Sometimes I wonder: is it okay if I escape the reality of the present and dive into the rose-colored nostalgia of the past and live there?
I know the answer, of course: ignoring reality and the time in which I live is dangerous. I need to be here physically, mentally, and emotionally. But sometimes - like today - I'm exhausted from trying to live in this time and this moment.
It's too loud, and it's too crowded, and it's too...not me. Despite the fact that I know that many things in the past were most certainly not better than they are today, I long to go there, or at least, take the parts of it I like and integrate it into my current life. I'd love to be able to stay off the Internet for days at a time, but that's not possible because of 1) my job and 2) my 'other' life as a published author.
But gosh darn it, I'm tired of this world. I'm tired of what I see as a huge shift away from the values of my grandparents' generation. I'm tired of seeing crookedness and corruption at the highest levels of society. I'm tired of seeing the mocking ridicule we have for each other as human beings (which is so evident when you read the comments of any online article). I'm tired of an 'us vs. them' mentality in areas of faith and politics and morality.
However, as a historian, I recognize that those things have pretty much always been there. Corruption has always existed in one form or another, and morality has changed radically during certain periods of time (the Victorian era certainly signified a decided shift to the very strait-laced while the 1960s birthed what I see as the absolute unraveling of my most cherished moral values). So in a sense, I'm watching history in action.
But if I could...if I could, I would freeze time and step into that world.
In some aspects, life really was simpler back in the 1940s. The values of the nation (i.e. America) were certainly much more cohesive. The majority believed in God, believed in marriage, believed in a morality based on the Ten Commandments. Society had its problems, of course. Segregation was horrible, women weren't exactly free to go after the career they wanted, and there was that little problem of a world war.
I get that. I get that it's very tempting to look at the past through those famous rose-colored glasses.
The problem is, I'm an old soul. My spirit longs for a simpler time, when people treated each other better, when a country came together for the good of the nation, when we weren't so polarized. And I truly believe that we are much more polarized now morally and politically than we have been in a long time. Why is that? Because of the Internet. Everyone has a voice, but there are those people who don't know how to use their voice properly. Instead, they sling mud and tell lies and incite hatred and hurl false accusations.
BUT...on the flip side of the coin, people can use their voices to make a difference, to help others, to build a community.
I suppose you can't have one without the other.
I'm just so very tired of the bickering. I'm tired of trying to stay abreast of current events and stay active as a citizen of America - which, as I see it, carries a large responsibility to hold my government accountable - and also try to live my life. You can become consumed with all the voices and opinions out there.
But the noise isn't just about politics. The noise is about everything else, too. For me, my two big interests are writing and history. So of course, there are writing websites and history websites and people tweeting about writing and history. And my brain gets full to the brim because I want to READ ALL THE ARTICLES AND TWEETS but it's not possible.
It's information overload. And my old soul can't handle it anymore. I'm starting to unravel inside.
That's why I have this longing to re-frame my reality.
I realize this is a meandering blog post and I don't know that I have any solid agenda in writing it. I just needed to write, period, and this is what spilled out. Maybe it's the depression creeping into my every cell again as it does each summer. Maybe it's dumb hormones levels. Who knows?
All I know is this: I want to get off this roller coaster. I want to simplify my life. How to do it, though, when the Internet has become so much a part of our world? I think of Benedict Cumberbatch and how he doesn't have Twitter or Facebook because it would, as he says, take over his life. Yes, he is a celebrity, and that carries with it a whole other aspect to it, but maybe I should take a cue from him. Maybe I should get off Facebook and Twitter because let's face it: I'm addicted to them, no doubt about it.
I've written about this topic before, but the fact that I keep circling to it means I need to make some changes. Obviously the changes I made before didn't work too well. So it may be time to do something drastic.
Or, maybe I just need a nice, long vacation.