By Richa P
(This dog is saying, “please get off the computer and play with me.” Photo: Jeremiah T)
Okay, so I may be one of the few people you know that is choosing not to have a smart phone. I still have a phone from 2011 that slides with a full keyboard, it’s super easy for texting. Sometimes, I get funny looks because my phone seems so “old” to others. Do I choose not to have a smart phone because I think it’s inherently bad? No, not at all. It’s been really amazing being able to communicate with my friends and relatives in Nepal and around the world whenever I want. It’s nice to know what people are up to and be able to celebrate milestones with them. The reason I have avoided getting a smartphone is because I have this sort of personality where I can focus on one thing for too long or get attached to things too easily.
I already spend a lot of time on the computer, it takes most of my time at work. I am on the computer when I get home too. I struggle to find a balance between living in the present and being connected all the time. I don’t want to have a life only on social media where I post what I am doing constantly, take a million selfies a day, and generally spend most of my time interacting with people online instead of offline. And frankly, we don’t all need to know what you are doing every hour of the day. It’s just too much. I am trying hard to stay away from that because I already see people in my friend’s list who are like that, people who you take time to meet up with but they spend most of their time looking at their phone. I get annoyed because I really like to spend one on one time and I feel like I am wasting my time if the other person can’t focus on me, or us. Perhaps I am being too sensitive but I really do treasure that kind of connection.
I recently read a blog post by Jarrid Wilson. This quote stuck with me, “We need to bring our phones back to being an accessory, not a priority.” I would like to tweak that a bit and say, ” We need to bring our technological gadgets to being an accessory, not a priority.” I am already starting to fear what kind of world my future children will live in because everything is moving towards more technology, Google glass, 3-D printers, more advanced phones, cars that drive themselves, etc etc.
It has also affected my time with my husband. He will come home and I can’t take my eyes off the screen or I get mad at him when he is working on his computer after work hours. And it’s becoming too frequent that we sit next to each other on the couch with our Mac books on our laps concentrating not on each other but on other things.
I am working on trying to find a balance though. I have vowed not to check my emails during the weekend, I have been pretty good at it but I still check Facebook constantly (morning, night, day, whenever). I want to take the time and be 100% present when I do the things I enjoy like being with my dog, reading books, baking yummy goodies, having conversations with my neighbors, or doing nothing. Being present in the moment without having distractions and not being afraid of that quiet space.
I’ve seen a few things saying that social media is making us more lonely. So far in my experience, I don’t feel that way but I can see how some other people might. I recently read an article about a woman who spend thousands of dollars on plastic surgery so her pictures on social media could look better. It actually made me really sad that social media has become this place where we have to sometimes outdo each other or make our lives look super exciting. I am also guilty of that, I do crave that attention sometimes and I want people to notice me and the things I am doing.
Social media and technology is great for so many reasons and I enjoy using them. I just don’t want it to take over my life. So today, I am committing myself to spending less time on the computer and more time doing things that I enjoy. I want to live a full life away from the screen and more time with the people I love and the beautiful nature that surrounds me.
What are your thoughts? How has technology affected you? Where do you see the world going? Do you have any tips on learning how to balance?