e·qui·lib·ri·um - A state in which opposing forces or influences are balanced
My first post on equilibrium for the New Year was on balance between self vs. community. The second was suggestions on how to use fear to find fearlessness. In my final post on striking balance for the New Year is focused on technology and its overwhelming takeover of our lives.
It’s so easy to be stuck to your technologies- BlackBerrys, Androids, Iphones- any cell phone- Ipods/MP3s/CD players, Ipads/tablets, laptops, desktops, Ebook readers etc.
We are so spoiled.
Somehow in all the fascination and dependence on these mechanical gadgets, we have forgotten the important of human contact and complete independence. So, I write this post to urge you to make it a point AT LEAST once a week to switch things up. Here are some suggestions–
1) HOLD OFF IN THE MORNING. When you wake up first thing in the morning- don’t check your phone OR computer (unless it is to shut off the alarm clock). Take a deep breath, stretch, eat breakfast, shower, get dressed AND THEN indulge yourself in emails and texts and phone calls and social media sites (Facebook/Twitter/etc).
2) SWITCH IT UP. Read the newspaper or listen to NPR. I know it’s so much easier to go to websites and get a rundown of the news but go old school once in awhile. You learn random things and take in at least 50% more information by flipping pages, perusing papers that are too big to hold out or by listening to the radio.
3) SNAIL MAIL. Write a letter. Tell me you wouldn’t love getting snail mail? Next time you want to send an email to a friend to check in or stalk an old Facebook friend- grab a piece of paper, write a letter to them and send it out.
4) READ A BOOK WITHOUT DISTRACTIONS. Next time you want to leisure read a magazine or book, put your phone on silent, close your laptop and spend an hour actually throwing yourself into the story. No distractions. If you need to look up words in the process (like me), buy a pocket dictionary instead of relying on the Internet.
5) GAME NIGHT. Whatever happened to good old classic board games or card games? Speed, Jenga, Monopoly, Scrabble etc. Put down your phone, get off your computer and stop playing words with friends or angry birds or whatever other ridiculous game you’re wasting your time with. Instead, play an actual board game with real live people who are physically next to you.
6) GET LOST. As long as it’s daytime and a generally safe area, get lost. Walk around aimlessly until you don’t know where you are. You’ll meet new people, you’ll find new stores and places that intrigue you, and when you are ready to find your way home- ask someone for general directions instead of mapping it out on your GPS or your phone.
7) LEARN/CREATE SOMETHING. Spend the hour you would usually spend on the Internet or watching television/hulu to pick up a hobby, or to learn something new. Knit, scrapbook, take karate lessons, write, learn a language, learn how to change a flat tire (manually), practice a sport, go to a nursing home and hear stories about historical events from people who have lived through them…etc.
The brain is a muscle and we find ourselves relying on technology for EVERYTHING. Force yourself, once in awhile to do things the old school way. Use your head before looking things up, read things physically rather than electronically, hang out with friends physically rather than via the Internet, and so on. I love technology and I own every gadget you can think of, but I push myself to step away every now and then. Don’t let technology run your life or waste your time- if you don’t believe me, spend a day logging how much you check your phone, text, email, sit on Facebook or Twitter or browsing the internet…I guarantee you’ll be a little disturbed with the results.
Stay naturally smart,
PS. I want to hear your unplugged stories- comment or send me an email letting me know how long you can go completely unplugged and what you do to make up for that time. I bet you cant go an entire 24 hours? CHALLENGE.