Is the Web Stealing Our Old Souls?
Read about how the web is changing your aging process.
BY: Carol Orsborne
It’s first thing in the morning and I’m, once again, at the computer instead of meditating on the bank of the river that runs past our house.
We bought the house because it was my husband’s and my dream of how we wanted to use the freedom of aging—surrounded by beauty, the perfect place to not only process the tasks of moving from the heat of midlife into an older, hopefully mellower age; but also to simply be in the present moment, feeling one with the universe.
Instead, by 8 a.m., I have already been engaged in checking my emails, updating my status on multiple social networks and seeing if my latest book has risen up or down on the Kindle list of bestsellers in the category of aging. As the minutes roll, I’ll have followed at least one thread into the heart of the news, probably something upsetting, and perhaps more than one juicy bit of gossip I should be better than about people I neither know nor care about.
Depending on what I discover, by 10 a.m., I may have already felt sadness, anger, smugness, jealousy or frustration along with, of course, hopefully at least a few fun and happy exchanges. While I always intend to get in and out fast, there’s always one more thing to read, one more person to catch up with, one more opportunity. Out of politeness or curiosity, I feel obliged to engage in communications with people and organizations with whom “in real life” it would not occur to me to give the time of day. By 11, it has become apparent that not only have I not meditated first thing in the morning, but the dog hasn’t gotten her morning walk, breakfast hasn’t been eaten and I somehow find myself still in my pajamas by lunchtime.
I will meditate later today, or at the very least journal or contemplate. But by the time I get there, I will be relating to my psycho-spiritual life the way I have every year since the web took over both my personal and work consciousness, somewhere in the early 2000’s. Unhappily, I will not be starting the day at least at neutral and moving somewhere higher up the scale towards transcendent—but rather, I will be doomed to fight, pray and/or accept all the way up from a deficit back to in the general ballpark.
It’s bad enough that I do this to myself, but I also stand amongst the many who have promoted the web as a good thing for us as we age. Only one generation ago, people at midlife and beyond experienced aging as a time of increasing isolation and withdrawal from others outside the home and family. With children out of the home, and no longer connected through work and community involvements, the norm was to watch one’s social networks shrink over time.