It’s been a while since I said hello to the real world. The world where I don’t wake up and have the rolling hills of Umbria dotted with olive groves unfolding beneath my window. The world where I don’t fall asleep with the sound of bullfrogs and owls chanting a Gregorian rhythm with each other. The world where I don’t get to do things like climb in rafters or laugh with high school girls as we fight pottery wheels, or pretend I know how to use a kiln that heats up to a couple thousand degrees or ride horses on a semi-regular basis or dress up in weird clothes and still be normal or get thrown into a lake. The world where everyone speaks the same language (or they think they do). The world where they don’t really understand the impact of the past on the present. The world where everything seems to be at our fingertips through the internet, when really a webpage only gives us a glimpse what we could be living.
In the past eight months I’ve traveled to/through five different countries and at least six different states. I’ve slept in houses, cabins, lean-tos, tents, pop-up trailers, hostels, hotels, airports, and monasteries. I’ve traveled by plane, train, and car. And this is the first time in about six months that I am beginning to have internet access again on a regular basis. For a week or day here and there I would be able to have unlimited access, but for the most part, my times on the internet have been limited to an hour a day or a couple hours a week. No more.
Since returning to the real world, I’ve checked email probably over 20 times (and I’ve probably only had a new email for about a tenth of those times) and checked facebook just as many, if not more. Why are we so addicted to the internet? Granted, I don’t really have anything else I absolutely need to be doing right now, but I do know that I could spend my time doing better things, like journaling or writing a poem or scrapbooking, even using the internet for better things like researching future job possibilities. Facebook is a phenomenal invention, really guys, it’s fake. It allows you to get stuck in a fake past of memories as you and your “friends” plaster “I miss you soooooo much” all over each others’ walls. Go visit that person. Have a real conversation with them instead of looking at their pictures and wishing you were there with them when you have your own life to be living around you. The internet is a great tool for keeping in touch and sharing thoughts and memories, but as soon as it starts keeping you from living the life you’re in now, it begins to kill you. As soon as you start to believe that it’s a real community and it encroaches on solitude, you’re toast. Don’t let it happen.