I was reading this article in the New York Times this morning about the way our brains have adapted (or tried to adapt) to the new technologies in our lives, and it was disheartening. I despise technology--there, I said it. I despise social networking sites, I despise all-in-one gadgets, I despise video games, and I have a very love/hate relationship with my easy access to information. I don't hate the fact that I can read the NYT online, but it turns me into a clicking machine and I don't absorb as much as I might if I were interacting with a physical newspaper over a cup of coffee in the morning. This is probably because I am usually multi-tasking: work on one screen, news on the other. I use it as a kind of brain exercise to keep my mind intellectually engaged while I perform monotonous tasks for the sake of a paycheck. And I can't help but think, This is not the life I want. This is not the world I want to live in.
It's difficult to find a balance. But more and more I'm discovering that I don't want to balance. I just don't even care anymore. I want to bend my mind around information the old-fashioned way--by reading books (with actual pages) and having discussions with real people, face-to-face (instead of through g chat or text messaging). My life was so much more full when I lived in the world, when I trained my eyes on my environment, rather than some sort of screen. I honestly believe that my parents are still happy after twenty-five years of marriage because they only have dial-up internet, a land-line phone, and (ok, now, satellite TV--but they didn't until I was in middle school!).
And, more and more, as I am subjected to the constant stream of information and inspiration and the side-effects (anxiety, envy, insufficiency) of that over-stimulation, I just want to escape the world of technology so that I can experience and appreciate the world of reality. My dream life: take a trip around the world, then settle in a remote location by the ocean (or a lake, if I must) and just live. I know I won't be able to settle down until I see as much as it is possible for me to see in the world, so this is my plan:
1. Pay off debt.
2. Save money.
3. Save more money.
It may take a few years, but I am going to make it happen--mark my words! Can that possibly be too much to ask? I don't need to make millions of dollars, I don't need to have piles of stuff, I don't even need to buy fancy designer shoes! All I want is to see the world and live a naturally-stimulating life, surrounded by people I love. The experiences we have and the people we share them with are all that matter in this life--I don't see how two people (who supposedly love each other) can even have a relationship when they spend all of their time tapping away at individual ipads over breakfast or texting their friends during a dinner date (if you want to talk to someone other than who you're with--do it! Stop passive-aggressively nancying around on your cell phone!). I know I don't want that. But maybe that's just me.