I joke around with my friends and family that I came out of the womb programming a VCR. It’s probably close to the truth, though. I had my first Nintendo at five, and from there on in I was hooked on the burgeoning virtual potential of computers and video games.
But now, faced with a society that’s completely plugged in — where Blackberries, mobile phones, email, stock tickers, and Facebook updates compete for our attention — I’m starting to have second thoughts about investing in my digital self.
My first step out of the digital realm was by getting rid of Facebook. Why? Being a writer with lofty career goals, I was put off by the possibility of not being able to control every aspect of my personal information. Sure, keeping old friends updated is fun and all, but if I haven’t seen them in years, do they really need to know?
Huge privacy concerns popped up just before I closed my account, one website even predicting Facebook could cause privacy Chernobyls — and personal privacy is something I wasn’t willing to compromise for the sake of playing Scrabulous.
The second, more personal change was in committing to write with pen and ink. Yes, like all good hipsters, I use Moleskine notebooks. I’m a writer, after all; I thought that using paper would give my screen-weary eyes a break, would promote unedited thoughts, be completely portable, and be more time-efficient. I was right.
Last but not least, I’m a stickler for language. I feel like a bearded linguistics professor sometimes, but improper spelling when texting drives me insane. I’ve even received messages from Rogers that were written in some sort of short-form crap. Some months I wish they’d just send me a short version of what’s owed.
The notion of unplugging is gaining momentum. People are finally starting to realize that a digital life is wonderful, but much of the technology we voluntarily use isn’t actually needed. I will always scour Internet forums for the latest trends. I’ll keep up on texting jargon. I’ll blog. I’ll use social apps.
But I won’t let technology pry me from what really matters in life: spending time for myself, on my own terms, in my own way. M!
- “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” – Friedrich Nietzsche