Last week I was without the internet for a few days. During that time I managed to draft 3 blog posts, clear out areas of the kitchen and my bedroom which had been bugging me for a while and read a book which had been lying around for a while, but which I had never found the time to read. It was such a productive time for me.
However, I quickly became accustomed to living only in the real world. And it wasn't that bad. I realised that I spend far too much time concerning myself with the affairs of others. Not that I spend hours on the internet. Often I'll read something upsetting which then consumes me for the whole day. I spend so much energy stressing about issues in the lives of others. What a waste of energy, I've come to realise.
A few weeks ago I read about the fact that a prominent Islamic scholar, whom I admire so greatly, was being implicated in the Boston bombing - simply because the suspected bomber had retweeted him. I was so furious - I could think of little else. "What are these idiots thinking!!" I shrieked at breakfast. "The Mufti focuses on and spreads inspirational life lessons - one of which is peace," I ranted to my husband at the dinner table that night. For days I was completely agitated and annoyed by this story - most likely more annoyed and agitated than the Mufti himself was.
What an exhausting way to live, I've since realised - especially for someone who empathises with the plight/sadness/distress of others to the point that it affects my own peace of mind and distracts me from what is happening in my own life.
During my forced break from the vitual world, I became calmer. I got my daily news by primitive means (tv and radio), but could not spend time on news24. and iol.com trying to find details about the stories about which I'd become obsessed - or worse, reading the annoying comments from the trolls on these sites.
Although my internet connection has since been restored, I am trying to retain perspective and avoid getting sucked into the lives of others. After all, I have all the challenges, blessings, drama and entertainment I need right here - in my own family. I must not lose sight of that again.