One thing I always seem to desire more of is simplicity. Simplicity is a pretty subjective word, but for me it usually means some kind of aversion to a mainstream tech trend. Maybe I’m just a wannabe hipster? I’m not really sure. Either way, I can tell you that I’ve experienced so many benefits from simple lifestyle choices. Deleting social media two years ago is definitely one of the best choices I’ve made. It’s not that I think social media is evil or anything, but I do think it was distorting my perspective on relationships. It made me feel close to friends I wasn’t actually close to, and it left me in a constant state of comparison. Another great life decision was getting rid of my internet three years ago. The internet suddenly transformed from a time waster into a precious rare commodity. Whenever I have the opportunity to connect at a coffee shop or library, I make the most of my time since I know it’s limited. Overall, it seems that the less technology I use, the more perspective I have.
Today is the first day I’ve been online in about 8 days. On a little bit of a whim, I went to Yellowstone and the Tetons last week. I turned off my phone and headed into the “wilderness”. It wasn’t actually the wilderness since Yellowstone and the Tetons are both National Parks and major tourist destinations, but still. I met up with my parents and we had a great time camping and soaking in the beauty of nature. Simply put, it was peaceful because we were present. Honestly, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a week (and that’s even considering the 12 hours I spent vomiting).
When I eventually turned my phone on again, I found a number of texts that said things like “Where are you??????”, “Are you alive?”, “Did you give up cell phone communication?”, and “We need to put a GPS tracker on you”. Admittedly, I should probably tell my friends when I go somewhere so that they don’t think I’m dead, but it was still a bit of a surprise. As far as the spectrum of people who are dependent on their phones goes I’m pretty much at the bottom, but even so I still felt like the world was ending.
After reconnecting, I found myself thrown back into this weird distorted universe where the things that matter most are “controversies” like Phil Mickelson hitting a rolling put at the US Open. I’m back to checking my phone every 6.5 minutes (the average time for an American) and sending impersonal texts instead of chatting in chairs around the campfire. I’m watching TV instead of sunsets, and I’m back to worrying about the future instead of mosquitoes.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wish I could unplug more often. Sometimes it feels like the world is ending, but honestly I think unplugging is just the beginning.