In between discussions on the pros and cons of Facebook (and other social media) and conversations on the pros and cons of retirement, the word distractions keeps bouncing around in my head.
Many of us find little ways to distract ourselves from some of the less attractive sides of our day-to-day reality. I believe this is at the root of Internet addiction. To distract myself from feeling lonely or bored, to avoid doing a task I’m not in the mood for, I check in to Facebook – or my Osprey chat community – to see what my friends have to say. There are also legitimate reasons to check in, but so often, it’s about distraction.
Mind you, it’s not the fault of Internet. I could just as easily get sidetracked by reading a book or watching a movie on TV (and occasionally I do). We sometimes forget that getting distracted isn’t a modern invention. It pops up as soon as people have the luxury of freely deciding how to spend their time.
I get distracted easily. While getting ready to clean up the kitchen, I spot a pheasant in the garden. I grab my camera. An hour later I’ve had great fun and gotten some wonderful photos. The kitchen will have to wait.
This, of course, is one of the joys of retirement. How I spend my time is my responsibility. I (usually) don’t need to feel guilty about getting distracted easily. I’m not absent-minded, I’m just living in the moment!
But I do think it’s important to ask oneself whether an activity or distraction is nourishing to mind, body, or soul, or just a way to pass the time. Sometimes, it is more nourishing to allow yourself feel boredom, loneliness, fear of the future, or whatever other emotion you are trying to avoid. It will show you a side of yourself you’d rather not see, and you will learn from that.
Even though writing this blog keeps me from all sorts of things I should be doing (like cleaning up the kitchen), it is nourishing my mind and soul… and hopefully that of my readers. The kitchen will have to wait.