Behold, the holidays are upon us.
I know this because the Halloween stores are already going up. I‚Äôm not scared, but I‚Äôm a bit overwhelmed with the pace of everything these days. It seems to me that we are just moving faster and faster and taking less time to sit back, and not just enjoy, but to think about where we want to go.
Part of it has to do with the crisis mentality that has overtaken our country, and our world, for the past few years. And part of it has to do with the fast pace of our life in the new millennium. Technology has provided us with amazing tools and options for being in contact, but like all tools they need to be used for good, not ill.
I‚Äôm now part of the Twitter nation with my handle of @davidpisarra, so you can now keep up with my writings, thoughts and momentary lapses of good judgment when I tweet about how that inconsiderate dolt has 19 items in the 15 items or less lane. Being part of the Twitter world, having an iPhone, a Facebook account, and having it all linked together, means that I have endless opportunities to spout off and share with friends, family and detractors.
Concurrent with being hooked in, online and always updating, is the not-so-subtle pressure to have something to say. All the time. To be interesting. To be “on.”
I don‚Äôt mean just me. I mean we as a society and a world have created a zeitgeist of constant communication, yet I find that I often want, actually need, to unhook myself from it.
This past August I released myself from the Facebook fandom. I took a sabbatical from the persistent perusing of what friends far and wide were doing. Not knowing what the children of people who I‚Äôve never met in person were up to for the entire month was refreshing and relaxing. Taking a break from the constant stream of information and data allowed me to step back and think about what did I really want to say and how did I want to say it? By pausing, I‚Äôve allowed myself a chance to reconsider how valuable is the content that I, and most others, are sharing really is.
Coincidentally I just saw the movie “Samsara.” It‚Äôs a modern-day guided meditation on life, death and re-birth. As a movie with no dialogue, just a wonderful soundtrack and stunning visuals, it traces a path across the globe and comments on the meaning of life. I cannot recommend this movie enough. It‚Äôs a modern day “Koyaanisqatsi” that is actually watchable and, more importantly, enjoyable.
This movie was shot in 70 mm and then converted to a 4k digital output, which for non-technical people like me equates to drop dead gorgeous photography and images. The use by the director and director of photography of skills like time lapse and slow-camera crane moves creates the non-verbal commentary of the movie.
I was reminded of the overpowering beauty that exists in the world, and the soul crushing ugliness and brutality that also exists. The subject matter chosen provides glimpses into worlds unseen by most of us.
For me, the meaning of the movie was about finding the balance between the glory and the gutter.
Which is how I feel about the pace of my life, and the speed of a Facebook and Twitter world. There is much to be gained from all that they offer. Being able to check in on friends across the world and see what they are up to is an astounding option. But it needs to be an option, not a necessity.
As I embark on the Twitter life, and hook myself back in to the Facebook world, I want to use these tools to provide valuable content, to say something of interest and value. The break I took allowed me to realize that it‚Äôs quality, not quantity that matters.
While we are engaged in the headlong rush to the holidays, let‚Äôs remember that they are here to provide us with breaks from the everyday, but our time is better spent making the everyday quality-filled. There are a lot more everydays than holidays, and if we put quality into them, the holidays will actually improve.
Just like every tweet, post and picture should be meaningful, every day should have some meaning and quality.
David Pisarra is a Santa Monica-based divorce and child custody lawyer specializing in father‚Äôs and men‚Äôs rights with the¬† firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 664-9969. Follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra