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.}


Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Lovely, thoughtful post, Suzanne. It really is a delicate balance...and I admit that I have dramatically cut back my time on social media because of much of what's on there. I've also learned to click that little "I don't want to see this" button on FB. There's, as you say, so many wonderful things about social media. I am guarding myself against all of the rest...if it is sapping my spirit, I don't want it.
Thank you for your beautiful photos and words...they FEED my spirit, sweet friend!

Monica T. said...

I say go for it! I view Instagram kind of like a magazine.I can look and admire,or not. I can follow who I want, and can allow whatever followers I choose. I tend to share about my garden,and nature, as I am not one to publicly share lots of selfless or family pics. HOWEVER, we are twinning when you describe your love of peeking in,listening intently,etc…same here. It's a balance indeed, but one we ultimately control. I backed off for the summer, and don't spend a lot of time during the week.

Julie said...

another outstanding and touching post. It's good to see you writing one. :-) I agree with you. In everything that pulls at our "attention" today...there is always going to be a tension for me. I totally get what you are saying. With the good, there is also NOT good. Some days require a little more sifting than others. Hugs to you sweet Suzanne. Thank you for the read. Thought provoking. xo

Charm Bracelet Diva {at Home} said...

Okay, so you know what I'm going to say before I even say it....I'm with you:)As much as I love blogging, well, this social media stuff is just, well, exhausting! I do not care what you had for lunch or how your child looks when they're sleeping(sorry)....but you get it. Some days I can tolerate it better than others. Lately I've been asking myself if it's really worth it. I, too, need to find a balance. We truly are kindred spirits my friend. But then you already knew that:)xoKathleen

Blondie's Journal said...

This is a very relevant post, dear friend, and I think all of us feel the same push and pull. While we can't edit our lives nor the world around us, it's difficult to edit or bypass the stories and images we see on the media ( I include the news because I hear so many people say they don't watch the news anymore). So I guess it's all personal preference.

I never really cared for FB and just recently deleted most of my followers to just family and a few close friends. And I only look at it about every other week. It was plain boring. I just discovered IG a few months ago and I enjoy it because it reins me in on just posting snippets of my life as opposed to essays on my know what I mean!!! Sometimes it's frustrating---ladies posting photos of their homes can be a little "show and tell" but we know blogging can be that way, too.

Honestly...I'm still in the blogging world because I love to write and I'm having a few doors open because of it. I try to keep things moving by touching on many subjects and hopefully, not being overly obtrusive with monotonous parts of my life.

i love when you write and give us food for thought. That said, this is one media I hope you continue to pursue.

Jane x

pve design said...

Yet, if it were not for this window into your beautiful heart, we might not have had the pleasure of exchanges like a soft hand on my shoulder providing just the right encouragement. A beautiful post. XO

Leslie said...

Hi Suzanne! With so much material coming at us from every angle it's difficult to keep things in perspective. The various forms of media are always in my face .. spewing their spin/perspective. Sometimes I just have to turn everything off :\ Blogging has changed so much the past couple of years and it's always a challenge for me to find the right family/work balance. If you are going for a more editorial style blog, that is mounds of work and the competition is tough. Personal blogs can be published whenever and the pressure is off;) Enjoy your weekend! xxL

Mary Anne Komar said...

As a spouse of a retired Air Force veteran, I keep in contact with friends round the world through Facebook. But I do rely on the 'hide' button, frequently. Do look at a lovely blog from England-She'll Cottage, a real delight since we lived there for three years. We no longer have regular tv but a roku box, so we can really screen what is available, nor do I watch the news.
I want to say thank you for the sensitive piece today. Have a lovely Autumn time.

Pinky at Designs by Pinky said...

This is really a balancing act many times. I think we all have to decide what is TOO much for ourselves. And then back away. I still love blogging, even though I am a little blog with not alot of followers. A friend who is a HUGE blogger asked me recently, how long I thought I would continue to blog. I said, "as long as it is still fun". It is a hooby for me, not a job as SO many of the big blogs have become. As for Facebook etc. I stay on to keep in touch with family etc. I do NOT comment or post anything political, it is senseless to me. Thanks for this insightful post!

Bonnie said...

Suzanne, You always bless me with your insight and wisdom. I also am struggling with the balance of blogging and social media. I really had decided to stop blogging but I missed so many aspects. Your statement, " I'm still figuring it out" is so true for me also. I also don't comment on political issues. This was a very insightful post and your sweet heart shows through again.

Dawn Y. said...

I love listening to your heart, Suzanne! I have fallen in love with blogging as a way to meet lovely kindred spirits, both near and far. It truly has become an unexpected joy in my life! The only blogs I read are those that help me learn and grow. Every day, I choose joy! FB, Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope are simply too much sharing, so I don't have accounts. There are even times when I choose to take a break from watching the news.

It's always a delight to hear from you, Suzanne! ♡Dawn@Petals.Paper.SimpleThymes

The enchanted home said...

You can always get me thinking! I love your posts and cannot agree with you media has gotten way way out of control, way too transparent. Your wisdom is always spot on and I so agree that this is all very much a balancing act and honestly its one I wish I could put the breaks on at times....nice to leave somethings to the imagination!

I was telling a friend the other day, even going on vacation is no longer what it used to be..we used to eagerly get home to develop our picture and share the highlights with friends and family. Now they know what and where we are eating, what we are wearing, what we are doing WHILE we are there and way before our return flight touches the ground!

PS Have no idea what revenge porn is and I want to keep it that way:)

Art and Sand said...

What an interesting post.

You had me at your love of peeking into the lives of others. I love to people watch and weave stories.

I also love NPR and Story Corps is one of my favorites. I would often find myself crying as I drove to work and I would call my husband as soon as I could to ask if he had listened. One of my favorite lessons as a teacher was about reading and it came from a judge telling his granddaughter how he came to love reading.

Lisa Ancona-Roach said...

I, too, struggle with time and worth with social media...but I can't see myself giving it up entirely. I'm too glad to be connected to people that I wouldn't be if it weren't for social media.'s up to be to use it to my benefit and not my detriment.

For instance, I'm glad I get to connect with YOU :)

Low Tide High Style said...

Suzanne, you are always so insightful and thoughtful, and I love how you create posts that make us all think. 2015 has been a transformative year for me in so many ways, and social media was part of that transformation. Last spring I shut down FB, and I haven't blogged in almost 11 months. Though I still enjoy seeing other people's comings and goings, I found that I wanted to keep a little piece of me for just me. I think with FB I was seeing a side to some of the people I liked, and thought I knew, that made me not really like them as much...TMI syndrome maybe? I didn't really want to know all of their political leanings, to see their negative responses to so many issues, or their downright rude responses to other situations, so I thought it was time to step away when I felt the need to "right" their "wrongs." My daughter calls it the "someone is wrong on the internet" illness where you feel the need to correct or interject your opinion, and I don't have the time or inclination to do that. :) With my blog, I felt as though I had run out of things to say and forcing it just wasn't working for me.

Thanks again for your beautiful images and your though provoking words as always!

xo Kat

Lucy martin said...

I hear you on many levels...

Sami Pat said...

My last post was generated by some of the same feelings you express here. I'm working my way through my blog roll and deleting those that just don't go where I want to go. It is not a criticism or a judgement, really, just a need to pare down to what I really want to appreciate. Thanks for this. Now I will if I can add you to my list.

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Oh I could not agree with you more Suzanne. I too love NPR and social media as well. But my time is valuable and I am very selective about what I want to spend it reading, learning and enjoying.

I am not really a person that shares too much of my person life on my blog, mainly recipes and adventures but we'll after I have taken them.

Thanks for always making me think! I do so enjoy reading your posts.

I hope that your beautiful kids are well. How is your pup?

Dewena said...

I read recently that the more time a person spends on FB, the unhappier they usually are. I wonder what the stats would be for blogging? I've tried dropping out before, came back with a different mind, to enjoy it when I have time and not to feel guilty--well, not too guilty--when I don't. I've been told that I'm labeled a Slow Blogger. That's fine. And my FB is only for family and a few friends. I don't dare try IG.

I do enjoy visiting blogs. It is indeed like peeking into other homes and lives and imagining their stories. And to me, the story is the thing.

You are so wise and I know you will arrange your social media time so that it only blesses you, which is what we all should do.


P.S. Edna Ferber is a favorite author of mine and I think I have almost all her books, but not Saratoga Trunk yet. I did watch the movie last week on TV.