Anyone who knows me knows I love all things technology. I truly love my devices and I especially love having information at my fingertips. Whether it be work, home, family, friends, doctors, banking, insurance, leisure activities or health and fitness, literally every area of my life is managed, at least to some degree, by the internet. When it works like it’s supposed to, I can’t imagine my life without it.
But we all know the flip side of the coin. Often times, my turning to the conveniences derived from devices, the internet and technology leads to immense frustration. Mainly, I suffer from frustration with accessibility (think lost internet connections and balled-up passwords). I confess it sometimes it drives me to the brink of insanity (think obscenities and alcohol). Rue the day when nothing works like it’s supposed to!
Then there are the privacy concerns that continue to swirl around in the news. Every day we are besieged with stories of how our national and/or personal security is at risk. Again, all maddening.
Perhaps most insidious though is the impact on my time, energy and life by the constant need, or perceived expectation from others, to connect. When I stop to look at all the technology crutches I have come to depend upon, and how they have slowly but surely crept into every area of my life, I am struck by how much of my time and emotional energy is sucked into the vortex of all things internet. At a minimum, it can quickly become counter-productive. On occasion it’s downright unhealthy. If the truth be told, I have come to realize I am sacrificing much too much of what I know to be really important to me to something akin to an addiction to the internet.
Once I realized what was going on, I thought to myself, “Oh, I’ll just quit!” Cue a weird sort of grief that seemed to come over me as I considered the losses of not being constantly connected to others via email, text and social media.
After a week or so of angst, I finally came to terms with what I need to do. Rather than abstaining from all things internet (which simply is not possible!), I came to realize it’s actually about balance. Figuring out the right balance in each area of my internet use then became my focus. Now what I know is if I don’t make a conscious effort to figure out the right balance for me and then work to hold myself to what I deem it to be, life as I want it to be will be lost. No more will I succumb mindlessly to the seemingly innocent call of the internet. I’m taking back my life and making sure I live it exactly as I want it to be.
First a Quote
“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!” Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, by Sherry Turkle.
Alone Together: Why we Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, by Sherry Turkle.
(In the spirit of simplicity and reclaiming, I am purposely omitting the Lessons and Habits portion of my blog. If you would like to talk about this topic and how to figure out the right internet balance for you, I welcome a phone call!)