By Dawn Onley
I slept for 6 hours and 27 minutes last night. I know this because my FitBit recorded it. I also know that I was restless six times and during one of those restless bits, I lay awake for 17 minutes.
Technology is smart. It’s nothing short of amazing that it can capture this information and more. I now have digital proof on top of my tangible sluggish demeanor as of late on exactly where I need to improve and by what metrics.
What is less clear is the role technology plays in my restlessness because surely connectivity comes at a price. We are always on – through our social media accounts, over email, text message, FaceTime, or cell phone. Someone can always reach us. It is addictive. My young son can’t wait to get through his daily homework so he can hop on his iPad to listen to an audiobook, finish a Netflix movie or play a game. And he’s five.
We are becoming like the technology we enjoy – ubiquitous, wired and always moving – with our coffee in hand and cacophony of beeping sounds somewhere on our being – in our purses, on our wrists, in our briefcases and cell phone holders.
At times it feels intrusive, loud, fast, overbearing, urgent. I find myself missing the slow whispers in life – the handwritten letters, the in-person lunches, not to network but to talk and share and learn. I miss the phone calls that would go on for several hours with a good friend, without the constant beep of call waiting or the distractions of text messages.
I wonder what good is all of this connectivity if we are becoming more disconnected from ourselves. What price are we paying?
I miss me; the silent walks sans technology where I get attuned with my creator and myself. The book pages I eagerly flip sans apps like Audible or library books on CD, which are great but not better than actually reading. The recipes I’m always up for trying, but have neglected as of late for convenience. The poems I miss writing. The book proposal that sits in a file on my computer, beckoning me to finish.
The games I miss playing. My niece, Maya, made a trip home from college this past weekend and asked me to teach her how to play Spades, a card game I use to play all the time, but haven’t played as much in recent years. Playing Spades with my niece and my dad made me nostalgic for my own days in college where my Spades game was tight. It made me wish for more Spades games and trash talking.
It made me miss the time spent teaching, learning, engaging, listening in real time and not on some device.
When I start feeling this way, it’s an indicator that it’s time for a break. It’s time to regroup. It’s time to enjoy more of life, to get more sleep, more exercise, to feel more energized and less burdened. There’s a greater need to see my friends. There’s a desire to incorporate more of the things that I enjoy – the theater, museums, concerts, travel – into my schedule. It’s time to engage more with my loved ones.
In the coming weeks, I will be spending less time connecting on social media and more time reconnecting with me and the things that fuel my life. I will be out and about with the people who help me soar. I will be cozying up to books and finishing my own proposal. I will be investing in me.