Computer Time – Tip #58
There is no arguing that computers and electronics are useful tools. For most of us, we are using electronics of some kind throughout the day to do business, connect with people and check in on what is happening in the world. I am old enough to remember when the internet was introduced and we were doing this fabulous thing called “email” that saved me the hassle of buying a stamp and getting the letter to the mailbox – not to mention how quick it was! Now, jumping ahead over 20 years I use it for almost everything and when there is a power failure I tend to miss my computer/electronics more than having light or a working fridge.
I believe that the downside to all of our technological advancements is that it is replacing the face to face communication which in turn can leave us feeling alone or isolated and not even realize it. Being able to see or hear people is important and often devalued by many (including myself at times). About 6 months ago I couldn’t seem to carve out the time to actually get together with people in person – at least that is what I thought. It is definitely easier to text, email or get onto Facebook than take the time to have the more personal and meaningful interaction with others especially when you are already feeling overwhelmed and sleep deprived. I started taking a good look at my schedule and the time I was “saving” by connecting over the internet or by texting and started to take my own advice. I committed to being off the computer by 6pm and to spending time with my kids in the evenings (at least until they were tucked up in bed), I started plugging in my phone and putting it out of sight, I told colleagues that if there were work emergencies to call my home line, I made a promise to myself to meet up with friends once every month, I stopped taking out my phone when I was walking the dog and deleted a bunch of games on my phone that I played mindlessly. I am not saying I am perfect but I am now more aware of the world around me and am part of the Look Up movement (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7dLU6fk9QY). I also discovered that I had more time than I thought. I really had no sense of how much of my valuable time was being put into the world wide web rather than where I needed it to be.
While I am not saying completely ditch technology (I would never survive), I am saying that there needs to be a balance and I think many of us struggle with that. I still play some games while watching TV with my family or friends (sometimes the shows are scary and I just need a distraction and sometimes they just aren’t interesting enough!). We need time to disconnect from electronics and reconnect with the people that make us laugh, love us and understand us even when we don’t always understand ourselves. The bottom line is that military life can be exhausting, life consuming and frustrating on a good day but I just don’t think that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are going to support and energize you the way being with or talking on the phone to a humanbeing can. Take up the challenge – disconnect more from electronics and spend more time with people face to face. I haven’t regretted a moment of the time I have stepped away from my cell phone or computer but definitely regret it when I spend excessive amounts of my time on my phone or computer!
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Filed under: Living My Own Advice, Military Family Support - Tips from the 101 Tips books, Re-integration Tips | Tagged: cell phone, computer time, computers, disconnecting, face to face, family, military, military life, time |