Selling Myself Short

Using digital tablet double exposure

Eight days since I last posted anything. And every day, I think about the fact that I haven’t written anything, I’ve been quiet.

Social media, too, hasn’t captured my attention as it did for so many years. Am I growing tired of the medium, no longer believing in its wisdom or power?

Perhaps. Every time I open one of the platforms I’ve worked so hard to populate, I wonder why we do this at all. Pose in front of our camera-phones, show pics of our kids, our food, our sunrises and sunsets, the sweaty after-rowing proof that we did it, despite the fact that our hair is matted and our skin glistening.

The weigh-in on so-glad-curriculum-night-went-well or I’m-so-tired-today-isn’t-back-to-school-hard. I’ve done it all. Nodded my head. Felt a communion with those posting exactly what I’m thinking.

And at the same time, I smirk and think, what kind of world are we living in? A world in which everything is public and seemingly nothing private, except we are more alone than ever behind our screens, and we seem to prefer it that way.

Have you had a day when you felt sad or lonely or out of sorts, when you yelled at the kids and regretted it almost as quickly, when you got nothing done except to shift around papers on an always-crowded desk? And you went to call someone to pour out your heart, except there was no one to call because no one talks anymore.

I’ve had days like that.

along the roadAnd I’ve had days when I run from meeting to meeting, when I shake hands and offer smiles and share a bit of my story in hopes of hearing a bit of theirs. And then I trudge home, tired and dragging, no time to work out or to smell the trees under the afternoon sun, and I fall into bed, mindlessly thumbing the remote for something I’ve already seen.

I wake up in the morning, and it is no longer light when that alarm chimes. I look at my phone – who emailed! who posted! what stories did I miss! – knowing full well that no good day begins with a screen.

And then I lug around books I am hoping to read a bit of but not really finding the time. Or not making the time.

Because other things beckon.

What’s it all for, I wonder?

I send emails, answer emails, delete emails, and then drive the kid to rowing and pick up the kid from school and pick up the other kid from wherever she wants to be after school dismisses and then it’s family dinner if everyone is there to gather around the table.

I try for most nights to sit down inside our home, the silence of knowing one another and the safety of the love we share surrounding us, but most nights lately, people are in different directions, paths crossing, ships passing, and it is nightfall before we all return home together.

Perhaps it’s the getting-used-to of another school year that I am experiencing, and I sure hope that’s all it is. Maybe in a week or two, things will even out, curriculum nights will have come and gone and the routine that we’ve established will feel natural and easy and we’ll fall into a flow of our days and nights and time together.

Charming girl drinking cappuccino and eating cheesecakePerhaps that’s all it is.

Or maybe it’s this running that characterizes the modern way of living, and if that’s it, I don’t like it one bit.

I want time.

Time to linger, time to ponder, time to color in or out of the lines, whichever grabs me.

Time to walk, time to take in the variations of sky and soil, time to pick the last tomatoes from the backyard garden, time to watch the baby bunny who is not old enough to know to be scared of me before he bustles under the bushes to hide.

I want time to write. Time to see friends and not have to rush off from our lunch. Time to read. Time to sip coffee. Time to listen to the words of a song.

But now, it’s time to end. To finish this thought and rush to the carpooling because that is the path right now on which I walk. The answer to calm and peace is there on my horizon, I know, I just can’t see it. At least not today.

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