Hi everyone. It’s me. I’m back again.
I just spent two weeks in Greece. I’ll write about it later, but suffice it to say, I had a wonderful vacation, my first in about six years.
You probably noticed that I didn’t publish any blog posts during that time, nor was I on any social media. Nor did I check my emails. This was by design.
During the trip, I made a conscious decision not to have Internet access, and it was glorious.
Did you know that it can take upwards of 20 minutes to return to the task you were working on after checking your device? Twenty minutes! That’s crazy, isn’t it?
I’ll spare you the talk about our brains not being wired for the modern world or whatever because, quite honestly, no one’s brain could be wired for the cluster-you-know-what we find ourselves in today. But I just want to briefly share some things I noticed during my two-week (ugh, I hate this term, but here it comes) detox from technology:
- Presence: Not the Led Zeppelin album (though that would be rad). Instead, I noticed that I was more in the moment, not worried about getting back to so and so or looking forward to things I thought I had to do or check, but really didn’t. Because nobody really NEEDS any of this stuff.
- Focus: This is related to the above, but different. Let me explain. Without Internet or my phone, I found myself able to avoid that thing everybody claims to be experts at, but really are not: Multitasking. As my friend the Mystery Dane puts it, multitasking is just doing lots of things poorly. Instead, I was able to achieve deep concentration on whatever it was I was doing, which in Greece is mostly eating and drinking, but also involved walks out in nature, spending time with family, playing with my son, reading, and occasionally getting some work done on the second draft of my current novel.
- Not Caring: Work. The news. Pop culture. Guess what? None of it matters. And one of it cares about you either. While staying informed is good, it is spiritually rejuvenating to be away from the constant feed of so-called information. And guess what: No one in Greece cared about American politics. So neither did I. And work? Please. I’ll be replaced with a robot, or cheaper foreign labor, the second it becomes feasible. So I gave it the same consideration.
- Peace: When I was somewhere where I had to wait, I had nothing to surf. So I would sit and wait and be alone with my thoughts. Thinking about life, family, music, God . . . you know, the basic stuff. The way I used to before I got a smartphone.
Maybe it’s because I’m of a generation that didn’t grow up with the Internet. Maybe because I didn’t have a cell phone until I was 24, and didn’t have a smartphone until I was almost 30. I don’t know. But I found the experience of my being plugged in easy.
I would see everyone hunched over their devices, ignoring the world, and think, Am I like that, too? And the answer is, of course I am.
I would see couples at a table at a cafe or restaurant not taking to each other, just surfing away. It’s not just an American thing, you Europhiliac snobs; everyone does it.
The trip itself? I’ll write more about what I did and why I think it’s good to get out of the U.S. from time to time. But today is about realizing that, despite the friendships and connections I’ve made thanks to the Internet, it’s also good to log off from time to time.
God bless, and I’m glad to be back.
And check out my Instagram here.