Lately I feel a need for trajectory, motion and instant results. I write and read best when I am in a moving vehicle. Thoughts spring to life when I walk. I thrive photographically when I travel. This speed and instant-aneity (yea I'm making up words) that I crave got me thinking about the general pace of the rest of the world. If anything, at this 100th anniversary of the Futurist Manifesto (technically written published Feb. 20 1909), our world is only pressing further down on the accelerator as time passes. Businesspeople and commonfolk alike are attached to their cellphones and Blackberries and are not only changing their status, posting photos and writing notes on Facebook but they are also more instantaneously updating their 140-character status on Twitter. In this age of the supercaffeinated (whether coffee, espresso, RedBull or another energy drink) and the hyperconnected, are we really connected to anything?
While I appreciate Facebook and, to a much lesser extent, Twitter, (the benefits of which I'll expound upon later) I find myself wanting instantaneous results outside the electronic sphere. At times, I want a career that brings immediate results, that works at a high pace. But I stop, if only for a moment, and wonder if those types of quickly manufactured, instinctually created products are truly worthwhile.
If I really stop and think, I realize that this blurted-out desire doesn't have much foundation. I worked on my thesis for an entire year, there were smaller 'instantaneous' steps along the way, but the project on the whole required time and thought and space and silence to mature. I've worked on two Let's Go Travel Guides over about 6 months. Updating took time, and tasks were always available on a week-to-week basis. One needed to be able to work out the tasks day-to-day but also step back and see where the whole project was going. I do yoga and meditation daily. If I thought about enlightenment every day and how I wasn't getting there, it would be pointless. There is a certain trust in the process, in the journey. One step at a time. The same is also true for creating great works of art or writing or for building solid relationships.
Perhaps, in my youth (I am SO a 35-year-old in a 23-year-old's body), there is a certain restlessness and frenetic energy bouncing off the walls of my brain. But maybe the online community isn't helping that fact. The Internet, Facebook and other social networking tools have been a really great instruments in staying connected and fortifying real relationships. You've got to be careful however, if you get stuck online with a network of 'friends', meeting people in various Internet places, without having a foot outside in reality, your online connections won't count for anything.
Online communities are really great if they fortify connections in reality. Emails can be great for keeping in touch with friends. Facebook can offer a world of photos and personal information. And the Internet can be a limitless resource for information about local events. Ultimately, though, it leads back to real life. One still needs to master social graces and the art of conversation. Sharing information is all well in good, if you can remember what you're posting and process the information yourself to share it again in real life. In this Wikipedia generation, the CBC reported yesterday, students are less prepared than ever to enter university. Instead of speeding up and losing sight, we should be aware of how we use the Internet and fortify our actual human relationships.
Even as I finish writing this post I find my mind is calmer. The urgent need to spill the thoughts racing around my mind has ebbed. I've trusted this process of getting words out, one needs to take the time to choose carefully, to express, to signify. I, thus, find myself ready to take things one step at a time and live life from one moment to the next.