A Woman Wonders If She’s Spending Enough Time Plugged in to the Internet
Excerpted from The Atlantic.
You’re going to hate me for saying this but sometimes I feel like my life is just perfect. I’ve been happily married to my husband John for two years. We have no shortage of friends, I love my family, and we both have satisfying and engaging careers. And yes, I even get along really well with my in-laws.
But lately I find myself asking the same question over and over: do I need to plug in more?
Before meeting John, I always considered myself an independent woman. I lived in Chicago in my own apartment, had lots of friends, and a great career. Not that we didn’t spend a lot of time together while we were married—we hosted dinner parties, took weekend trips to Michigan, and spent quiet nights at home watching movies and discussing them late into the night.
But the fact is that once you’re married, it’s a lot harder to find time alone to plug into an iPad or iPhone and get distracted with the latest HuffPo news, play Angry Birds, or incessantly check work email. I even deactivated my Facebook account in October. And I know that it’s going to be even harder once we have kids.
Now, it’s not all bad—there have been a lot of positives since finding the life I truly want. When I was single, I carried with me a persistent low-level anxiety with me everywhere I went. No matter how much I tweeted, instagrammed, or read blogs, I couldn’t escape the incessant nagging of my subconscious—will I ever find a decent husband to raise a family with? Am I making a mistake by pursuing a professional career? Are my friends eating more photogenic meals than I am?
And while I’m completely happy with my new life (my husband was actually OK with me continuing to work after the wedding), I just can’t help but wonder if I should be spending more time on the internet.
Is that OK? Is it OK that I don’t feel like I need to be distracted from existential ennui every waking moment of my life? Is it OK that most of my time at home is now spent in emotionally intimate conversations with my husband? Should I feel guilty that when we watch TV I no longer tweet, opting instead to share my witty remarks with my husband?
Here’s what brought all of this to the foreground for me. Last summer we joined another newlywed couple on a vacation to Tuscany. We had a wonderful time touring wineries, savoring the delicious Italian meals, and marveling at the beautiful Italian countryside.
But I noticed something that differentiated us from the other couple. While my husband John and I were more than happy to just enjoy ourselves and savor each moment in a state of presence, our friends were tweeting and instagramming everything! Every meal, every winery, every tiny little moment.
At the time I thought it was funny or just odd—that used to be me!
But then I started to wonder, was I the one that was doing it wrong? Was I sharing enough with the world? Would people start to see me as just another happily married woman with a great career, instead of my carefully cultivated online persona that I had spent so many years sculpting and maintaining? Would the bond of shared life and intimacy with my husband, a fulfilling life, kids that we love—would that ever be able to replace what I had given up?
And even though I’m happy now, I’ve decided to do a little experiment this year—I’ve resolved to plug in more for an entire year. I turned my Facebook account back on. I’m back to live-tweeting major events like The Oscars. I’m going to instagram my dinners with John. Because as wonderful as it is to be happily married to my soul mate with a bright future ahead of us, I can’t help but think that there’s still something missing.