Simplicity

Recently, there was a set of articles in the Style section (strangely enough) of the New York Times that discussed Generation X and the oddities of the 1990s. Of course, I didn’t think the 1990s were weird at all. My four years of high school and four more years as an undergrad all took place in the 90s…well, except for my last semester at The University of Texas, but close enough.

The articles in the NYT dealt mainly with the changes that have taken place in the past 20-30 years, and how much simpler things were on the whole just a couple of decades ago. The 1990s seem to be trendy again (if they ever were) since Captain Marvel took place in the mid-90s as well.

Anyway, it got me to thinking. What did I do with my time before the Internet…and cell phones…Plants vs Zombies, Clash of Clans, and Candy Crush? Was there actually a time before Facebook and Instagram? It seems like so long ago that is difficult to remember.

But I do remember.

I spent most of my free time in high school and college sitting in my room listening to music, reading books, building Lego sets or just generally doing things that most people would consider boring these days. The astounding thing is that it was during these seemingly boring moments when I was most creative. Boredom can be very beneficial.

Yes, I had one of these. And I still do.

Growing up, I used to keep couple of different pads of paper close. One was for writing and jotting down ideas, which I still do. The other was for drawing. I was never a natural talent, but pencil sketches were something that I really enjoyed. I couldn’t tell you the last time I picked up a pencil with the intent to draw.

I used to take rolls and rolls of film, pay to have them developed, and go through them over and over, looking at the pictures of the most random things I could think to take pictures of at the time. Anymore I relegate myself to just taking pictures of my family (not a bad thing) and maybe the occasional bird or flower.

I’m not actually sure what ever happened to all of my negatives.

Why don’t I draw anymore? Why don’t I have more pictures to edit on my computer so I can post them here? Why don’t I write more since it’s something that I enjoy? Why haven’t I been able to teach myself to play guitar very well? The answer to all of these questions (and others) is that I don’t take the time.

Notice I didn’t write that I don’t HAVE time. I don’t TAKE time. I’m too distracted by things that don’t matter to pay attention to many of the things that do.

I’ve been coming to this conclusion for a while. My forties have made me very retrospective. I’ve decided that I need to simplify my life a bit in order to get back to things that are actually important to me, instead of things that society is telling me should be important.

My first step…I deactivated my Facebook and Instagram accounts. I’ll delete them eventually after I make sure I have copies of all of the pictures I’ve posted. The recent privacy issues and Facebook’s co-founder writing that the company should be broken up made this decision a little easier as well.

I also deleted most of the games from my phone. I did keep Twitter though (@fourthrowscenes). I don’t want to be completely disconnected, and its interface annoys me just enough that I don’t really look at it very often.

Just in the few days since my minor disconnect, I’ve noticed that my mind has been wandering much more than normal. It’s been nice. Hopefully, this will be the new normal for me, so I can take in life a little more simply.

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