I saw a Facebook post the other day that said something to the effect of, “People used to get really upset if you read their diary. Now they get upset if you don’t.” I can relate to that sentiment, not that I get bent out of shape if no one reads my Facebook posts or this blog, but it’s always a nice little boost in your day when you see that someone has Liked or Commented on something you’ve shared. And in turn, there are many of you out there whose posts and writings are an endless source of entertainment, and a few of you who inspire genuine reflection and sometimes action.
But to benefit from your collective wit and wisdom, I have to Follow you, and it’s recently dawned on my that this is kind of creepy. Personally, I don’t think I have too many hangups with personal privacy. Not that I want the NSA to be monitoring my activities, or for some mafia group to steal my identity, but for better or worse I’m pretty liberal with sharing my activities, beliefs, and opinions online. At the same time I tend to be quite protective of other people’s privacy. For example, I’m generally cautious about posting pictures or activities of friends and family online without first asking, especially of someone else’s kids. But I rarely impose the same expectations on others, so don’t worry if you’ve posted a picture of me or my family; I’ll let you know if I have a problem with it ;-).
All that said, I was having a conversation with one of my kids the other night about some concerns they had with our plans to someday live on a boat. There were no great revelations, but this was the first time that some concerns had been explicitly voiced: “I’ll miss my friends.” “What happens if the boat breaks while we’re in the middle of the ocean?” “I won’t be able to watch cartoons.” We chatted for a while and I even went so far as to read aloud a few interviews with former cruising kids from the soon to be generally available, but also available for special early purchase from Paradise Cay Publications, Voyaging With Kids… I love this book. Alas, though I think the accounts from other “kids who have been there” helped, I’m proposing a big change in our family’s life, and no concerns or challenges will be resolved in one sitting.
Shortly after this conversation, I thought, “Hmmm… that might make for an interesting blog post.” But no sooner had that thought crossed my mind, than the next thought slammed into place, “I don’t know how keen my child would be with me sharing this private conversation with the world.” I could ask, but even then, all our kids are pretty young and I don’t think they really have the capacity yet to make these kinds of decisions regarding their own privacy… that call is up to me as the parent/blogger.
I began thinking of the cruising families I
stalk follow online. They make all kinds of posts about their kids. They don’t seem to have any problem sharing their kids’ stories online for all to see. But the more I thought about this, the more I recognized that this was likely yet another case of selective posting on social media, along with the false sense of acquaintance that goes with it. I maintain a public persona and a private persona, just as everyone else does. We all follow people online and sometimes get the impression that we know them, especially the ones whose posts we like. But we don’t really know them from their posts any more than they know us from ours. Not that knowing someone can only come from face-to-face interaction, but it does require interaction, not just following.
I have no doubt that the cruisers I follow, who I often draw inspiration from, keep much of their lives to themselves, as they should. Even when they appear to be sharing everything, I know they’re keeping some things to themselves, just as I’ll keep much of our life just for us… maybe I’m more private than I thought… but there’s still plenty of fun stuff to be shared.
Given that this was such a cerebral post, I thought it would be nice to share a few fun things from the weekend.
First, many of the parents on our street participated in this year’s Warrior Dash up in Oregon. I’ve known about this race for a while and always thought it would be fun. This year one of our neighbors convinced as all to race together. Though I’m walking kinda funny today, we had a great time. Here’s a short video of Candace and me on a couple of obstacles.
Second, though we could barely walk this morning, Candace and I rallied to remove the final dozen or so shrubs that used to comprise the hedge that consumed our front yard. Two 2-ton come-alongs later and they’re finally gone, and now we have some space to make into yet another play area for the kids on the street and also to grow a few fruits and vegetables.