Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Living a Less Connected Life

I almost titled this, "I live a less-wired life," but then I realized that at home, my computers are all connected wirelessly through a super-secure internal network. Regardless, I realize that I am among a dying breed: those who deliberately choose to "turn off and tune out" often.

Here are examples of the less-connected life I lead:

1. While I do have a cell phone, and it came with a feature allowing connectivity to the Internet, I have blocked that feature. I really don't need it, don't use it, and don't want to pay for it. (I know how it works because at one point in my life, I had a Blackberry that was web-enabled. The slight convenience that I had with it wasn't worth paying US$45/month [including taxes] for the data package that supported that feature.)

2. I do not receive text messages nor send text messages. Texting is, to me, something like an Instant Messaging system. There are expectations that if someone sends a text message to me that I should reply quickly. I have other things to do.

3. I do not have an i-phone or i-pad, a Droid, or a whatever-the-latest-gadget is. I don't need or want one. While as a kid, I always loved a new toy, I find as a middle-aged man, I am not that interested. Sure, those things can do a lot of things, but I manage to do what can be done electronically using other resources.

4. I use a computer almost all day for my job. My desire to use more computer resources outside of work isn't there. Last thing I want to do is spend more time on a computer. (Let me make it clear, I only use my work computer for work-related things, and don't fiddle around surfing the 'net, playing with Facebook, etc., while I'm on the clock. My work ethic won't let me do that.)

I did not say that I am completely disconnected. Far from it. I'm just "less connected." I have a traditional desktop computer and a laptop that I travel with. My partner has a desktop computer, too. When we do things on the Internet, we use one of these computers. I update my website, write this blog, check and respond to email, and so forth from home. But I strictly limit my hours on the home computer -- about 1.5 hours/day, at most. Often, less than that.

If someone sends me an email after my dinner hour, I will see it the next morning and reply then. I choose to sign off and shut down the computer before dinner, then prepare our home-cooked meal. After that, I either go to a meeting in the community or stay home and sit with my partner to do what he wants to do (watch TV, read together, play the piano, or relax in our back yard.)

And you know what? The sun rises the next day and the world begins anew. Life goes on, even if one isn't connected to the internet 24/7. It's refreshing, relaxing, and better for the mind.

Life is short: turn off, tune out, and relax.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

James Dalton: I am actually trying to disconnect myself as well, as I am realizing there it is such a liberating feeling. We have become too dependent on technology and lost touch with what is important. I hate that my girlfriend is always face down in her stupid blackberry looking at God he knows what. I think I am going to take your advice and just head out to the mountains this weekend, cell phones off and just enjoy what nature has to offer. James Dalton will be plugging out come July 1st.

(Note from BHD: the original comment was deleted because it included an embedded link from the poster's name to a commercial website. That is a violation of my posting policy. I thought the comment was good, so I reposted it without the link.)