I’ve been down with Lyme disease for the past several days and haven’t been up for much of anything as a result. This is the second time I’ve had it, and the seventh year in a row that I’ve been bitten by the ticks that cause it. This is due in large measure to the pathway that tick-bearing deer have made for themselves across my property. They start out at a preserve east of here, cross the beach, and then somehow manage to scale a two hundred foot sandy cliff from the shore in front of my house. From there they linger in a patches of brush and copse, while helping themselves to plants in the garden. Then they continue on, past a dune to the west and probably somehow make it to the next woodland preserve. The nuisance is still superseded by the wonder of it, and in any case other creatures, like raccoons can also carry the ticks, which are thus hard to eliminate.
If recognized soon enough antibiotics will get rid of the disease, but this is the sort of malady with which you don’t feel up to doing much of anything, at least until drugs kick in. It isn’t so serious as long as it’s being treated, but a kind of ennui sets in and things you usually spend time become onerous, such as being constantly online, so I’ve been unplugged over this period, not just from computers, but most television as well. It is amazing how much time you suddenly have to do things you thought you’d never find time for, even while not being well. Other things that previously seemed urgent are less compelling. You become much more attuned to the ebb and flow of life around you, and the most important thing you want to find out is the weather report.
The biggest deterrent to tuning out is that you might miss something. But with sufficient detachment you realize that in the larger scheme of things, life goes on without you, as it did before, and as it surely will when you are gone. You see that your time is truly limited, and really think about what you are spending it on. You can get a slight sense of this when traveling, but everywhere you go the world is wired, and as long as you remain connected you are never completely detached. You don’t get a true sense of life apart from electronics, or of life that is not socially networked to everyone all of the time.
Yet no one will go to their grave wishing they had spent more time on the Internet. I am in no way suggesting that everyone should drop out, but rather consider how much time you are spending with electronic media, especially while other things remain unattended, and try to place some limits on it accordingly. I try to limit social media to fifteen minutes a day now, because otherwise you can get drawn in for hours, and miss the larger truth that life is what is happening while you’re on the Internet.