Technology is great, isn’t it? Especially when it works the way you need it. My dad has loved all new technology, even to this day and age of frustrating updates and linking smart devices together. He was the first in the neighborhood to have the Texas Instrument calculator when it was released in the early 70s, the first to get a VCR with the corded remote, the first to buy a microwave oven, etc. Even today he loves his smart phone to check the weather, the stock prices, the news, and all his varied home devices like the doorbell and thermostat. He loves all things technology, and I do too. But, do you ever need to just disconnect?
I saw a meme saying “No, I don’t “meditate”, but sometimes I leave my phone in the other room when I’m watching TV.” In this world of overstimulation, constant connection, noise and information overload, our phones, smart watches, tablets and computers are our constant companions. Did you get my message? Why didn’t you answer the phone when I called? Are you ok? Recently while traveling I was at a rest stop, in the bathroom, and my phone rang five times from the same person, over and over, and it felt like they were almost in a panic. When I got back in the car, I called them back asking what’s wrong that they so desperately needed me. Nothing, I was just checking to see how your trip is going… I wasn’t traveling alone, so that level of insistence felt a bit over the top, and I even have the FindMe app for my close family to track my progress if they so choose. My phone is very important to me, don’t get me wrong. I love to have information, directions, a camera, weather, games, books, music, movies, shopping, and my friends at my fingertips. I used to love talking on the phone with my friends in different places, but now we all text each other. And some texts say, we need to talk soon! But if the phone rings at 9:30 pm, do I answer? Is my watch off? My phone on a charger in another room? Or can I say it is, and ignore the call til tomorrow?
I have always used Do Not Disturb, and have it scheduled at night so I can rest, but one of the latest updates has Focus, where you can filter notifications, tell your friends you are busy, and hide distractions but still get notifications of important things. It’s good that technology is beginning to help us in ways that we are seemingly unable to do for ourselves. Find time to eat dinner with someone and talk, talk on the phone, go for a walk or be outside alone or with someone, without needing to check notifications or messages. Find that new way to “meditate”, focus on what’s important to you, take back control of your time, make it a conscious choice when you are with the people closest to you, and take care of yourself, so you can be the best version of you: decide to have technology work for you and not be a slave to it.