“It was my letting go that gave me a better hold.”
When I was out hiking several weeks ago, I had some time to think about how my attitude towards technology at work and my home life overall had changed over the course of the last several years. Since I have hiked the familiar trail to Anthony’s Nose countless times, I was once again afforded the opportunity to let my mind wander since I didn’t have to really worry about getting lost. As days go it was one of the better ones that we had seen in quite a few weeks. Cooler temperatures, no humidity and a light breeze made for perfect hiking conditions.
As I strapped my pack on and tightened the laces on my boots, I hoped that I wouldn’t see to many people on my journey. It’s not that I am anti social, but there are times when the need to be alone with your thoughts takes precedence over everything else. Why you may ask? It’s really pretty simple.
We live in a world that is dominated by the technology around us. I know that in my house you have the tv, computer, telephone, cell phones and ipods.We can’t even escape this deluge in our cars. It seems as though someone is looking at or listening to something twenty four hours a day. I know many people of my generation who grew up without this 24/7 technological onslaught feel overwhelmed, at times, by the sheer volume of everything that is being directed at us. Every aspect of our lives is controlled by our use of technology.
Think about it. When was the last time that you saw something positive on the news? I know, I can’t either. It doesn’t happen. Death, corruption, destruction, child molesters, fires, car accidents. It’s all negative and it is hurting each and every one of us.
Why does this matter? Up until about three years ago, I felt that if I didn’t check my work e-mail at home, or my personal e-mail ten times a day, I would be missing something. I especially felt this at work over breaks and during the summer.
And please don’t ask about Facebook. When I first joined Facebook I felt the need to comment on just about everything that was written. I would get into lengthy arguments with people who I disagreed with, especially in regards to politics. Over the course of the last year, I have tended to pick and choose what I respond to. Unfortunately, many people feel the need to focus on the negative and can not engage in any type of healthy and productive debate.
I would actually get angry over the stupidity that I saw and it just seemed like an awful waste of energy.
This led to my recent decision to not respond to Facebook posts, no matter how provocative they may be. At this point in my life it just doesn’t seem productive to engage in such incredibly pointless debates.
You may be asking, “Why is he focusing on just Facebook?” That is also a simple answer.My interactions on Facebook were the ones that were causing me the most angst and wasting an incredible amount of my time.
The need to be able to escape from our technological lives is what makes every single trip to Anthony’s Nose special. The ability to feel the earth under your feet as you walk and to be able to hear only the train whistles in the distance is, indeed, the perfect mental cleansing. Sometimes you just need to get rid of all of the crap in the attic and move forward.
Needless to say, everyone needs to take the time to disconnect and get back to the basics, at least for a little while. Is it possible to totally disconnect? Not in the 21st century. But you can reduce the amount of time that are swept up in the technological malaise.
Reid Genauer, the lead singer and lyricist of the band Assembly of Dust summed it up perfectly when he said, “Can you help me get my head on straight just a half an inch, so I can muddle on through?”
Take some time to assess where you are with all of the technology available out there and ask yourself if it is really improving your state of mind. I think you might be surprised with what you find out.
(Before anyone attacks me, I know that I am using technology to write and maintain this blog. A necessary evil….)