All in Moderation

I am judicious in my use of technology, especially this particular medium. I am concerned that I will become merely virtual, and start to lose my commmunication skills in reality. (And there is that stereotype to avoid, of the poorly socialized person living in a parent’s basement, “living” a fantasy life over the ‘net.) Honestly, we don’t socialize much outside the house. I would like to see that change, as we think about and prepare to move into another commmunity in a few weeks’ time.

Yes, with the pension (no matter how little it may be, and it is nowhere near replacing a salary) and my persistent lack of parish work, we are looking to move on into our own home. It will need to be rural, because we will need to grow some of our food; it will need to be cheap (no more than half the pension amount); it will need very low utility expense. Importantly, it needs to be in a community where we would have real neighbours, people we could count on for help, and who would accept what help we can offer when they need it. We are looking for low-level homesteading, as we are not prepared to buy or drive a tractor.

This is my dream house: small, no more than five or six rooms, with a couple of acres at least and a barn. Wood heat and cooking, and thus inexpensive wood fuel. A place for a good sized garden, a cellar or pantry. Some pasture and maybe a few apple trees. Room for a couple of goats, a few sheep, and a dozen chickens. (And a landlord who will not show up and complain about the state of the ‘lawn”, the presence of farm animals, or how well we removed snow – someone who will respect our ability to manage a house and small farm – which is pretty good – and isn’t offended by real rural people with no social pretensions.)

Where? More or less in the temperate region, although I am partial to boreal forest. North, but not tundra north. Near a good church community, which could be Anglican.

When? The end of December, I anticipate.

So we are beginning to look – we would gladly live in New Brunswick again, near a new granddaughter. Nicholas’s health has stabilized, and we do not anticipate any new crisis.

Among other moderations, I am planning on using the internet only three days a week: Second, Fourth, and Sixth Day (Monday, Wednesday and Friday.) Which is what I set out to say, after all. Moderation is a strange virtue in our immoderate world.

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18 thoughts on “All in Moderation

  1. I applaud your decision, though I enjoy your posts. I read this book a few months ago ( can’t remember the name, grrrr). It was pretty new, as the library had it on the new books shelf. It was how the internet has affected the brains of those who use it. Maybe I talked of it here already ( my brain is not reliable lately!!), but it was disturbing. It talked about how people are skimmers, not readers now, don’t have the patience to read through an entire post often without clicking on something highlighted within it ( abandoning the document.), how this lead to a decline in interest and ability to read books and how professors of lit are even finding the old classics impossible to expect students to read THEY have lost ability to read it themselves. That just scratches the surface of what the book covered
    Just look at how screens of various sorts afflict children. My husband grew up in this tiny town and remembers the streets filled with kids playing ball games of all kinds, riding bikes, and just being out playing at every available moment. Now? Few kids are outside at all in the best weather. Some, but nothing like it was. If they are they are walking in a trance as they text someone. Often kids are playing handheld video games. Then, at home they are online. The book stated that between all these screens many people were averaging a ridiculous amount of hours a week. I am thinking it left only about 2 or hours a day to use for something else. Maybe less, can’t remember, but it was horrible. What is more horrible is that the majority of people are not worried about it, really.
    I do hope you find the community your looking for. It will be fun looking, don’t you think?? I think it sounds like a dream.
    Joanie

    • I was posting only about three times a week, anyway. I can always write an extra post if so moved, and publish another day with timed publishing. I agree about the computer. I see too many people spending all their spare time with electronics. Kids, except those that skateboard, are texting and walking, playing games to and from school, and even phoning has lost its cachet! And no one seems really concerned that they aren’t even intercting with their immediate environment. What will they remember about their childhood?

      • I am happy to say that in our little town you will still see a lot of kids out playing and enjoying themselves. Very few have cell phones and the like as our community has about 60% of the people living below poverty levels.

  2. I will pray that you find the right place to rent. How exciting, it will be nice to have your own place again.
    Moderation – I am spending, make that wasting, way too much time on the internet – I like your plan to limit exposure – I will work on a plan for myself.

  3. My husband emails me more than he talks to me. And when he does talk to me, he follows up with an email. It infurriates me at times. He and I share office space. One room, two desks, three computers, a fax machine, three printers, two book cases, and three filing cabinets. He is literally five feet from me and yet he will email rather than speak. I think that if we are not careful, we as a society will lose the arts that made us a humanity. Our ability to care for someone else, our ability to have instinct when it comes to interpersonal relationships, and the ability to speak in full sentence. The other day I asked my son to do something he said “K.” I asked what he said, he replied, “L-O-L, Mom KK” I swear these children do not speak English anymore. I informed my son that he needed to speak full words and sentences or not to communicate. We will see where that gets me.

    • We went through this with the youngest. And we took the same approach. Face to face, use real English. She woudl text things like “hi dad” and “?” which ate up the money we had spent to have a cell phone conenction. As for DH, the novelty will wear off if you ignore his brief across the room messages for an hour or so. “Oh, sorry, honey, I was busy and didn’t HEAR you.”

  4. As mankind has developed things to ‘improve’ the quality of his life, he has also created things that need to be used in moderation or his life is not any better off than it was to begin with. The very improvement has been their downfall. So the challenge is, how do we then live? All those years ago when the scripture was written about moderation, God must have been thinking about me. If I do not control the ‘virtual’ elements of my life, they will quickly control me. I find I MUST ALWAYS have my guard up. Thank you for reminding me of that.

    • It is so easy to lose track of time on the internet, or playing computer games, and then so many things don’t happen because of that!

  5. I will pray for you to find a wonderful place soon. I am blessed to have the internet as I have said before but i try to be careful of how much time I spend here and I have no qualms over not getting on if there is something else I would rather do.

  6. Magdalena,

    I shall pray fervantly that a small property matching your requirements comes up. i am in no doubt that our heavenly Father is enacting His plan in your life, one step at a time, even though these steps, to us, can seem painfully slow…

    For me, I admit I use electronic media very, very frequently. As a student with a significant vision impairment, all texts are transcribed into MSWord format as linked files upon an accesibility webpage. Aditionaly, as the print world is out of reach, remembering that only 5% of print books are available in alternate format, the net is my recipe book, my theological study tool, my bible, my means of communicating with non Braille reading persons (internationally) and a means of networking with persons in my own country who I would otherwise never learn of.; This has led to true life friendship to the point of the privelege of being the Godmother to the daughter of a very dear lady who I met on-line – she and I have enjoyed one another’s friendship this past three years, and though we are separated geographically, the phone is a good tool, and we have met in person upon a number of occasions.

    On saying this, it is, however, most enjoyable to sit down with a real, hard-copy Braille book and read for myself. God willing, a refreshible Braille Display (see http://www.humanware.com http://www.freedomscientific.com and https://secure2.convio.net/psb/site/Ecommerce?FOLDER=1120&store_id=1101&JServSessionIdr004=lsug0m1ay6.app245a I am, however, somewhat conflicted in this matter, as it means another piece of electronic equipment requiring power, made of plastic, that will need replacing within the medium term, whereas a wel-produced Braille book can last for a half century easily if properly looked after. (integrity of the raised material becomes an issue within a few decades if the book is read often and Braille not properly treated. hand-copied Braille volumes properly bound, the Braille pages shellacked last for a very long time indeed, though the same process that preserves the dots also brittles the paper).

    Most Braille volumes are published with cheap plastic Bindings and covers these days, that degrade within 10 years.

    Hmm… how can I reconcile my desire for the plainer way with my need for technology, especially as equal access to information is a social justice issue even in this day and age poorly met. ( still 60% of the web is inaccessible to individuals using non – visual assistive technology).

    I would dearly love to join you on the ackerage, magdalena!! if you need a cook and can put up with my mad as a meat-axe Irish Catholic hubby and a soppy golden labrador who is far more spoilled than a guide dog should be…

    Blessings,

    Sarah,
    Australia.

    • You mean someone would cook for me? Well, that would be new! And how is it that a meat-axe is mad?

      The computer technology has taken the place of a live reader in your case, which gives you more access to texts than you would have if someone had to sit by your side all day, reading stuff. And the computer never gets the urge to embellish or critique…

  7. May you find a place that is just right for you and Nicholas, so that you can live simple and quietly and well. I love goats and chickens, and have enjoyed keeping both at and earlier stage in my life. They are a delight!
    Your application of moderation in time online sounds like a wise discipline. I know some people can find it rules their lives rather.
    My experience with the internet & socialising has been very different from what you and Joanie have described. I find offline socialising very very difficult, but friendships made online have led to very happy offline connections and meetings; and people I had lost touch with offline have reconnected online, and so friendships have been revived or maintained via the internet.
    Computers and internet have also allowed me the means to earn a living without working away from home, so that has strengthened and affirmed my family life, which I really welcome. And it means that when someone calls at our home they can expect to find somebody in. Without computers and the internet, that would be lost.
    I expect you have read Scott Savage’s book, ‘A Plain Life’? I found that really inspiring, and it sounds as though you are in a similar place in your journey – also the book he edited called ‘A Plain Reader’.
    Meanwhile, I really look forward to your posts, hearing your news and enjoying your style of writing and your take on life.

    :0)

    • I am familiar with Scott Savage’s writing and have an intention to write to him soon, but he went through some tough personal issues lately and as I don’t know him personally, I didn’t want to sound as if I was prying or judging. Scott and the (mostly) Canadian author Ferenz Mate influenced us years ago. I was quite infuenced by Tasha Tudor, the American illustrator who deliberately led life as if she was in the eighteen-twenties. She died recently, more than ninety years old, after a few years of declining health.

      I too have made some wonderful friends on the internet, but I try to view it as something like getting real snail mail – I wouldn’t spend hours a day answering letters or initiating new correspondence. It was one of the complaints of the old monastic elders – that the novices in other monasteries and convents would write incessantly rather than spend their time in prayer, and expect the elders to answer immediately!

  8. Magdalena,

    I had to smile re your observations concerning a ‘real life’ reader…

    In the good old bad old days, students with vision impairments had to rely on their fellow students to read everything, to them, (little was available within audio or Braille library collections that could be used), assist them with library research etc, all paid of course. Often, they wouldn’t turn up, would turn up after spending too long at the on-campus student bar, would want to slope off for coffee breaks etc. Those pioneers who earned their degrees and post graduate qualifications back then look at us now as soft and pampered!! :-0 :-) Additionally, reading aloud (especialy material as weighty as theological material, is incredibly taxing, both mentally and physically. Even worse still for subjects such as accounting, law, the sciences etc. Those who I know who went through 25, 30, 40, 50 years ago even, in their more honest moments, admit that the process permanently effected them in a not quite so positive manner, leaving an indelible mark; I lasted six months, firs time around 20 years ago, now, and still reel at the recalling of it.

    The technalogical revolution has afforded me opportunities and an ease of studying that is truly remarkable, making the learning process actually enjoyable. Oh; if you receive this before 2pm Tuesday (tomorrow) afternoon, Australian time, please pray for me; I have an exam on ‘Jesus Christ Today’ where I’ve got to be able to deliver the goods on everything from the four Gospels, three infancy narratives, symbolism, intended audience, focus of Gospel communities who authored them, passion narratives, who said what about whom, who did what to whom… yes, Jesus was betrayed, brought to trial, crucified between two criminals, and rose again, but, there are distinct differences between all four; also, got to speak about the six 4th century heracies (ebonites, Moralists, Adoptionists, Monarchists, Nostics, Docetists, Alexandria and Antioch, plus the incorrect views put out thre by Justin, Irenaeous, Turtullian and Origin. etc… My head hurts, as I’ve also just completed nearly 3,000 words on Christian Fundamentalism at 8pm this evening, wading into the Christian Fundamentalist and Reconstructionist pool, tackling the likes of J. Gresham Machen, Cornelius Van til, R. J. Rushdoony and even a little controvercial material on sydney anglicanism.

    Please pray for my exam, tomorrow , Magdalena, and anyone else who feels thus inclined.

  9. Magdalena,

    I hope that you are able to find your dream home. We are looking for something similar here in South Dakota within reasonable driving distance of my daughter’s employment. Though we will need to buy our dream home as I will soon need a wheelchair and we will need to make, what to us, are costly adaptations. While I’d dearly love a woodstove again, wood is costly here on the prairie and you can’t go out and find buffalo chips any more. We definitely need a good sized pantry for our home canned goods and I’d love a root cellar to keep potatoes, squashes, winter apples and the like over the winter.

    I’ll add prayers for you to find the home Heavenly Father wants you in soon along with mine for my family. It may be that your time as regular clergy is over, but there is still a place in the world and community for a wise woman who does not share confidences that shouldn’t be shared. A woman who is mature, but shines with as much beauty as a teen setting off on her own. I would be thrilled to become true neighbors with you, though it can never happen in real life.

  10. I too have made a wonderful internet friend. She and I share birthday cards, Christmas presents, and we share life moments. We have never met face to face yet her Mother loves me like another daughter.

    I agree that there needs to be moderation, but once these relationships are established we cannot abandon them suddenly as that sends a bad message of uncaring and selfishness to the other person. I think we need to find the balance. Not always an easy task.

    As of late, I have been avoiding work by playing cafe world on facebook. Not the most industrious way of spending my time, but a welcome relief from the stresses of the day.

  11. magdalena and Commenters/Readers,

    I’ve got another exam on thursday (tomorrow) at 10:00am. This one’s on the Church in History and we’ll be asked questions covering everything from the Catholic counter reformation to the great awakenings in North America of the 18th and 19th centuries to Vatican II.

    Oh me!! I cannot wait until the end of semester!

    Blessings,

    Sarah.

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