Real Life

This is an essay published on the internet about, among other things, how I spend too much time on the internet.

On its face, it seems counterproductive to publish a blog post about a decision to limit internet use.  Why would I (1) write something like that on the internet and (2) encourage others to be on the internet by writing this so that they can read it?

Hear me out.

As a guy living in 2012,  I feel like I don’t have any free time.  Work, social stuff, church stuff, house stuff, etc.  But, am I actually too busy?  What am I too busy to do?

After taking a look at how I budget my time, it turns out I’ve got plenty of time in the day.  I feel too busy to keep up with things I passively want, like finishing a novel, being more involved in local volunteering, fixing up the house, etc.  But I have free time.  I just use it poorly.  I browse Facebook.  I browse Drudge.  I spend twenty minutes trying to find something to watch on Netflix.  I spend thirty minutes trying to pick a book to read.  I check Twitter.  I check Facebook again.  I have goal lists.  So many goals.

So far in life, I’ve wanted to be a pro wrestler, a rock star, a poet, a writer, a director, a civil rights lawyer, and probably a few other things that I’ve forgotten.  A lot of “big” things.  I spent a lot of time being driven.  Working towards the next goal (college, law school, the bar exam, the big job, etc).  The problem with being driven is that you think you’re incomplete until you’ve reached the next goal.  When you’re driven, you never quite reach that new goal.  That’s kind of a bummer.

It’s disjointed and pointless.  I’ve busied myself out of a full life.

How does this happen?  If I say I value la dolce vita over diversion, who do I choose diversion?  To tell the truth, I don’t know.  It probably doesn’t matter why.

What I do know is that life is limited, and that makes the time that we get valuable.  If I have the choice spending it on things that don’t matter or on things that do, then I’d rather spend my life on things that matter.

That brings back the second question.  What do I feel too busy to do?  What matters?

What I’ve learned lately is that the biggest life that I can have is a small life.  I don’t need to be famous or work ninety hours a week to live a life that matters.  My joy comes from striving to be a good husband, a good son, and a good friend, from putting in an honest day’s work.  My beautiful life is more about going on walks with my wife and my dog.  It’s about relaxing with some buddies after a big day.  It’s about driving around the state to see family and friends that I’ve known my whole life. It’s church potlucks.  Those are the best times.

This isn’t an essay about why Facebook is bad or why you shouldn’t have goals.  It’s about remembering that the little things are the big things.

God bless you this week.

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