An Unintentional Absence

Oh.  Hi there.

…..Wait.  Don’t shout.  I know I didn’t call to say that I’d be gone for a little while.

You thought I was dead in a ditch somewhere?  I’m so sorry that I worried you.  That was irresponsible.

Let me explain.

It started with one little decision.  On some unmemorable night three or so weeks ago, I got home from work and I decided that instead of blogging I’d do housework.  And then the next night, I decided I would finally get around to checking out the new Sorkin, The Newsroom.  Then there were some work-related things I needed to catch up on, and my Dad visiting and the Olympics and then I wanted to watch more of The Newsroom and well, I just lost track of the time.

Though over time, that one little decision became an intentional decision to take a little blog-iday, a little break from blogging.  I wanted to see if I could cope with it.  I wanted to see if maybe I even liked it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we – how I – live my life lately.   The world communicates differently now than it did when I was 10.  So much of the world documents their lives online.  We put up statuses about our days, we comment on how much a friend’s child is growing or what a nice job they’ve done on their house or on how envious their vacation looks.  We spend hours tweeting with people we’ve never met.  We build relationships with people that we may not have seen for years, that we rarely see now, that we may never meet.

Blogging can so easily pull you more prominently into this world, especially if your desire is to try and increase your readership.  And no lie, I have wanted that.  I do want that because I love to write and I hope that people enjoy reading LOAEP.

The Native and I often joke that often social media seems an opportunity for us to beg people to stroke our egos.  “Like my status, like my photo, like my life.  Like me!  Please, please like me!”  And maybe you can’t fully appreciate this if you don’t blog, maybe you can as long as you have any sort of notion of social media – but it is easy to begin to update, upload, download, and comment for acceptance.  All of the sudden you are living your life to please this cyber audience that exists somewhere “out there.”

As an expat, I can’t ignore what a godsend social media can be when my family and friends long  somehow to be involved in our lives, but neither can I ignore how convoluted our priorities can become by taking part in it because while my fingers were busy tweeting and my camera was snapping away for that next upload and my mind was busy constructing my next blog post, I would find myself missing moments and opportunities to live life in a more connected way with the people who are right in front of me.

I know I’m not saying anything new.  Watch WALL-E .  (How can a non-verbal robot say so much?)  I do think I needed this break to re-prioritize.  I still want to write.  I love doing it.  But I don’t want to obsess about whether I’m a top blogger.  I don’t want to take pictures simply because I need content.  I don’t want to live with my phone in my hand because I want to raise LOAEP’s profile.  I don’t want to live life next to family and friends as we lose ourselves in this “connected world” that is so readily at our fingertips.

I want to remind myself what “connecting” means by disconnecting a little bit more.

Who’s with me?


4 thoughts on “An Unintentional Absence

  1. sandysview

    Snap! I’ve decided to distract myself from social media overload by writing a movie. I’m looking forward to the oscar ceremony of course but now I find I don’t know who I will invite the awards after party. Early days of course as have never tried to write a movie before and I haven’t started writing the screenplay yet but I do have a good idea formulating. Good points well made here expat!

  2. bayta

    I can relate to this in many ways. Kind of scary when I find myself living through an event (big or small) just trying to figure out how to turn it into a clever status update, blog post, etc. A the same time, quite often the discipline of writing (particularly a blog post) actually helps me process life, thoughts and emotions, and thus make the most of them.
    And don’t forget that your writing blesses others! So often I find my favourite bloggers (and you are one of them!) spark thoughts and shed light on something I have been experiencing but couldn’t quite figure out. Or they just plain make me laugh when I need cheering up!

    1. Living Life as an Expat Parent Post author

      Thanks for your really kind and thoughtful comment. You are right about writing and its process. My battle is this – some bloggers decide to share quite a lot. That’s fine. It’s a personal decision. It can make for better writing. But I feel like when you don’t protect certain parts of your life, that search for content seeps into all of those really intimate areas. I’d rather that the content just comes from living rather than the need to keep or gain readers by posting daily. I’m sure I won’t get the balance right at all times but I needed to pull back to redefine it a bit. What about your blog? Are most things in your life subject to become posts?


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