I went tech free for a week. That meant no cell phone, no iPod, no laptop, no internet, and no tv for 7 consecutive days. Was it an enlighteningly amazing experience? No. Was it horrendously terrible? No. But I did learn a great deal.
My main reason for basically living on a technologically stranded island was exhaustion. I had just finished the 30 Day Blogging Challenge which really took a toll on my social stamina because it required a lot of using a laptop, being on the internet, and engaging on social media. I’m not much of a social person and although I enjoy social media and the internet I cannot use it day in and day out, exerting my muscular brain, trying to find words to share with the world for an entire month. I suppose if I spent a month privately working on a book or written piece I would have experienced the expected fatigue that comes from using the brain a lot. But doing it online, having daily deadlines, and using social media to promote everything is more than just a mental game, it’s social and my social muscles are complete weenies compared to my Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson mental muscles. Therefore, the break was desperately needed.
However, being the curious person that I am, I wanted to take the break a little further. Instead of deciding to get off my cell phone and social media for a week, which could be easily done, I thought, lemme challenge myself and see if I can go without all the main pieces of technology I use because not using social media is too easy.
I was right, not using social media for a week was a walk in the park. But my laptop, iPod, and camera… that was where the real challenge lay.
I realise that this is going to be harder than I thought. I rely on technology too heavily.”
– Day 1 Monday 31 July 2017
My iPod is my life. Not only do I use it to listen to music, take pictures and access social media but if I need to check the weather, use a timer or stopwatch, or track my cycle, I use my iPod. You could say that my iPod is the Master Device that is all my beloved devices conveniently packed into one pocket sized masterpiece. I use my laptop almost everyday writing, doing research, watching Netflix, and editing pictures. On trips longer than 3 days I always bring my laptop along because I never know when I’ll be struck by inspiration to write or have free time to watch a movie so it’s always on standby. My camera helps me capture and immortalize the beauty of life from my perspective. Moreover… food! If I don’t photograph my food did I even make it? Did I even make that delicious pasta dish or those epic cookies? No. The answer is no. It’s like Instagram; if you don’t take a picture it never happened.
The Internet is the reason for all social media’s existence. Not only that, but the internet, Google in particular, has changed the way in which we find and access any and all information. Can you imagine hopping into a car, train, bus, or taxi to run to the library in search of an encyclopedia so you can find out that the mitochondrion is the powerhouse of the cell or that the unicorn is the national animal of Scotland? Imagine the stress and admin you have to go through. However, today, any information you could possibly dream of is only a click away. How incredible is the internet, my friends!?
These four technological advances were the hardest things to live without during the week because they were the most difficult to replace. Yes, by not watching series and youtube videos I could read. But how could I replace taking pictures of my food or swiftly finding particular information? That was the real challenge and by the end of the week, I could not wait to be able to do those things again because my life was dull without them. They left a gap that I could only manage to fill with books and my own thoughts.
… I miss my devices. Life isn’t fun without them. Maybe I don’t need my phone but I miss listening to music. I miss being able to easily find whatever information I want using Google. I miss living my gawddamn life with the internet!
-Day 4 Thursday 3 August 2017
But oh, the most challenging thing about this week was my lack of music. I knew that music was going to be hard to give up but I did not realise how much it actually affects the quality of my life. Listening to music is like having your own personal theme song playing for your life. It gets you pumped to work out (not that I did any working out that week), relaxes you with laid back tunes, and creates the perfect ambiance when played in the background. If life was in black and white, playing music would transform it into colour. By the time Day 7 finally rolled by, I could not take it anymore, I needed to listen to music. So I asked my brother to put some tunes onto a memory stick and I played it through this radio like contraption that I don’t even know what to call. Was it some sort of boombox perhaps? I don’t know. My brother said I was cheating but I like to think I found a loophole in the whole agreement and my good lawd, was it the sweetest relief to my soul.
Life has been K.A.K without music. Lowkey depressing. A thousand times boring. Just fvcking sad, tbh and I can’t deal anymore. I need music in my life. I need it.
-Day 7 Sunday 6 August 2017
By the end of the week, I had found that if I must, I can survive without my phone, the internet, my laptop, my camera, and my iPod but I cannot live without music.
But hey, the week wasn’t all depressing silence and dread. I read more than I ever have in about a year. I meditated daily and due to the books I read, I thoroughly worked on my personal growth. “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero is particularly inspiring and helpful and I would absolutely recommend you read it. If you want to start living your best life, then read that book! Focussing on myself in that manner was exactly what I needed after working and blogging every day. I felt as if I had lost myself during my month of blogging and working because I literally had no time to sit down in silence and be present but during this week that was all I ever did.
With that, however, I realised the most important lesson: balance. It’s all about having balance. I find that most people see technology as such a destructive concept because most people abuse it. If you’re spending 12 hours a day binge watching movies or spending more time on your phone than you do with your friends or family then yes, you need to relax. The reason why the youths of today are hated by older generations so much is because like it or not, we abuse technology to the point that we don’t know how to function without it. I mean, how do you react when your phone dies in public? You have no access to a charger but you are desperate to find one. You start freaking out, start stressing, you have a mini-crisis. You may not visibly show it but in your head you’re thinking, oh shit! What now?
The thing is, that shouldn’t be happening. When your phone dies or you find out that you’re going to be at a lodge for a week with no reception you should not be fazed by it. But with the use and abuse of technology, we’ve forgotten how to exist without it. When was the last time you just sat your self down with no distractions and just breathed? Taken in the moment. Listened to the noise of the birds doing birdy things and the cars passing you by. Appreciated the fact that you’re here in this great ginormous universe in a place with a climate perfect for you to live your best life in. Being without technology taught me how to do that again. It taught me how to be in the moment. To have peace without a screen to distract me. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
But, and this is a big but, you need to have balance. I don’t think I would ever recommend anyone be as extreme as I was with this challenge. Like I said, there are myriad reasons as to why technology is useful but I feel that there is a time and a place for it. If you’re in the middle of exams then I would definitely recommend you switch off your phone for that time and not watch tv but I would never recommend you get rid of all pieces of tech unless you want to find your inner mindful monk like I did. Nonetheless, music is good for the soul and I honestly wouldn’t let you go more than 5 days without it but that’s just me.
Take a break from the hustle, bustle, high energy, super distracting effects of the technology we use today. Just two hours. That’s enough.
-Day 4 Thursday 3 August 2017
To conclude, would I ever do this again? Yes and no. I can and probably will give up my phone, social media, and my laptop for a while if I ever find myself “getting lost in the säuce” of technology again, however, I will not give up my music or the internet for too long. From now on I would love to take at least 2 hours each day to not use any technology and relax, center myself, meditate, read, and check in on my mental and emotional health. There will be days where it won’t be possible to do that but I want to consciously try because even though technology isn’t evil, it can be destructive when abused.