"We're all just walking each other home." - - Ram Dass

Thursday, July 3, 2014

140 Characters

I just finished reading ‘The Circle’ a book that hearkens ‘A Brave New World’ meets ‘The Social Network’ – a cautionary tale about where social media and society could be headed.  It has got me thinking because I have this love/hate relationship with the internet, as most of us do.  My use of these tools are spotty at best – never have I been one to consistently maximize content, SEO, or try to hit target demographics in a way that makes me a Google Plus guru.

As I tuck myself into the side of the mountains in Tennessee for our annual summer vacation, I feel all of my cells relax, and I’m able to say – maybe that’s ok.

I want to live my life in more than 140 characters.

Turn down a road that Siri can’t find.

‘Recalculate’ not to a tiny pin dropped on a map, but to this big beautiful world that is teaching me by standing still inside it.

I want to ‘Check-in’ with my children over flashlights, our backs pressed against the solid earth. Our limbs clammy in our sleeping bags while their dreams and plans for the future spread out above us among the stars.

I look to capture their childhood and our life outside a 640px by 640px square frame.
To let this life wash over us in panoramic, its only ‘filter’ the sun and the shade.

Looking nothing like my profile picture as we explore the belly of this ol’ world, 350 feet down.
Feeling at once how small we are in stature to the cave that surrounds us, and how tied we all are to those who have come before.

I will eat a dinner straight out of tin-foil.
The smoke from the open fire where it was cooked still rising.
There will be no ‘Yelp’ review,
and certainly no food porn hashtag.

I will have no need to check a tiny status bar to find out ‘What’s on your mind?’
I will look over at my husband and see the slow smile creeping over the man I love’s face
as I watch him watch our children splash and dive.
Their voices carrying over the water top to where we sit, peacefully quiet
over the life we've hard fought to make over these past ten years.

To pay attention only to the ‘Tweets’ that come from the trees high above us, my son straining to identify each one.
He who will be turning eight this month, with a bird field guide stared at the top of his birthday wish list.

The only ‘impact’ worth achieving is the astonished delight across their messy faces as I say ‘yes’ to that S’more even after ice cream.

My ‘Klout’ measured only by the weight of their sleeping limbs that we carry to their beds, dirty feet flung over the side of our beds, to weary and full from the day to care.

Accumulating moments to hold like soft stones, weighing my life down with meaning,
worn smooth by being turned over so often in our minds and in family lore.

Not stats.

Not likes.

Not shares or follows.

Just life – fleeting, rare.

For my face to be remembered lit up by the fireflies we chased across the yard,
not by a tiny screen, scrolling through 400 feeds while diminishing my own.

I will leave my ‘Fitbit’ on the counter.  Tracking only the delicious stops along the way.
Just for this week no steps, no schemes to squeeze in a thousand more.

I will look for ways instead to shut-down.

My presence absent from the screen, and full again – in life.


  1. MY SUMMER PLANS TOO! And words are finally flowing again. I think that social media binds my voice. Happy to hear you friend...miss you when you write less!!!

    1. i love how we show up at the same time. isn't that funny? when we give away to live, we are able to create more fully. a lesson in that for sure. xo

  2. Your words worked their magic on me again. I cannot get enough of your writing, Tara. Bravo!

    1. thanks so much, Shannon! such a compliment from you - a lady who wields words like magic.

  3. Lovely sentiment and pictures! I especially liked your word play on overhead tweets. Such a great piece, I hope you don't mind if I share your link with my followers x

    1. um...of course I don't mind :) thanks so much for being here in the space - and for giving me grace in responding. just getting back from my trip and back to real life...

  4. Tara, the word play on tweets, photos, shares, steps, and hashtags was both funny and thought-provoking. I spent my holiday weekend doing just that, unplugging and drinking in those beautiful girls.

    1. i hope you had a holiday weekend as delicious as those girls of yours are. so thankful for you, Jen!

  5. I love this! What a great perspective on social media.

    1. thanks, Christine! It's hard to find the balance we need sometimes isn't it? After all it also brings me across lovely people like yourself :)

  6. Yes. This. Well done! I'm approaching a similar technology-less retreat and can't wait for it. Why is it so much harder for us to drop the technology in our day to day lives?

    1. it is! I think because its there for us to use, and can be such a great thing in regards to capturing and sharing our lives... sometimes i just need to breathe my life in and realize that its only awesome if i remember to actually live it :). hope your retreat is as peaceful and needed as mine was.

  7. Sometimes, life is meant to be just lived instead of "posted" about.

    1. i agree! writing and now the internet is how i process and how i make meaning of the daily life i lead, but somedays i need to remember to just be in it... let it move through me more freely and release my need to grab hold to every little thing.