Friday, October 9, 2015

Too Much

Ever since I was a little girl, I've
been fascinated with the lives
of other people.

If my mom was having coffee with
her friends and I didn't have school
that day, I liked to tag along and 
listen to them exchange news and 
funny stories about their families,
and especially, to hear them laugh.

Playing outside at night (or trick
or treating on Halloween) meant the 
opportunity to view family rooms or 
kitchens that weren't normally visible, 
gathering new clues about those living
inside, which my young and vivid
imagination wove into what I guessed
might be their stories.

And my grandparents always had a
rapt audience in me when they
shared tales of their own childhoods 
or those of my parents.

Even now, I consider it a treat to arrive
early for a flight or to sit outside at a
cafe with a coffee, just observing the
people going by, conjuring possible dramas
and life scenarios for them.

So it's not surprising that on any
given day, my radio dial is often tuned
to National Public Radio, fertile ground
for this sort of fancy.

NPR's personal interest stories feed my
still active imagination, whether it's
a piece about Benedictine monks who brew
beer, the meaning behind symbols on our
Veterans' headstones, or the estate sale
of a 94 year-old Hollywood seamstress who
created costume patterns for legendary
movies and TV shows. 

Generally, these narratives leave 
me wanting more.  

But one particular day, when the
host announced that the upcoming story
would examine a new phenomenon found
on social media called revenge porn, I
quickly changed the station. 

Sometimes it's just too much.

Which got me thinking about social  
media, in general. 

Honestly, I struggle with it, even as a
person who likes to peek into others'
lives and learn more about them. 

How much is too much?

I've taken a step back in recent 
months from blogging and other
social media as I try to determine
what the proper balance is, for me.

I'm still figuring it out.

Is my world enhanced by viewing 
someone's perfect meal or new pool or 
hearing them rant about bad traffic?  
Am I improving my character by reading 
what antics so called celebrities are 
up to (you know,the crass stuff that 
pops up, unbidden, on FB), or learning 
about things like (ugh!) revenge porn?


And yet....

I love the posts and pictures that
celebrate life and all that's good
and decent and beautiful about it.
The dog rescued from a roaring river
by people who cared enough to stop.
The proud picture of a great-grandma
and her family as she finally receives
the college diploma she began earning
decades earlier.  A glorious image of
the sun rising to greet the day.

Shared joy is a double joy; 
shared sorrow is half a sorrow
says a Swedish proverb.

While I truly believe that, what 
about all the emotion and daily
adventures that lie between 
joy and sorrow?

Does all the stuff in the middle 
deserve a tweet, a post or a 
picture, as well?

In the case of revenge porn I say, 
Thanks, but no thanks.

But beer-loving Benedictine monks, 
newly matriculated great-grandmas
 or local heroes?

Bring 'em : )

To share or not to share?
I'd love your thoughts.


{All images my own,
except for the last
one, taken by my pal
HM of me trying to
capture a beautiful
NZ sunrise.}