Shedding Technology

When I was in college I used to do a thing that I called “Tech Free Tuesday”.  I always tried to get people to do it with me, but it was a surprisingly tough sell.

Regardless, every Wednesday night I would turn off my phone and computer and hide them both in a drawer for the next 24 hours.

On my tech-free days I would read, spend time outside, and hang out with anyone who was okay with keeping their screens hidden for as long as we hung out.  I wouldn’t watch movies or television or listen to music.

So it was just me.  Me in the quiet of nature.  Me in the hustle of downtown Chicago, people streaming past me with devices peeking out of their back pockets.  Me on the floor of my room, paintbrush in hand.  Me, baking in the baking. Me, biting into a sandwich at a distraction-free lunch.  Just me.

And the quiet could be overwhelming.

That’s the twisted irony of our devices.  They connect us to so many people that, though on the outside we might seem solitary, in reality we are consumed by the voices of thousands of other people.

The overwhelming nature of the quiet was always exactly what I needed to recenter.

As I’ve grown older, I find that it’s harder to do my tech-free days. I want them just as much as I always have, but I have to be on call and ever-quasi-present online for my work.  Ducking off of social media for 24 hours and not checking emails or texts for 24 hours loses me jobs and annoys people who work with me.

And yet sometimes shit gets heavy and you just need to drop it all for a while.

The other day I deleted every social media themed app off of my phone.  I deactivated my Facebook, which was a pain in the butt because I got booted off of Spotify and Goodreads and probably a few other services that I was lazy about signing up for.

But it feels so good to be cut off from mindless scrolls down pages and the constant barrage of articles that I’m only really halfway interested in.

It feels so good to not be chasing digital versions of people that I shouldn’t be chasing.

It feels so good to have a little space from the masses who usually follow me (though it’s really me following them) everywhere I go.

Now I just need to make it super official, get a tent, and go sit in a forest somewhere for a year.