Friday, December 7, 2007

Information Overload? (and...this is my 150th post!)

So many good causes! Maybe too many?

A few days ago I was reflecting on the many sources of written information flowing through my life. I made a list and *not including personal information sources* (i.e. email from friends or conversations with people) or actual people, I have well over 100 things coming into my life over the course of a week, month, or quarter that demand my attention in the form of me reading them. Mostly email or print newsletters, action alerts, that sort of thing.

I am a dues paying member of at least 17 organizations (I might have forgotten some). All but two have a publication that I receive (though another one of them has more than one publication). Then, I subscribe to 10 different magazines/journals. Then, because I'm an alum of that school or because I donate money to that organization, or because I'm a member of that electric cooperative, or because I filled out that card for a free subscription to Energy Times from the health food store (which I really like, by the way), I get an additional 10 or so publications. And...I read them all (even the ones I get not by my choice, but alumni pubs or whatever. Though, not necessarily all through, cover-to-cover all the time). I've referenced before the difficulty I find in NOT READING. This is something that is really hard for me. LOL! If it is written and I see it, I read it. For better or for worse. I also read like 10 blogs and I am on about 30 email lists. Are you starting to see a problem here? When do we draw the line at how much information we bring into our lives? Is it possible to be so full of other people's opinions that it becomes impossible to hear your own still, small voice within?

Yes, I am an information junkie, but I'm also passionate about many causes, want to be an informed citizen, and want to have evidence based opinions. I also like to be "in the know" and I like to be a well informed, reliable, accurate person. However, I sometimes feel like a slave to the printed word! Or like I've gorged myself upon it. I gobble up writing like a starving person and there are always more words right behind them. I also gobble them with gusto--I LOVE to read. It is very important to me. Heck, that is why I even have this blog. It is about me and reading and how the two intersect to form the texture of my life.

So, I decided that this word-fest of my life could be viewed through two lenses:

1. The depressive lens: Each of these information sources chips off a piece of my life energy and diminishes my time. Fragments and splinters my attention, my energy, my focus (and my sentences ;-).


2. The optimistic lens: Each contributes its own piece to the complicated whole of me, my life, and my life energy and helps inform my thinking, expands my worldview, and enhances my ability to be an informative resource in my own right.

I guess it could be both too!

For whatever reason, this reminds me of another note I wrote in my notebook a few weeks ago when I got all of those publications in the mail on the same day. I was driving home and the following thought popped unbidden into my brain: "I am connected in an extraordinary web of human relationship." I like it.

P.S. Would you believe that in this, my 150th post to this blog (!), is the first time I've used "reading" as a label for my post?!

1 comment:

Sheridan said...

I TOO love to read. I can't NOT read. In fact I hate watching CNN, because with the little running script at the bottom, I find it so distracting. My DH says, "Ignore it" But it is not possible for me to ignore the written word!

Congrats on your 150th post!