The 21st Century is a world that moves at a fast pace. Can’t be slow or you fall behind; we work longer, harder and try to tackle projects like circus jugglers. Life is relentless. Expectations that we have for ourselves (or that others perceive for us) are higher, and we are all struggling to keep up. It’s OK to admit it; we’re human. We are living life tethered by an invisible force, connected 24/7, and we just can’t tune out and tune in to life. The world is too busy encouraging us to be working all the time, there is a lot of background noise, and it’s hard to sit still, to appreciate the quiet.
Sometimes, we get so busy making a life and a living, that we forget to live. We are off-kilter, unbalanced, and we suffer physically and emotionally. Much to my husband’s consternation, I am a proponent of slowing down; take time to smell all the flowers, not just the roses. By putting self-care on my priority list, I can have a little downtime and feel more alive. It’s amazing how much more efficient and creative I feel after a short walk or meditation session.
We are overrun with technology. It isn’t just computers anymore, but smart homes and soon to be available self-driving cars. The Jetsons are going to be the next reality show. I raise my voice at Google to turn on the TV, fight about the weather or play MadLibs with my kids. There is no escape…or is there?
I’m old enough to remember when the most technology we had in the house was a color TV and a princess phone. After school, we would run home, grab a snack and our bikes and head for the nearest playground. We were social – really social, as in face to face without a glass screen in front of us. There were picnics and neighborhood gatherings where the adults and kids would linger over not sweet enough Kool-Aid and cookies. People used to talk to each other, not merely text an impersonal message across the cell phone lines.
So that was then, this is now. I check my email with my first cup of coffee. I check out The Skimm (don’t want to be too misinformed) and I then spend most of my day writing online. At the end of the day, my routine is similar. So I am making an effort to change some of those habits.
I try to shut out all the electronic media for a couple of hours midday, and after 7 pm. I try and get outside, even just to go up the block with the dog. I am trying to be mindful and present and notice all the little things. I am conscious of birdsong, the wind and the iguanas who reside in the bushes across the street. I also talk to people – neighbors, the person in line behind me at the market, and of course my friends and family. I have cut my Facebook time, and I am not missing it…honest. I’m not distracted by silliness, my mind feels less cluttered, and I have more focus (when I need to).
I think that technology has made it alright to live in a virtual world vs. reality. How many of today’s youth log over 20 hours a week or more on video games and chat rooms? I’m not talking about using technology for music or schoolwork, but the free time wasting. It’s time to send those kids outside for a dose of Vitamin D and some sunlight. Too many vampires are lurking in the school hallways. I think many of us adults have lost touch with nature also, and that is a shame. Nature stimulates the senses and enhances our creativity. It’s why when I get writer’s block I take a walk. It quiets the white noise and lets me see what I want to say more clearly. Studies show that being in nature is beneficial, it enhances self-esteem, brightens your mood and reduces tension, anxiety, and anger. Taking a walk can lower blood pressure- it’s a free cure all folks.
So I’m advocating that we all take a timeout. Let’s commit to disconnecting, just for a bit. Turn it all off for the weekend – even 24 hours. I promise you won’t miss anything significant. Sometimes we need to disconnect to reconnect with what is truly important. Live without distraction for a day, and see how you feel. And let me know- I promise, it brings peacefulness and quality of life you forgot you were missing. There may be no wifi in the park or at the beach, but I promise you will have a connection to something better.
Stay motivated and caffeinated!😊☕