Copy of TIME
I have been preoccupied with time lately. I haven’t been worried about being late or missing an appointment; it’s mainly been about Time with a capital T. Something more cosmic in nature. I wrote about anticipation on Wednesday, and that’s all about time. More specifically being in the wrong place in time: being in the future instead of in the present.
We sometimes divide time into 2 parts: living and waiting to live. Are we making the most of our time? I read that time is never your enemy until you try to kill it. It sounds pretty reasonable.
Think of how we used to kill time. We could go to a movie or watch TV. We could go shopping, to visit a friend or even just call someone and talk on the phone. It was making a plan and executing it. It took some effort.
Now we just look down at the end of our arm, and there is the ubiquitous cell phone. I’m not hating on the phone, and I’m not going to spew either facts or opinions about how the phones are destroying civilization. I don't believe that.
I love my phone. The fact that I can snap pictures anywhere, that I can use the compass while hiking to find my way out of the woods when I’m lost, that I can ask google something when I’m proving to Paul that he’s wrong, (or sheepishly lie and tell him google doesn’t know if he happens to be right). These are all amazing things, and we shouldn’t denigrate them just because it’s not the way it used to be. Progress is usually a very good thing.
My issue is something a little more insidious. The fact that instead of killing time by planning an activity, it’s those 1 minute intervals where I feel I must be entertained. Standing in the line at the store, I check emails. Paul leaves the room for a minute during a commercial, and I’m on my phone looking at FaceBook or TikTok. That part frightens me. I want to find a happy medium between being a complete luddite and an addict.
In the book The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, the main character talks about his children, “In the city of constant stimulation, we had failed to give them the opportunity to develop strong inner lives for those occasions when they would find themselves sitting through the second act of the Nutcracker.”
While it’s humorous that in the character’s mind Act 2 of the Nutcracker is perhaps one of the longest things to ever be endured, it is well-stated that many of us no longer have strong inner lives. We rarely think deep thoughts or are even able to entertain ourselves. We want the phone to do it for us. We have become passive.
If you don’t believe me, try to remember how you felt the last time you left your phone at home. It’s not a sense of freedom you felt when you realized; it’s sheer panic.
I’m going to run a little experiment. I’ve heard of people doing a technology cleanse where they stay away from all technology for a certain period of time. A trip to the beach seems the perfect time to try it. Hopefully I am at the beach as you read this, not looking at my phone or computer. All of this depends of course on how tech savvy I am at scheduling this blog to be posted.
I’m hoping to stay off of my phone, google nothing, text no one. I will take my phone with me of course, as a kind of safety blanket. I’ll let you know how it goes when I get back. (Maybe I should pack some calamine lotion in case I break out in hives.)