I spent the weekend away from my computer. I have mixed feelings about that. The kids and I spent all Friday at our homeschool coop, which is stressful for reasons I cannot pinpoint. The people are nice, the atmosphere is relaxed, the kids are fantastic: polite, creative and enthusiastic. But by the end of the day, I am mentally caput.

Friday evening was the beginning of an overnight retreat at my temple. I love going to temple, but the idea of staying overnight was not appealing. Sleeping is one of my favorite activities, and I knew I would not be doing a lot of it. I also do not want to be away from my family, even for a night. Pushing myself outside of my comfort zone is an ongoing challenge, however, so I went. It ended up being rejuvenating as well as exhausting. Also, I learned that if you smother oatmeal with plenty of yogurt, it becomes palatable.

After sleeping like a bear, I needed to really consider everything discussed at the retreat, so I stayed away from the internet. That was a hard decision: I really wanted to get online and catch up with everything that I had missed in 24 hours. I had email and blogs to read. My usual routine is to turn it on in the late morning, after I have worked with my son on his schooling. He is an early riser and often done with his work by the time his sister gets out of bed. My daughter does much of her work independently. I give her a list of the things she needs to get done, and a copy of the week’s schedule, and I let her budget her time as she pleases. This week we received a box of 20 books, Horrible Histories. She has been reading them literally one after another; finishing one, putting it back in the box and pulling out the next without pause.

I used to read like that, and I think I should perhaps start again. The internet is making me a junkie for information. I seek a constant infusion of new input: news, images, jokes and trivia. But when do I process all that information? I am fractured, mentally. Some time ago I read an announcement that Sesame Street was changing its format to reflect the shortening attention spans of its young audience. I thought many things, all of them judgemental: Not my kids; We don’t watch tv; What’s wrong with those parents. Guess what? It has happened to me. It could be happening to you.

Going on retreat was the right choice, even though it was very difficult. I have been thinking for some time that I could be making better use of my time, but have been avoiding what I thought of as the only answer: going to bed earlier and waking up earlier so I have some time alone. That may still be the best option, but I also need to be more mindful of how I spend my regular waking hours.

 

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