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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

To Conncet, Disconnect or Reconnect....finding our balance.

I recently sent a “rant” email to a good friend…the topic was mobile devices  - where their use is prohibited at a club – a rule that is often ignored. We were specifically discussing the Kindle, which arguably can be considered a book, except that now, the Kindle Fire works like an iPad, - internet, apps and all.  So the fifteen-year-old sitting next to you is most likely not reading Harry Potter. If you allow the Kindle, than all hell breaks loose.
Is this what they call bonding?

The idea is that we go to a private golf course or swimming pool to relax;  most of my friends agree that use of mobile devices can be an annoyance. I find  mobile devices to be equally irritating in restaurants, planes, doctor’s offices and other public spaces.

I really like no cell-phone rules. It is a refreshing escape from the non-stop chatter. My over-stimulated multi-tasking brain needs a break from time to time, and it is certainly no hardship to step outside to take a call or check email if need be.

Don’t get me wrong, I am just as addicted as the next girl, but don’t you find our obsessive attachment to devices a little unsettling?  Like at the dinner table for starters. What happened to conversation? Is it now actually socially acceptable to dine with friends while texting? I recently had lunch with a friend who took a tech-support call for about a half hour during our meal. Huh? Next time that happens, I will get up and leave.

Is being so connected making us disconnected? Tony gently reminds me when he feels that I have become disconnected, and he’s usually right on. You cannot interact at any meaningful level with another person while you are checking your email. Is my cyber-life really that much more compelling than “real-time” with my family? Why do I reach for the iPad the second I open my eyes in the morning?

What concerns me most is that without thoughtful parental guidance, the next generation will miss out on “real-time” relationships, on doing only one thing at a time - like reading a book on vacation, taking a walk in the woods or witnessing the beauty of our environment. They are missing out on lazy summer afternoons swinging in a hammock, on long deep conversations – in person - about the meaning of life. Communication today is in bits and spurts….RU 4 real? BRB….checking Twitter. No wonder so many of our kids are diagnosed with ADHD….who can focus on anything for more than a minute when ten other things are beeping?

Lovely Colette

Still, the technology is awesome. I am in contact now with hundreds of friends…seeing pictures of weddings and grandbabies and hearing music, seeing performances that I’d have never been able to witness.  Recently, I reconnected with of my best and oldest friends.  I’d been hoping (and trying) to find her for 30 years (turns out she’s living in Asia), and last week she just popped up on Face Book! We had an amazing catch-up session on Skype.  She looks, sounds and is wonderful!  It is a HUGE gift for me to have Colette back in my life.

So I guess it’s all about striking a balance. It’s hard to stop eating potato chips, and it’s hard to turn off my iPhone, but I think that inhibiting both these impulses is equally important to my well-being.

Right now, it is a perfectly lovely lazy, sunny Sunday afternoon…I’m gonna take my first summer read* outside, sit under a big tree and soak in the beautifulness.  (BTW – it is a real book, not a Kindle edition. I like how it feels and smells.)  Later, I’d like to take a swim with my husband and throw a ball for my dog.

Signing off now ….all devices shutting down.

 *Check out this book:  “A Beautiful Medicine,” written by my good friend David Mercier. It is a lovely and enlightening work and I am savoring it.  Enjoy!

(Available on Amazon)

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