I just ended a 48 hour tech detox experiment. Friday evening I decided, spur of the moment, to go 24 hours without using a computer, iPad or iPhone except as a sparsely used cell phone. Then I stretched it to 48. No email, no Twitter or Facebook, no Google or blogs of TED Talks. Not even groovy mixes on iPod.
Fasting has always been a powerful, spiritual practice for me. A way for me to tune into my iner knowing through sacrifice. I don’t quite know why or how it works, but it does. It helps me reflect deeply, and get quiet with inner spirit.
I realize for many friends and family, this no internet thing would be no big deal. My Dad, for example, might equate this accomlishment to giving up spinach for a weekend. The mushy canned kind. But one thing I learned (confirmed) quickly is that I’m a serious information addict. No joke.
One of my more interesting experiments as of late. I literally went through stages of withdrawl, both physical, mental and emotional. Didn’t expect that at all. I thought it would be a peaceful muse, taking my mind off all those emails. But instead, my mind was constantly wanting to check my inbox and the latest tweets. I couldn’t trick that computer up in my head into forgetting about what I might be missing.
This experiment made me sad. But also glad about my discovery, and hopeful that it jolted me enough to work on changing my always-on habits. It’s not the first time I’ve gone a day or more without checking email, but banning myself form any internet at all was jumping off a cliff. The great part, though, was my ability to not have a to-do list for a while. To unplug and just be with my kids. Not just be in the same room with them while messing with some connected device, but truly being there with and for them.
I’m reminded of the yin and yang duality of all things. Internet and communications technology have connected us as humans in ways our parents never imagined was possible; created new kinds of relationships that are real. And at the same time it is destroying the fabric of communication and relationship that is natural to us. We’re bowling alone, but tweeting every frame. Not sure what this means for us.