Sunday, February 14, 2010

Real Life or Virtual Life?


Happy Valentine's Day, dear blogging buddies! I'm particularly partial to Mrs. Fields chocolates, for obvious reasons. :)

Thanks to everyone who played along in my new blog feature, Toss Around Thursday. I appreciated all the great book recommendations, and I hope you'll all check back this Thursday for a new question to toss around.

While paging through a magazine last week, I came across an article that posed an important question: "Is your virtual life taking over your real life?" The author began by relating a scene that was all too familiar to me. She was sitting at the computer in the morning. Her husband said goodbye as he prepared to go to work. She mumbled something back at him, and he left.

That's me, I thought. Every morning my husband sits beside me in the living room to put on his shoes and pet the dog while I'm writing or blogging. He might try to make conversation, but he rarely gets more than a grudging, muttered response. Eventually he gives up and leaves for work.

Seeing myself in that magazine article struck a chord with me. I do let my virtual life, and even more than that, my writing life, get in the way of my real life. How many times have I only half-listened (or even less than that) to one of my children tell me about his/her day, because he/she chose to tell me while I was answering emails? How many mornings has my husband gone off to work without so much as a goodbye because I was checking out the latest blog posts? Life is going on all around me. Am I missing it because I have my nose stuck in my computer?

The next morning, when my husband came downstairs to put on his shoes, I looked away from my computer and looked at him. I started a conversation. We talked and laughed. I even kissed him goodbye. When the kids came home from school, I ate a snack with them and coerced them into a game of Scrabble. My WIP and the blogosphere and my email inbox aren't going anywhere. My husband and kids are far less stationary.

I don't want to live a virtual life. I want to live my real life, right here and right now.

Until Thursday, happy writing, and may your coffee pot never run dry.

20 comments:

chopchop83 said...

more talking, laughing and kissing in this world sounds good to me.

Susan Fields said...

It does, doesn't it? I can honestly say I've felt happier since I started making a point of paying more attention to the people around me and less attention to the computer screen. I'm pretty sure they like the change, too. :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Hi, Susan! Thanks for visiting and following me at Book Dreaming. I love meeting new blogging buddies. Good luck in the contest! :-)

Susan Fields said...

Hi Shannon - Thanks for visiting and following me as well! And thanks for an awesome contest - I've got my fingers crossed!

Theresa Milstein said...

Thanks for this post. Real life vs. virtual life is a fairly new issue us bloggers and writers have to tackle.

I have to admit that I had a similar problem. In fact, my husband and I had an argument/discussion about it. My solution is to get off the computer when he comes home unless I'm working on a manuscript - work he understands. And if one of us are on the computer, the cue is, "What are you doing?" and if either of us answers that it's work-related, we're allowed to keep going. If not, it's a signal that the other wants a little interaction.

As far as my kids, I've tried to pull myself away more.

Susan Fields said...

The funny thing is, I didn't really think about this problem until I read that magazine article and saw myself in it. I was grateful for the wake-up call. :)

Velva said...

Well said...It is very easy to get lost in the blogosphere. As long as we keep it balanced, it is not a bad thing. Thanks for the reminder.

Susan Fields said...

Hi Velva, I'm pretty new to the blogosphere, so I'm still adjusting to all this stuff. Balance is the perfect word - it's not bad in itself, but moderation is key.

Jackee said...

I'm in the same virtual boat because I virtually let my virtual life exude into raising my three tiny ones. But, like you, I think once you can recognize the problem, you can adjust. Virtually.

Good luck and see you Thursday!

Susan Fields said...

Jackee, I agree - I hate to think I'm missing out on what's going on with the kids because I'm writing/surfing the net/whatever. They'll be virtually grown up before I know it. Thank goodness I'm now virtually adjusted. :)

Rebecca@Diary of a Virgin Novelist said...

Uh oh. I am so guilty of that! And since we work from home together it can be hard to separate when it is work versus together time. There is usually a lot of "in between" time.

Susan Fields said...

Rebecca - working from home together sounds great, but I can see how it would be tough to separate work vs. together time, like you said. I really think the easiest thing for me is just to not have the computer around when I'm supposed to be focusing on other things - it's just too distracting (especially for us writers!)

Elana Johnson said...

Ah, yes, I want to live the real life too. Virtual life is fun, mostly because I never burn the food and everyone is so nice! But yes, real life is more important. :)

Susan Fields said...

Elana, thanks for stopping by and for the great contest! Another nice thing about virtual life: no housework. Ah well.

Sharon Mayhew said...

Wonderful thought provoking post, Susan. I could spend all of my time in virtual world. I will make an effort to be real when my family is around...But when they are gone I'll be in virtual world. :)

Susan Fields said...

Sharon - I thought of you when I wrote this post and how you set time aside to spend with your family everyday. I'm still working on making that a habit, but I do rope the kids into a Scrabble game whenever I get the chance. :)

Old Kitty said...

Hi

I just popped in to say hello! This is a very thought-provoking post.

I guess it's all in balancing what you want to do. I think if a person has gotten to that stage where he or she mumble a greeting to their beloved but is able to write reams of words to a blogger site - or similarly - find he or she is able to express themselves more to a virtual buddy than to their partner - then maybe they ought to take stock of why that is!

I hope you enjoy both lives with equal fulfillment!

Take care

x

Susan Fields said...

Old Kitty, excellent point - that's probably where the more talking, laughing, and kissing in the world come in (see first comment.) Sometimes it gets so easy to put your beloved on the back burner, when really we need to make a special point of putting that person first, and I think that's something that became even more clear to me through this experience.

Sharon Mayhew said...

Susan--I just gave you a blog award. It fits you perfectly! So hop over to my blog and pick it up.

Katherine and I had special family time tonight. We did math and are now watching survivor. :)

Susan Fields said...

Thanks for the award, Sharon! Scott and I watched Lost together last night - even TV time together counts, right?