Addicted to Search
The storm clouds warned us to stop our search. Despite the obvious signs of bad weather and our evening plans for a movie, we pursued the city-wide hunt for the medallion alongside other strangers in our local park.
A gray wall rolled across the field toward us. Even as we reluctantly started toward our vehicle, we considered one more place to check. And then the tornado sirens blared just feet away from us.
Obviously, I’m addicted to “The Search.” Apparently, others are, too.
A medallion hunt, a geocache, or even a quest can drive us endlessly. We set aside other priorities, silence danger and seek the goal. Except the goal isn’t always what drives us; sometimes the search itself does.
My personal passion is the virtual search.
The excuse for this world-wide search of the web is the need to purchase an item, plan an event, relocate, create something, find anything new. But then the search takes over.
You can find anything on the Internet with just one more website, one more Pinterest Board, one more link.
But the number of possibilities is exactly what perpetuates the search endlessly! If you can search one more thing—you might find “THE VERY THING you’re searching for.”
I know why I do it. I like to research and understand all that is before me before I make a choice. Looking for information about products, places and opportunities is a good practice. But if you search long enough and often enough, you might discover some things you weren’t seeking.
1. Wasted time and shifted priorities. Lost time is an obvious danger. Time spent searching the Internet can be fun, entertaining and informative. But when it becomes a regular, idle pastime, searching might replace our real and basic priorities, even our relationships.
2. Unrealistic expectations and a sense of dissatisfaction. Information educates us with options to influence our choices. Virtual searching makes it possible to see all that is available. The desire to know can easily switch to a desire to find and obtain the best. I’m all for high standards, but if we sought the best in every sense for every product, most of us would eventually run out of resources. Unchecked window shopping can leave hollow disappointment instead of satisfaction with the best choice for the budget and circumstances.
3. A lack of patience. The future frightens me. Rather than allowing it to materialize, step-by-step, I search out the “what if’s.” This is part of my dependence on virtual searches—to visualize the place we’re headed before all the parameters are ready. Patience is waiting without becoming frustrated, but it is also consciously moving ahead at the right pace, not a forced pace. Patience is necessary to hear and feel the signals from other people and circumstances around us.
4. Anxious and unsettled feelings. Searches of any kind build anticipation and increase our adrenaline. Virtual searches stimulate our visual and cognitive senses just as much as if we physically went on a quest at a shopping mall. Too much stimulation can decrease our ability to concentrate, not just during the activity but for hours afterward.
5. A true addiction. We like to joke about our closet addictions, as if they don’t impact too much in our lives. Or maybe we do it to find company in them. I do that with any sweet treat. You might do it with chocolate. But real addictions prevent happiness.
My family ignored the small signs of an encroaching storm so we could continue our search. When we noticed the real danger, we stood around, pointed at it and took photographs and then returned to the search. Yes, we were safe. But what sensitivities did we diminish in the process?