I have gradually become addicted to entertainment and communication technology. It started a couple years ago with a little TV to unwind after work. Since I started living in the middle of nowhere, it has grown into Netflix and blogs and Facebook galore, trying to find ways to connect. I no longer think, as I once did, that these technologies are inherently bad. I have seen how wonderful it is to catch up with old friends on Facebook, or to share real stories via social media, or to relax with a glass of wine and a comedy.
But as I was driving home the other night at twilight, with the windows rolled down, watching thousands of fireflies twinkle in the lush grass, I felt I was tapping into some beauty that I've been missing. I am tired of living in the numbness that I've made for myself. I feel like I can only concentrate in 3-minutes segments. I find my favorite books, and the Bible, boring. My thoughts are sometimes fuzzy and unable to be separated from the cacophony of images and voices in my mind. As I'm doing something enjoyable or clever or ironic, I find myself thinking in 150 word blurbs, thinking how I would present my experience to the world via Facebook or my blog.
I want to take a break. So I am going to attempt to remove myself for an experimental period, from most entertainment and communication technologies: mainly Facebook, articles and blogs (including this one; I need to take some time to write just for myself again), and television. Debating about the Orioles games, but following them online is lame anyway so I think I'll just get the scores from my brother! I will attempt this with some degree of grace and reason, in order to avoid the legalism and asceticism that I have so often tried unsuccessfully. I am planning to do a 7-day backpacking trip in August, and when I return from that I will reflect on the experience and may come back to the blog and Facebook.
I wish it didn't feel so radical to half-unplug for 6 weeks (after all I'll still be on email, phone, google maps, etc). I know this is going to be difficult. I'm so accustomed to coming home from work, getting myself a bowl of ice cream, and flipping on the computer in order to read blogs or watch something. But I'm ready for this to be hard. I'm ready for a challenge. I'm hoping this time will give me a chance to reflect, to learn again how to pray, and listen, and process, and hurt, and be bored, and sleep, and wake, and go on walks, and sigh contently. To live my own life and think my own thoughts. I'll let you know...