Bruce Layman

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…there’s a difference between hearing about it and experiencing it.

There’s no excuse for being uninformed when it matters, there’s also no good reason for being inexperienced.

There’s often a piece of glass between us and the world as it’s delivered to us. That glass magnifies the awareness, but it doesn’t have the same impact as experience does. It can’t.

Our awareness has been stretched wider than ever in history, but often at the cost of taking away a lifetime of experiences.

— Seth Godin

Like so many people on the internet, I am trying to figure out ways to limit the power this little brick of glass, metal, and light in my pocket has over my life. As someone who enjoys collecting and sharing knowledge, I sometimes struggle with drawing the line between where I should focus my attention—on the real world or the digital one—at any given time.

I’ve largely left social media, though I still feel the tug of Instagram more than I’d like. I am deleting apps from my phone left and right. In some cases I found ways to do the same actions from my computer when I’m home, or better yet, not do them at all.

While all of this helps in one way or another, it is still easy to become overwhelmed and drown in the infinite river of the internet, thinking that I’m doing yourself a favor by learning—AKA becoming aware—of all these new things. They’re shiny and exciting and they can maybe be used in conversation to teach someone else something, or make me sound more interesting.

The infinite internet is a constant pull, a tidal wave of overwhelming information, and distraction. Seth Godin offers simple advice, “Find your footing and do your work. It’s a choice.” That work he’s talking about, is making sure that your life is filled with experiences and not merely awareness.

It is hard enough turning away from the allure of the ever-growing internet and all the things I can learn from it, but/and now I must attempt to find the experiences I should be devoting my life to having. As with the internet, there are an infinite number of paths, and so many of them seem grand.

I want to have an answer for you, dear reader (and more importantly, for myself). But I do not. At least not right now. I have a list of experiences I want to have, and some experiences that I’ve ruled out, but how to choose the rest of them while avoiding getting sucked down the rabbit holes of merely being aware is something I must figure out. Perhaps learning out in the open, showing my work if you will, can help someone else struggling with this too.