Day 79. March 19, 2012
“We are consumed by that which we are nourished by” – Shakespeare Sonnet 73.
What we nourish our minds with shall be what we are addicted to & entertained by. What are you feeding your mind? Is it productive, inspiring, tasking? Are you pushing yourself to be better than you were yesterday or are you simply distracting yourself to the point of burning out, feeling bored and ultimately unenthusiastic about all that surrounds you?
Tonight I watched Frontline: Digital Nation, a documentary about the technology driven world we live in and the overwhelming changes it has made in how we communicate, socialize, and even learn. There were many different viewpoints expressed, both positive and negative, all of them intriguing. What stuck with me above everything was the change in how we entertain ourselves. What used to be tasks such as painting, reading, or writing are now watching shows online, IMing, and texting. While some may argue we are connected to each other more than we have ever been in the past, we are also more isolated than ever before. We sit alone, consumed by our laptops, phones, video games, etc. all while interacting with people around the world. But what has happened to expanding our intellect, to spending hours lost in a novel – a novel that actually has substance, not a sappy teenage love story. Yes, I’m looking – no, glaring – at you Stephenie Meyer.
Sure, the amount of college attendance is much greater than it used to be. But fellow students, you know the reality of what college actually is like. You know that most students spend their time in lecture napping or mindlessly reading over the latest facebook status. You know that hardly anyone actually studies more than a day in advance for exams, but rather spends their time getting drunk. Then they come out of the exam cursing and hoping the professor puts a high curve on the test so that the class average is raised and they pass with a C-. What has happened to our attention span? To actually putting 100% into our studies, to not being distracted by a new text every five minutes?
While watching this documentary I began to reflect on my own life. On how I spend my time, what I’m nourishing my mind with. While I may not be pouring hours of my life into gaming, or watching completely useless reality shows, I’m not doing much to better myself. This weekend I was looking over one of my old sketchbooks and feeling ashamed that I don’t draw nearly as much as I used to. I don’t spend my days pouring myself into my artwork like I envisioned myself to be. Rather I spend my time on websites like Stumbleupon and Pinterest. So I made a decision. My time on Pinterest & Stumbleupon will become non-existent until the end of this term so that I am wasting hours of my day lost online when I could be working with my hands.
I am far too dependent on my laptop than I should be. The time that I spend browsing online should be spent pushing myself, working to perfect drawing techniques, or getting lost within the words of an author. I have found that I have to write it down on my weekly check-lists, as if it’s a chore to do something that used to come so naturally. And above all, I should be spending more time strengthening my faith. If I spent the amount of time reading the scriptures as I do looking at vintage dresses online, I would probably have read from cover to cover two, even three times by now. And that sickens me. My foundation is crumbling & I need to mix up some mortar and get to work on mending it before it comes crashing down.
This documentary has been an awakening for me, one that I experience more often than I would like to admit. But if someone else’s words can inspire me to make a change in my life for the better, I hope that my words may do the same for you. And if you have Netflix, that’s where I watched this Frontline, if you’re interested. I do realize not everyone is as into documentaries as I am…but I strongly encourage it.