Today is a milestone for our son — as he participates in a “Bridging Ceremony” which brings him from the end of Kindergarten to the beginning of a new grade, a new stage in his educational and personal development. It also happens to be the last day of school; his gears will be shifting quite a bit after today.
After a lot of thinking, it’s time for me to shift some gears as well. Which is why this will be my last Shiny’s Takeout post for quite a while.
When I started blogging several years ago, I felt it was the most amazing thing: I’m often better at writing than speaking conversationally, and I liked it when I received positive feedback and affirmation from a community of readers. My community has been nothing but wonderful — sharing aspects of their lives and thoughts through blogging itself. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of you in person and develop some wonderful friendships.
Somewhere down the line, however, I started using my blogging as an escape from my own personal life and dealing with my own issues. I had seen this pattern years before when the social community was IRC. Both platforms gave me a chance to shine. Both of them helped me feel validated when I felt I couldn’t validate myself. But there was a dark side there: I was losing track of what I needed to be happy in my own personal life.
It’s been a lot easier to go online and read blogs and tweets and reply with my witty remarks or helpful information. And for people to laugh at my jokes and make me feel good about myself. But it’s taken a toll: I’ve been working at a job where, every day, I sit down in front of two computers, spending a lot of that time extracurricularly following a specific community of people online. On my way home when I’m stuck in traffic, I’ll fire up Twitter on my phone and follow that same community. And when I’m home? I’m back on the computer spending time following people online. This is great when done in moderation. But I’ve no longer done this in moderation.
I weight a shade less than 300 pounds. I eat in front of the computer a lot of the time. This is far from healthy. I have high blood pressure, and my mother died at an early age. Being so consumed with the online community is dangerous.
I have issues in my own life that I’ve been beginning to face (thanks to therapy and the advice of friends), yet the online world is becoming more and more of an escape for me and an obstacle for getting shit done. My productivity at work is down. My focus on my family and my marriage has taken a back seat to emotional investments in the online world. I think now, more than ever, I’m realizing that I need to face the music and stop escaping to a better place where everybody knows my name. I want to be a better person, a better husband, and a better father.
So I’m giving this blog a rest. I don’t know for how long, but will at least be long enough to shift my gears. You’ll also find me absent from Twitter and from your blogs. I wanted to put this out there instead of simply disappearing off the face of the blogosphere. I’m still here; I just need to stay unplugged until I can learn how to plug in in moderation.
If you’re reading this, it’s very likely that I’ve had some wonderful exchanges with you. You all are a very talented, empathetic and loving bunch of people. Please stay that way. I do hope to return when I’ve learned more self-control. And I hope I find the same welcoming community as I’ve found before.
Have a good summer…