Technology has Off Buttons; People Don’t

Okay, there’s something I don’t talk about much because I feel like it comes across high falutin and me, I like to keep my falutin on the down low. You know what I mean.

I have watched untold hours of television in my life but now, I don’t have a TV in my home. Once in a blue moon, I take advantage of having the login to a friend’s Netflix account but that’s one mighty blue moon when it happens.

Similarly, I used to check Facebook, oh, a dozen times a day probably. Now it’s once or twice a week.

Recently, I turned off all of my technology for 24 hours. I’m pretty sure I reached for my phone every 90 seconds for the first few hours… and then there was all this time and quiet. I took a really long nap, a really long walk, read a bunch and wrote a little, and when the 24 hours were up, I knew I wanted to make those breaks a regular part of my life. It felt a little like taking a long, hot shower after getting really disgustingly dirty. You know exactly that feeling, don’t you?

My shyness to share is related to how often people read virtue into my TV-free home, etc. Each decision, though, came from noticing a discomfort in response to these inputs. The relaxation of TV time turned into antsiness related to the preciousness of a lifetime; the pleasure of social media connections became anxiety as I scrolled down my feed; and my precious phone, my vade mecum, adds a sense of urgency that, for me and my life, is out of line with reality. Don’t misunderstand – I’m not denying that I’m important to some people. But I’m not urgently important. There’s no one in my family, friend group, or professional world who’s going to bleed out or melt down or give up if they can’t get in touch with me for 24 hours.

So, what’s the point of sharing all of this? Well, it’s so you’ll know how doggone virtuous I am. No, really no.

We have precious little control in our lives – I suppose that’s what it boils down to for me.

We choose our spouses/partners but not who they become; our family is delivered however it’s delivered. We choose our friends but with the great big caveat of who happens to be available to us as friends, both in terms of who we have access to and if they feel moved to reciprocate those friendly feelings. We rarely have a say over our coworkers and other professional contacts…

Technology, on the other hand, has off buttons. Question is, does it serve you to press them?

Only you know that, my friend. I trust your judgment and encourage you to trust it, too.