By Nadine Kam
On New Year’s Eve, I received a message from MauiShopGirl blogger Tania Ginoza, regarding sharing my New Year’s resolutions.
At that point, I hadn’t given it much thought beyond not making any resolutions. First, I had the flu going into the new year, and when you’re sick, the future is last thing on your mind. There’s only the present miserable state.
Second, last new year I was caught up in the rush of the Post A Day movement, joining other bloggers around the world in pledging to post daily. “How hard could it be?” I thought at the time. I was already posting four to five times a week. What’s another couple of posts?
Well, my daily posts lasted about a month. Those two last posts, I found, were the difference between what one of my bosses calls “therapy,” and stress-inducing obsession. And when it comes to a choice between mental health and insanity, the choice is easy.
I am entering my fifth year of blogging (August 2007), and fifth year on Twitter (May 2007). I take responsibility for turning a whole lot of people on to Twitter over a couple of evangelical years, but in the middle of last year, I cut back on my interactions. While on vacation in New York, then in nothing-going-on Lakeville, CT, I finally figured out how much time I was putting into social networking. With all the time in the world, and nothing going on around me, it was taking four hours a day to simply upload a handful of photos and manage conversations on Twitter, Facebook and Foodspotting. It’s a lot of time when you add in regular work hours and even though much of it is fun, it adds a layer of stress when you start feeling it’s something you must do at any cost.
I’d already cut back my blogging hours the previous year. When I started, it wasn’t unusual to stay up til 3 in the morning blogging and editing video. For us much as we talk about sustainability, those kinds of hours are not sustainable over time.
Now, six months after I cut back, I’m seeing new year stories along the lines of Pico Iyer’s “The Joy of Quiet,” extolling the joys of or desire to escape the information stream. I think that escape is impossible for anyone who wants to have any kind of career or relevance in the future. That information stream is as much a part of our culture as radio was in the 1930s to ’50s, and television from the 1950s through ’80s. But, I believe it’s possible to occupy physical and online worlds in a way that allows one to be human, not machine. And, so I arrived at my personal buzz word for 2012, which is “balance.”
If it ever comes down to a choice, I’ve always known that I prefer to live life on a human scale rather than the scattershot of bits and bytes.