I have been watching the Netflix series, The Crown, Season 3. In one episode, the Royal Family tried to justify the expense of the monarchy to the taxpayers of Great Britain by filming a documentary showing that they lived normal lives, just like everyone else. In one scene, they were all sitting together watching TV, something that was completely staged for the film crew.
Oceano Dunes, January 2019The Prime Minister paid a visit to Queen Elizabeth in which they discussed the documentary. When she said they had just wanted to show the people of England that they were normal, he replied, "You are not normal." Her response was that yes, they were: they work, they get tired, they get colds, they have uncles who embarrass them...The Prime Minister then said, "They don't want you to be normal. They want you to be ideal."
Washington, DC, May 2019Do you ever feel that everyone else on social media is ideal, and that you are merely normal? It puts unrealistic expectations on us. Because it is, in fact, unreal. Instead of being inspiring, it can make us feel "less than": less than competent, less than productive, less than creative...
Washington, DC, May 2019I will be the first to admit that I spend way too much time on Instagram, sometimes just mindlessly scrolling. At the same time I am bemoaning the fact that I don't have enough time in my day to accomplish the things I really want to do, I'm using up valuable time with something less than valuable.
Bass Lake, CA, July 4, 2019My good friend, Elizabeth, sent me an awesome book, Keep Going, by Austin Kleon. In it, he says, "Creativity is about connection--you must be connected to others in order to be inspired and share your own work--but it is also about disconnection. You must retreat from the world long enough to think, practice your art, and bring forth something worth sharing with others. You must play a little hide-and-seek in order to produce something worth being found."
Hartland Quilt Camp, April 2019So what will this look like in 2020? I don't know yet. I know Instagram will still be part of my life. I've made a lot of friends because of it--both those I have met in real life and those I may never meet. But I hope I can resist the lure of that app on my phone whenever I have some spare minutes, when I'm bored, when there are things to do that just don't sound that great. It would be nice to think that I can take those moments to just be, to let my brain rest a bit, to watch people instead of a screen, to interact in real time.
Magnolia Plantation, GA, December 2019
It's a new year. A new decade. Time for a fresh start. Time for a little disconnecting.