Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Life Without a Plug-In

While the blog has been neglected lately, time spent either used wisely or thoroughly wasted sitting in front of a computer has not gone unchecked in the past few weeks. First off, I went and did something I swore to myself that I'd never do. I got entangled in the sticky web that is Facebook, and the harder I've tried to wriggle out of its clutches, the tighter its grip has become. So now, like millions of others, I'm a pseudo-Facebook degenerate. I mean, hell yes I need to know when Karen is done delivering cookies, or that Lyndsi doesn't do mornings, or that Steve thinks it's too cold outside. I need to know these things. Now. Refreshing every 5 minutes as to not miss something. Hey, it's been great to reconnect with so many people. But still.....as many have acknowledged with me, it really is the equivalent to online crack addiction.

It's made me finally get to the point of contemplating if we (or maybe just I) could go a weekend day, maybe a full weekend....hell, maybe even a work day, without a computer, a cell phone, even television or the radio. It's ridiculous to think that we can't. Of course we can. I think about when I was a kid and all I needed was a few Hot Wheels cars and a flat surface, a couple of plastic WWF wrestlers to stage a brawl with, or the marble game at Granny Ocle's house. If I was outside, it was a baseball bat hitting rocks over the road (Home Run!), or endlessly riding the alleys around town on my bike. Later in my teens it was playing "Shaq Ball" at Chantry Elementary on the 9 ft. hoop, playing golf around the farm, or playing the drums for hours on end. I didn't need electronic stimuli 24 hours a day, like I seem to need now. Just the other night, I stayed up and read the latest on the ISU Football coaching situation (because THAT'S important shit, right?), online of course. Then for bedtime, how about watching Intervention until I finally decide enough is enough at 1:15 AM. Stupid. No wonder I'm a terrible morning person.

As I begin to reflect on 2008, it's human nature to say that I will "start fresh" in the new year, kicking serious ass on getting up in the morning, working out religiously, eating right, reading (and finishing) no less than 3 books a month, and on and on..... But what's keeping us all from starting fresh with something right now? And why do we feel so compelled to cramming umpteen new "habits" into our lives all starting at the same time? We're doomed for failure from the start with that strategy, which is why a lot of us are no better off with the resolutions we made at the beginning of the year than we are today. And the cycle repeats itself every January 1st. Awesome.

I say a good place to start is by recognizing the things in life that need some tweaking. it's not so much that we need to quit technology cold turkey, but man....wouldn't it be nice to just sit in some peace & quiet every now & then, knowing that the only thing you have to be doing in that moment is just be with yourself for a while? I'm wanting to embark on a pretty ambitious project that's been in various stages of "Pending" for a few years now, and one of the requirements of the project would be just that....a lot of time with myself, reflecting and writing. Pen and paper. Early morning. And some coffee, of course. But what it will really take is not necesarilly new habits, but some times IN habit. A conversation I had with Jason Womack when he was passing through town a while back brought that revelation to light. You don't form habits forcing yourself to do something. You form habits by spending quality time performing those actions you wish to become habits. A subtle but powerful thought right there.

So what does that mean in regards to technology and it's stranglehold on our collective brains? It simply means to recognize the issues arrising from a lack of quality time spent using those tools, and subtley shifting our focus to spending times IN habit on the the things that matter to us....Not just the superficial stuff, but the the stuff deep down. Here's another idea that maybe worth doing a few times between now & then on our own: Shutdown Day. Going offline for 24 hours. Why save it for a vacation day? Why not once a week? Just a thought.

So I'll be spending some time in habit pulling away from the screens from time to time, and shut it down, go offline, reboot, and (insert another lame techie adjective here) to reconnect with the things that are truly important. Join me. Just don't update your progress on Facebook to tell everyone how it's going.

So now, as Merlin would say, get out of here and go make something good.

Note: Yes, the UUK Staff acknowledges that the views & opinions expressed in this post do not reflect, and in fact fly completely in the face of, any and all previous content on this site. We're okay with that. Hope you are, too. Carry on then...


Jason Womack said...

You don't form habits forcing yourself to do something. You form habits by spending quality time performing those actions you wish to become habits. A subtle but powerful thought right there.

For a long time now, I've thought that it's not the time IN the habit, but number of repetitions I can get in during a specific period of time.

Next month, I'm going to actually pay for the swim classes that I generally "join" every few weeks (months???). I figure, if I pay, it will get me to go...3 times a week, 4 weeks in a row...that's times OF the habit.

We'll see what happens!

J.B. Dixon said...

I like that repetition concept. How else can something become habitual without repetition?

Good stuff...and also nice to know that your set-up is such that the mere linking of your site will get your attention.....and insights, possibly. ;) Thanks.

Good luck with the training. Keep kicking ass!