Monday, April 30, 2012

Sensory Overload

Obviously, I don't write quite as often as I used to. This is partly because the MonSter has been playing nice lately and I am rather enjoying living my life without it constantly digging its claws into me. But I would be lying if I said that was the only reason. I hate to admit it and seldom say it out loud but my eyes give me a hell of a lot of grief, all day, every day. I have adjusted and I continue to adjust to them.

You may have noticed that the culture we live in today is very much dependent on this little thing called the internet. And that we are all addicted to our smart phones and our social media and all that jazz. And while I don't spend nearly as much time on a computer as many people I know, I do like to read and send emails, see what my friends are up to (occasionally stalk people??) on facebook, check out the latest sales online, pin things on Pinterest, etc.

Between the double vision and the severe dryness, my eyes get tired very easily and when I try and do too much reading, driving, TV watching or spend too much time staring at a computer screen they get angry very quickly. It can be a total bummer, especially when I am in the middle of reading an awesome book or desperately trying to play something on the piano only to have the notes swim together on the page. I laugh when I think I actually used to work in a IT/Training Department and spent 8-10 hours a day on the computer. The thought of trying to do that now is completely insane. 

And in today's online culture, it is hard sometimes to feel like I am not missing things when I only spend a tiny fraction of my day on any sort of computer, as compared to much of the world. Then again, maybe it's not such a bad thing. It means I have to carefully pick and choose what I spend my time on. I have to prioritize my precious eye time and say no to alot of things that I would have spent time looking at in the past. And while it pisses me off sometimes, is that really such a bad thing?

An old friend of mine wrote a book recently called The Information Diet and while I am certain his target audience was not people with visual impairments, the message actually applies to us all equally. Maybe it's okay that I don't consume as much information online as a I used to. More that half of what I used to do online was "junk food" anyway. Was any of it really making me a better, smarter, well-rounded, more interesting person? Probably not.

So what if I don't graze through the amazing things on Pinterest as often as I would like? Instead I played a new song on the piano that one of my students wants to work on. No, I didn't click on that article about so-and-so and what they wore or  and I didn't read through everything on facebook, instead I drove to meet my best friend and we had a wonderful, meaningful conversation over tea.

I think like many things in life, it's about moderation. Eat what you want, just not too much of it. Have a glass of wine now and then, not the whole bottle. Spend some time on the internet, or on your smart phone, not all day, every day. More than ever, I realize the importance of taking time to 'unplug' from it all, to limit my time spent at the computer and in turn, avoid that feeling of sensory overload on my eyes and my mind. And despite occasionally feeling like I am missing out on things, in the end I hope to be a more relaxed, slightly saner version of myself. 

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