Technology Takes Its Toll


I have once again returned to the world of the plugged in, but I can't say whether this is good or bad news.  I spent a week without a computer, and while that didn't mean I was completely offline, it changed how I plan to approach having my computer back.  Here are some of my epiphanies:

While I still seem to need to watch tv while eating meals, my morning coffee became a ritual paired with some morning reading instead.  Because watching Veep on an iPhone screen doesn't really cut it.  I don't know why I thought it would be difficult to drink coffee and read at the same time...but apparently I did.  I now know better, especially because I pay attention to the taste of the coffee while reading, rather than mindlessly sipping away.

I turned off the banner notifications for everything on my iPhone.  I tend to read a lot of articles via Pocket (I highly recommend it), and while I enjoy a good texting conversation, I don't need to be interrupted in the middle of an article.  Banner notifications just add to the layers of distractions available at all times.  So if you text me or facebook message me while I'm reading an article, playing a game, or scrolling through twitter:  I'm sorry but I won't respond until I'm finished.  And that's how it should be.

I also discovered that no computer meant my brain went into hyperdrive!  I wouldn't be mindlessly reading through Buzzfeed or browsing facebook, always knowing there was another article waiting for me, getting stuck in a black hole of endless links.  I stopped feeling the pressure of moving on to the next piece of media, and gave myself time to write down some thoughts.

For the past three or so months I've kept a little notebook with me at all times to jot blog or article ideas down.  But it's a small notebook, not conducive to writing down more than a couple of keywords.  When I had more concrete/thought-out ideas, I would generally just type them up and let them sit in a file within a file within a file on my computer.  They'd be lost forever unless I consciously opened the document for the sole purpose of looking at it.  But not having my computer denied me the luxury of mindless keystrokes.  So I went out and bought a Moleskine notebooksimple and clean– to write my ideas in.  Lo and behold, I found myself with too many thoughts to jot down.  When I'd normally just type up a line or two on the nostalgia behind the smell of sautéed squash, ideas flowed through my pencil and filled up an entire page of tangential ideas.  I would brainstorm more via pencil than keyboard.  And the best thing is that now whenever I open the journal to write a new idea, I'm forced to look over the old ones.

Being without a computer taught me to unplug a little bit, focus a little more, and enjoy the information I take in.  I became emotionally invested in Atlantic articles, because I didn't jump away every two seconds to reply to a text.  I read hundreds of pages of books in the time I would usually waste away on Netflix.  I spend quality time fostering new relationships in real life rather than in my Sims family.

I'm not going to say I don't find computers useful.  I missed being able to practice the coding skills I'm attempting to learn this summer.  I missed blogging.  I missed being able to fully flesh out all the article ideas I jotted down.  I'm not the type who could delete facebook, twitter, and instagram and be perfectly content;  I'm very much plugged in and okay with that.  But living life is also of the utmost importance.  And when technology gets in the way of that, you've lost some control over your own existence.


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Meet The Author

I'm Madysen, born and raised in Nebraska but now living out my dreams in New York City. I moved here to go to Columbia, but living in New York has become so much more to me. This blog is a space where I can share my experiences of reconciling my midwestern upbringing with the life I live in the city. But even bigger than that, this blog serves as a space where I can try to understand where I fit into the larger social world, where I want to go in life, and how I want to go about pursuing all of these endeavors.

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