There’s something happening to my days. It’s not the usual ‘oh my how time flies’ type of evaporation that most women of a certain modern age experience – ‘oh my goodness, it’s Christmas already, yada yada yada’ – it’s something weirder than that. I’m talking series lapses in the time continuum that kind of belie reality.
It’s like this – the kids head off to school at 5 minutes to 8, I sit in front of the computer, make coffee, pee… and the kids are opening the door again after a full day’s school.
What the..? How did that happen?
I know I’m not alone. I know there are other women so busy and so scrambled, they struggle to put three words together at the supermarket checkout and instead stand there listlessly hoping the checkout chick won’t ask how their day has been for fear they won’t even remember a single occurence and instead stand there blubbering like a quasi-mute fool.
And God forbid having people over or meeting friends for coffee. I recently met a friend and I just sat there staring at her for the first 10 minutes, asking her to ‘warm things up’ for me while I got into the adult conversation groove again, and could actually utter anything intelligible.
I guess this is what happens to a gal when all she does is type adult conversations in 140 characters or less. Tweet!
Anyhoo. Frankly, I’m kinda over it. I’m over watching my life slip by while I fit 1000 multi-tasking things into my highly productive, 5-minute-long day. But are my days really that productive?
Recently, I set myself a deadline for a new manuscript. I turned off email. I also turned off facebook, twitter and my phones. I set myself down at the computer and I wrote and researched and wrote and researched and wrote. I acheived. A lot. And lo, when I looked up from my high achieving stack of work-completion, I squealed out loud to realise it was only 10.55 in the morning. That’s right. It was not even eleven o’clock.
I was certain it would be quarter to three.
Stunned, I had to check every time device in the house just to clarify. And when they all matched up, I squealed again, then thrice. How had I got so much done and managed to harness a time slot that didn’t flit and scritch by like a squirrel on a nut bender? That time slot – focused and dedicated – instead cruised smoothly. It meandered as time normally should. It didn’t get lost in faffing, in bits, in scraps and skerricks. It didn’t get squandered. Ridiculously. It didn’t get piddled against the wall, frivolled away, misspent, scattered and reduced to mere trifle.
It existed in a space continuum that made sense; that slipped smoothly into linear reality. The output reaped the appropriate fruits, and I felt grounded again. Real. Sane. It felt like life Used to Be. It felt calm, creative, emotionally fulfilling, and best of all – connected.
Then my camera (which I use every day, all day long) broke and I was reduced to faffing and fussing and piddling once again… 48 hours of it. Not once a clear, concise, direct, productive moment (as is the way with modern technology difficulties). And those 48 hours… where did they go? Into a scattered pile of misery and frustration, with moments of wanting to break things (over people’s heads) and throw things out windows… as time once, became most suddenly fragmented and lost lost lost.
Losing time and feeling you’re losing your mind from the Overload is a modern phenomenon, particularly amongst women who are trying to do too much, too quickly – usually via that quick-as-a-whip convenience called The Internet. Gone are the long scrawled letters of papery news. Gone are the late night phonecalls interstate because it’s cheaper. Our lives are faster, more convenient and we are achieving more – yet it’s harder than ever to get more than three friends in a room together (although margaritas help).
The conveniences are greater yet we’re all too exhausted, too scattered, too wrung out to enjoy the spoils.
What’s going wrong here?
Already we are noticing the changes in our bodies. As our middles thicken and our thighs spread from all the sitting and the screen-staring, we are shovelling sugar in our mouths at a greater rate than ever before. Studies show that the flicker and movement of an internet screen tricks our brain into thinking we are more physically active than we really are, heightening our need for sugar, carbs and higher energy food. Yet we’re burning less calories.
Our brains are expediting, our appetite and scope for achievement is at an all-time high, yet our emotional capacity – our physical and biological capability can’t keep up. We are high-tech brains in Industrial Age bodies. Our brains are levetating above the flesh and we’re finding ourselves struck dumb from the disconnection.
Can we keep it up? And who is really suffering here? Is it only us?
When the plane goes down, we are instructed to pull down on the mask and help ourselves before helping others. Who will earth the children, the home, the nutrition, the care, the love – if mum is skittling around in the clouds, twittering her head off, unable to snatch more than a moment’s solid sleep from the high-tech overload?
I am an enormous high-tech hogger and I shall forever hold it close to my heart… but my heart is still a thumping knot of muscle and blood, the same stuff it’s been made of for many hundreds of thousands of years. Can my scattered space age brain really become totally self-reliant and rise above the flesh? Can any woman’s mind really segrate from her heart so very utterly that it actually screws with the time continuum?
More than ever before, women are experiencing a greater voice and heights of change that, although wonderful in so many ways, could very well separate her from the earth-bound essence at her core. Sure – live your high-tech life… but if, like me, you are starting to experience a disconcerting disconnect, it may just be time to pull down that oxygen mask and reconnect with earth once again.
Like that aeroplane, what goes up must come down, and no matter how high the modern women flies, she will always find her feet. The only thing is, she won’t find balance and connection twittering in a tree. It will always be on the ground.
See you down there, sister.