This past week, my wife Sharla and I took a bite of Apple’s bait and splurged on their special college themed deal of a MacBook and a free iPod Touch. I obviously adore both new toys, but I had an incident eliciting a dark revelation a few nights ago.
Every night as I’m starting to wind down before getting to sleep as I’m in the bed, I’ll often read a few pages of a book or perhaps play my Nintendo DS for a minute or two. It’s never a big deal, just a little something to do as I relax before shutting down. The other night, I brought my new Touch with me and was checking email and Twitter before getting to sleep. That may not seem particularity problematic initially, but after some thought I mentally slapped myself and vowed not to do it again. I’ve often been proud of the fact that I don’t own a cell phone. It’s a continual revolt against connectiveness, mostly because I choose not to be so in a continual fashion. There are simply many times throughout the day in which I make a conscious decision to not be connected. In my line of work, it’s easy to allow ones self to be subject to a constant barrage of information. As I work each day I’m being bombarded with tweets, email, calls, RSS items and so on. On the way home or while there, I really prefer to be away from all that. Most times, I’d rather wind down and forget that the outside world exists quite honestly. It allows me to regather focus and simply relax. Having a cell phone while doing my evening chilling or running around excludes me from my own “serenity now”.
I sometimes even question whether or not I really want to be that connected during the main part of my day. All of that stuff mentioned above has never affected my productivity, but it can at times add to stress or general anxiety. Perhaps I long for the day during high school where I didn’t know of the outside world until getting off the bus. Then, the only thing that mattered between commutes was what was going on with my friends. Maybe it isn’t too juvenille or naive to try to attain that again. I wonder if the constant connectiveness with friends or the works of others via the conduit of technology disenchants us from actual human contact. I admit it has affected me somewhat as I’ve noticed a correlation between my increased use of technology and my shyness level. And if you’ve known me personally in the past, you know I’m prone to not be shy at all.
The thing is, I’m quickly realizing that a lot of these things keeping me connected are simply opitional. It wouldn’t inhibit me in any way if I were to drastically reduce the use of them. Not that I’ll kill them off completely, but perhaps a mental diet is sometimes just as needed as a physical one.