Where I don’t feel the need to check my e-mail ten times a day and instead I’m really present. I can do my best to give this life to my kids, but can’t we all? Shouldn’t we all?
And if my blog suddenly disappears, you can find me in that cabin up there (like-minded people, join me! We’ll start a commune! Complete with backyard chickens!).