Technology is wondrous, isn’t it?
We’re within mere keystrokes of some of the most beautiful things on Earth — images of far away places, awe-inspiring musical performances, thousands of friends, fans, followers, and communities.
Our ability to see, learn, experience and grow has increased exponentially — but our capacity to take it all in and remain fully present in this world is rapidly diminishing. Because we have more infinite information and resources at our fingertips, infinitely more is expected of us.
My generation is living the dream. We work remotely, run our own schedules, and have more freedom and flexibility than any generation before us — yet we’re never not working, searching, playing, communicating. We can be in a crowded room and still feel entirely isolated, jonesing for a Facebook hit.
It’s time to face fact: We’re having an online affair with our smartphones and mobile devices. We sleep with them, neglect our family and responsibilities to be near them, and even take them to the bathroom for fear of missing something. For me, it’s an addiction — and it has to stop.
I feel cheated out of life’s beauty with every mind-numbing buzz of my iPhone. I let work calls and emails interrupt dinner. I check Facebook and blog stats while playing with my daughter in the yard. I’m so busy trying to capture, document and socially share my life experiences that I miss experiencing life first-hand.
Before you think I’ve gone completely mad, know that I’m not suggesting we forego our mobiles altogether and ditch the WiFi. But experiencing life entirely onscreen is no life at all.
I’m a realist. I’m a blogger. And since my day job as a content marketer requires me to plug in, stay in, and thrive, I have no option but to purposefully schedule time to be “unplugged.” My pastor calls it an “electronics sabbath,” and does it one full day each week. The idea is so appealing, but it will be a long time before it’s realistic for me. I need something a little more drastic to be able to unplug totally.
Last weekend, I went away. To a place where nobody could reach me — free of texts, calls, pings, pokes, emails, status updates, public announcements, private messages, and backlit screens altogether.
To breathe real air. To hike a muddy trail. To experience the stillness of the early morning and the roar of a waterfall. To witness spring breaking through in the resurrection of creation’s majesty.
To experience colors, shapes, and sounds live and in person — not in high-definition or virtual reality, but in actuality.
Where mobiles don’t matter, and minds are made free.
I won’t always be able to go away for the weekend to a place with no cellular service, or even unplug for the night for that matter. But I recognize that offline time deserves a place in my life, and it’s part of what I need to be mentally, physically and spiritually healthy.
Hocking Hills is my favorite “escape to reality.” Comment below — where and how do you go off the grid?