Irrational Distraction

I need some courage. Not to face down a bear or even an angry toddler. No, I need the courage to say no to social media. I realize the oddness of this given I am writing this in a blog, blogs being part of social media and all.

Here's the thing. I spend way too much of this precious life surfing through Facebook for what my friends (and my "friends") are up to. I have a hard time passing up quizzes that will tell me which president I am or which city I should live in. As if knowing my preference of condiment gets to the answer to anything like that. Or that it even matters. I read scads of stuff I could not care less about. I post lots of stuff for other people not to care about. Why?

Tick. Tick. Tick.

That's my life advancing. From birth. To death. Do I really to use so many of those moments checking the newsfeed? Or should I say the "news" feed? What is news these days in any case? That is probably a topic for another post.

Dan Ariely, the brilliant professor of psychology and behavioral economics and author of many thought provoking books such as Predictably Irrational, is teaching a course on Coursera that begins next week. I've signed up for three other courses since I completed a philosophy course via Coursera over a year ago. One of those courses was just not as interesting as I thought it would be. The other two appeared to be quite interesting. I dropped the classes. I just didn't have the time. I bore myself with that refrain.

I'm honestly looking forward to this next course. A Beginner's Guide to Irrational Behavior promises to be full of insight and learning as well as a little demanding of my time. It is just the kind of information I like to sink my teeth into.

I would have said the coursework will be hard to fit into my already busy schedule, but I'm learning to face the truth. Yes, my schedule is busy because I am a business owner, and because I have two non-driving teens participating in extracurriculars and going to schools with no busses. But I also fill every tiny hole in the calendar and on the clock with incessant checking of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest and email. Talk about irrational!

I am most certainly feeling a call to return to humanity in real life and to nourishing my intellect. I have people I'd like to connect with. I want to get out in nature and feel alive. I have a list of books ten times longer than the words on this page asking me to read them. I must do these things.

This post is one of many meditations – most of them offline – I will be doing on detaching, at least to an extent, from the digital social umbilicus. Wish me luck.