September 04, 2022
Connecting the dots
We can not always be on. We can not live in “fight or flight” mode 24/7. There will be casualties, these casualties we may or may not recognise in the moment, we may have become numb to them. They will sit there, they will not go away. Quite the opposite, they will fester and they will always find a way around our numbing, hard though we try.
Modern tech may as well have “Sympathetic” as its middle name (oh the irony) and as if we needed anything to compound the impact or just outright turbo charge it and our grind, Covid 19 rocked up to the party at the start of 2020…or the end of 2019 depending on which state of denial you live in.
Every waking hour we sat and we waited for red bubbles to light up on our smart phones with further news of boarder closures and in simple terms bad news that took us further into the unknown than we had ever been before, we became thirsty for more, we somehow buzzed of this state, we joined zoom meet ups that further loaded us up with speculation and sent us into more free fall with everything we were consuming being totally out of our control.
Some said weeks, others said months and probably the ones proving right are those that declared the impact would last years. Will we ever know? What we do have more data on is the time it takes us to build habits. 21 days, 3 months, 6 months are common benchmarks. Some lock-downs ticked all there of these time frames for us without a single day off. Ouuufff.
“Out of office” the final thing one would do before taking a break from work. The satisfaction level of switching that function on and powering down your “desktop” (guess my age) for what was always considered a well earned rest was always high. Gone are the days! Well and truly gone as the “always reachable” era someone arrived without an official announcement.
Since these advances of tech and the fast forward button of COVID it has been seemingly impossible to not be “on”, not be contactable and not have what is supposed to be your recharge time without interruptions. Is this right? Is this the way it should be or are there work arounds and ways to cut the bond with the sympathetic nervous system and just hop over to its more favorable sibling…the parasympathetic for that old school “rest and digest.”
The variables are vast and depending on how addicted you are you will always be able to sell yourself your own argument. We are all on a journey, some will be more aware, for others none of this will make any sense. Don’t judge yourself. It will not judge you either, I am just here trying to connect the dots for me and maybe for you.
On the eve of my current trip I switched on my out of office, closed my laptop and put it away. Not to be seen for the week I was gone. I removed WhatsApp from the home screen of my phone, the same with any other frequently used work and or pleasure apps such as Instagram that I felt it would be good to be without. Not seeing these apps on your phones screen has been rumored to go some way to breaking the habit of checking them every 0.097 seconds. I have a second number on my phone just for my family which also feeds a separate WhatsApp account so they can still reach me. I messaged two people from that number and told them that if anything was urgent this was where they could find me. They both replied saying there would be nothing! There wasn’t….
My kindle as always was at the ready. I bought a Sudoku book at the airport. A game I had massively enjoyed maybe 10 years back but had subconsciously quit at the hands of technology. I very quickly started writing notes on the spare space in my Sudoku book which highlighted my need for a fresh notebook which I duly found after a far harder hunt than I thought would present itself.
When ideas came into my mind I wrote them down (much like this piece, many shorter, ha) when I had questions I would normally google or WhatsApp someone for an answer to I wrote it down instead, thought about it, tried to figure out out, doodled, used my brain not someone else’s. It felt alien at first but quickly started to feel somehow liberating you could say. As irony would have it Holly told me often how bad the hotel WiFi was. I smiled with no care in the world.
Time, it’s given me time, to think, to write, to relax, to slowdown, to look into space and day dream or just ponder a thought that could have started anywhere, in my book, that came to me during Sudoku or the interesting humans we share the planet with that I got time to listen to and look at. I am at peace, I have not wanted to pick my phone up, to use the apps that for right or wrong consume a large part of my daily life. I also am (at the time of writing) incredibly relaxed and slightly excited about going “back to work” as I have actually had a break which is not always the case.
As I sit here wrapping this up around the hotel pool all I see is couples sat next to each other glued to devices, not talking, not connecting. As I mentioned earlier it is not for me to judge and perhaps they are just busy getting irate about the poor wifi.
My dots are not all connected, I doubt they ever will be, but I am making and attempt to pen some of the lines in. To continue to figure what way works best for me on the journey that I am on. I hope you also make some time and space at some stage to do the same, it’s pretty cool.