I recently stumbled across I don’t hang out on the internet by Ryan Barrett and it hit a few marks for me, in different ways. One of the most significant effects being on the web has had on me is to ask a question: How much of this do you want?
My primary use of the web was to connect with people, much like Ryan explained, as a young adult looking for like-minded people. However, my relationship with the web has transformed to the point where I now feel as if I have both feet in different worlds; on one hand I adore the web enthusiast community – open web, IndieWeb, Micro.blog, etc – not least because without that collective behaviour it’s difficult to imagine the web would be relevant at all; on the other hand I love seeing non-web enthusiasts take part of their physical lives and share it with, well, more people than was previously possible. I connect in many ways with both sets of people and the intensity of my preference changes depending on a number of factors, not least of which is my mood.
However, the problem is the toll this can have on my energy and time, and frankly, on my mental health. Of course, “Just take a break!” is great advice and it’s always important to take a step back from any particular activity, even if only once in a while. I need more than that; my goal to work remotely requires focus, organised time, restraint; is that possible whilst investing time in a number of enthusiast activities? I’m convinced it is not.
The choice is therefore: what do I cut? Over the next couple of months I’ll be making difficult decisions with this, as the majority of middle-aged people also seem to do so.
Well… I have at least experienced all kinds of different joy in the process of indulging in a variety of interests and passions over the past several years. Things could have been much worse.