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I keep having this discussion with people close to me and realize that we all feel the same way to some extent. We are all so consumed by the constant influx of information into our lives – Facebook, email, Twitter, blogs, Pinterest, forums, message boards, messengers, games, TV, newspaper, magazine – and I have all of those things available at my computer and on my phone. So not only does it suck me in at home, it sucks me in everywhere I go. It’s become an addiction, a nonstop urge to feel “in the know” with everything. It’s no wonder that so many of the people on my friends list on Facebook have trouble sleeping, they have the same addiction! We just can’t shut it off. We turn off computers and stare at our phones. We leave our phones on all night – checking them if we happen to be awake – nearly blinding ourselves in the darkness. I don’t know why we feel like we need to know the play by play of everyone’s lives, some people that we really don’t know all that well. And why do we feel the need to SHARE so much of our lives with everyone in so many outlets? It’s really overwhelming at times. I really do enjoy keeping up with friends and being up to date on some things and learning from others. But it does come at an expense. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to take it all in. And I can’t speak for everyone else, but it does effect all aspects of my life and I feel pretty unhealthy about it.

In the past few years of having my photography business, I have learned that social media and online resources were instrumental in getting business going and keeping it going – especially because it’s so inexpensive. I have met so many amazing people in the photography business, some in person and some just online. So many have played a big role in some part of my business, even if them just sharing their work was inspiring to me. But I feel that inspiration has gone the wrong way. I have so many images in my face at any time of day that I started to lose track of what I liked about my own photography. I started comparing my photography too much. I have been frustrated and a perfectionist about the images I take and that I share with others. Forgetting that sometimes I just need to capture the moment, not worry about light or editing or how others might view my image. It just needs to be taken. And despite all of that, I have taken THOUSANDS of images that sit in folders in my computer, not edited, printed, not shared, just sitting. What good was that?! I got too wrapped up in so many other things that the pictures became less important. But they should be most important, they are my kids and my life and all of our memories. I need to backtrack a whole lot and add in a lot of pictures, and then I need to get some photo albums printed.

So, I want to spend more time with my family. I want to get out more and do more things together. I want to be less stuck in a chair or on the couch, and I definitely want to lose the urge to ‘check my phone’ nonstop. I get on the kids about it, but I don’t get on myself about it.

Since Levi was born, I have spent considerably less time at the computer and on my phone – I just don’t have the free time or free hands. Though I still feel like I’m driven to spend more time than I really need to. I go back and forth with myself. It’s how I relax and it’s my hobby – I shouldn’t have to give it all up. And I won’t, but it’s become less of a  hobby and more of an addiction. Really. In our house we have 7 computers, 3 smart phones, 1 kindle, and 3 iPods. WOW!! Essentially, that’s for just 5 of us, since the little ones don’t use these things. Since not being able to just sit, I’ve felt more overwhelmed by how ‘behind’ I am when I have to scroll so far through Facebook and Pinterest and my blog reader has more than a handful of unread posts and my email is full of junk and more junk. I just need it to not be there, out of sight, out of mind.

Last year, I was overwhelmed with the amount of instant messaging I was doing. For awhile, I just shut it off so that I could take a break. And after a few weeks, I didn’t even miss it. I missed the conversations and daily talking to friends, but I realized that I didn’t NEED that frequent upkeep and I really didn’t miss doing it. More importantly, I didn’t have that guilt of feeling like I wasn’t keeping up, or that I was missing something going on in someone elses lives. I know that if there was something important to share from me or with me, it would get shared somewhere else. It’s now been more than a year since I even turned my instant messenger on.

I need to keep up with that kind of feeling. I tend to be a guilty feeling person, like I’m hurting others even though, chances are, they’ll never notice that I “unfriended” them. I know that in a few days time, I won’t feel that way. It’s just taking that step to actually do it in the first place.

So here is what I’m going to do – I’m deleting people from my Facebook – those that I skim over or don’t read or don’t really know – those that I once just followed because we had met in passing – those business pages and like pages that clutter up my feed so much. I know where to find them all if I need them. I am pretty sure that I would rarely, if ever, not need them. I am taking blogs out of my blog reader – most I just delete instead of read anyway. I am unsubscribing from so many junk email systems. I didn’t renew my memberships to forums. I can’t quit Pinterest, sorry. I have to have one true guilty pleasure, right?! I need to do all that I can to lessen the time I spend because there just isn’t much there, but I also just need to be more disciplined about not going there in the first place.

But even still, I feel such a strong desire to share my story and my images. I feel like I need to better my blog and do it in a way that is really ME. I want to focus on taking more images and letting them tell the stories, I owe that to my kids. I have this talent that just doesn’t get used for their benefit as much as I want it to. I will always be connected to the interwebs, there is no excusing that, but I need to change how I do it. I need to schedule time instead of steal time. I have said that plenty in the past couple of years, but I mean it this time. I just can’t come sit here because it’s a place to sit. I find it so hard to get up. I need to come up with a solid plan.

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