The Internet is Ruining Our Lives (Or is it Just Me?)

Okay. Maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement, but let’s face it: nobody reads anything these days unless it’s something You Won’t Believe. And while those click-bait headlines are annoying, they’re not what I want to talk about today.

No, I want to focus on something that happened to me yesterday while I was putting MC into her car seat. My car is a Honda Civic, and they ain’t exactly spacious in the back seat department, so when you’ve already got a car seat back there, and then I cram myself into it along with a two year old, I’m already predisposed to be on the grumpy side. And then the car seat straps were so tight, trying to get MC in there was a job and a half.

I was frustrated, and I was angry with the internet.

Why?

Because the internet is always here to tell us all the Right Way to Do Things. There are all these helpful articles about how to do everything or (what I’m more focused on) about how *not* to do everything.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my child, and I definitely want her to be safe in the car. But some of those articles about how to make sure a child is safe in a car seat make it sound like unless they’re surgically bolted directly to the car’s frame, then they’re a whisker away from certain doom. And maybe they are. I’m no expert. But I do know that I’ve got my daughter still facing backward long after she turned 2, because that’s safer. And I have the straps tight enough to choke a horse, because otherwise she might go sailing off into the great beyond if I brake too hard. And why do I do all these things?

Because the internet told me to. And once I know there’s a right way, how can I do it any other way?

Let’s stop using car seats as an example, because while they might be what led me to this thought, they’re also not something I’m really considering switching my approach to. Anything to make my kids safer is a real keeper. But think about all the other “how to” columns out there. All the Pinterest pages on how to make things cuter. The articles about how something you’ve always done is actually bad or wrong or whatever.

At what point does all this information become just too much? Or maybe this is just a me problem. I know that one of my quirks is that I really like doing things the Best Way. I like to research something to death, making sure I buy the right garden hose, or the best cake pan. I focus on little details, even when they don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. But instead of being able to just brush off the small things and not worry about what I do, the knowledge that there’s inevitably a bit of information out there that will tell me what I ought to be buying or doing makes me freeze up and go into this information-search overload mode.

And sometimes, there really is no clean cut “best.” So it’s an exercise in futility.

My brother in law reminded me of this cartoon yesterday.

It’s funny, and true, but at the same time, after I thought about it for a while, I couldn’t help but see that maybe things were a bit easier then, because of that lack of information. You did things the best way you knew how. Maybe you asked some friends for advice. Maybe you checked a book out of the library if you were being really thorough. But in the end, you gave it your best shot, and you could rest assured that that was all you could do.

These days, there’s always something else to check. Some other resource you might have missed. And for what? So that you save a few more seconds of time, or are a fraction of a bit better at doing something?

I know I have to work on this. Recognizing when it’s worth it to keep looking for information, and when I should just sit back and stop worrying about it. Of course, recognizing you have a problem and actually doing something about it are two very different things.

I wonder if I can find an advice column about the best way to handle that . . .

2 Comments

  • By hollyida, July 14, 2015 @ 11:50 am

    Oh my gosh, I LOVE this post!! I think about this all the time. I now do very little research on anything I’m going to buy or make because I start getting OCD about just making stinkin’ cupcakes! *sigh* Thanks, Bryce. This was awesome.

  • By Bryce Moore, July 14, 2015 @ 12:15 pm

    Thanks, Holly! :-)

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