Monday, September 10, 2012

Coming Off A Technology Fast

Two weeks ago I chose to go on a technology fast. No email, texting, Facebook, or even using my computer for two weeks. Did the fast radically change my life? No, but it helped put some things in perspective for me. More importantly, it provided time for me to rediscover some of the beauty of life I’ve been missing. So here are some things I learned.

1. There are very few things that are so urgent I have to respond immediately. Over the course of the two weeks very little changed in the world (of course I still read the paper on the weekend, remember newspapers?). The messages people left me would have normally elicited an almost instant response. Without my advice people took care of problems themselves or waited. Apparently the world did not come tumbling down if my voice was not heard, or my message received instantly.

2. Technology takes up a lot of time. I was stunned at the amount of time I had back in my day. But it makes sense. Between emails, texting, whatsapp, wordsfree, blogging, commenting on blogs and reading news on the internet, the day disappears. For two weeks I had time to do other things (but I’ll get to that in a minute). Still, it was almost disconcerting how much more time I had, especially in the evenings.

3. There is almost an unnatural draw toward electronic media. The first week I found myself passing my phone and just wanting to see who was trying to connect with me. My fingers itched to click on my emails. I purposely did not turn on my computer knowing I would be drawn to it, but it was really difficult not to do. Only the complete fasting from technology helped me perservere because otherwise I would have reconnected. I didn’t realize I was so connected.

4. Without electronic media to distract me I savor life more. I found myself lingering over meals, enjoying the taste of wines and watching waves without the demand to check my phone. By the second week the urge to pick up my phone diminished enough so that I could really relax (perhaps it was experiencing that the world had not come to an end). In the quiet of my day, life got louder.

5. I want to make a technology fast part of my life. I’ve determined that I want and need to fast from technology at least once a week. It makes life more enjoyable and allows me to fully experience it. Besides, it will all be there when I get back.

So now I’m back emailing, texting, blogging, and surfing. But now I know what life is like without my technology leash. Yes, I know technology makes things easier, but it also sets expectations, makes demands and takes over. But at least for two weeks I was set free. Now it’s up to me to find that time each day.

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