A Less Digital Life {Intro}


I saw it all in the matter of a week, a woman walking her Yorkie, a teen with his boxers hanging out as he pedaled his bike through town, a business man racing his Porsche through a roundabout…and every one of them looking down, each enlisting at least one hand and both eyes to rattle out some kind of message on smart phone while the real world blurred around them. Thankfully, no one crashed into anything in the process.

On my birthday this summer, I made a quick list of the happy things that make up my everyday dream life. I jotted down things like daily writing and reflection, reading with my husband, a clean house, a flourishing edible garden, farmers’ markets, being kind, patient, playful and generally attentive with the kids, daily family devotions and Scripture memory, making music, taking in art, rubbing shoulders with mover/shaker creatives, vulnerable and honest friendships, hiking, cycling and exploring outdoors…and hot tea for good measure. Somehow “more time on electronic devices” didn’t make the list.

When I laid my eyes on the three ring circus of dog walker, bike rider and Porsche driver, I saw our culture in its underpants, the absurdity of it all. But then there’s me acting a slave to the gadgets myself, frittering away precious moments and potential productivity that could be put toward daily tasks and creative projects when I instead go on autopilot checking texts, emails, newsfeeds, and getting lost in the Internet. My commitment to media leaves so little room for the things that make up my dream life.

I’d like to spend the next month thinking on this, exploring the benefits and drawbacks of the digital life and finding ways to live more authentically and tangibly in this virtual age.

I’ll be writing shorter posts to allow both of us, reader and writer, to spend more time with the real people and things around us. Scratch that–I can’t seem to write a post under 900 words. ;) In each post, I hope to offer a creative idea for something to do instead of plugging into the matrix that moment. This isn’t to say that we won’t plug in at all. Technology offers us many wonderful ways to expand our thinking and our relationships (even here!) but I hope that together we can become more observant of our own habits and of the world around us so that we end up using the technology without it abusing us.

What’s your biggest challenge with technology and social media? What elements of your dream life is it clouding?

{I’m linking up with Nester for her annual 31 Days blog get together. Don’t want to miss this series? Be sure to subscribe by entering your email in the box on the homepage sidebar. Find all posts in the series here.}

18 thoughts on “A Less Digital Life {Intro}

  1. Hmm… it’s a tension to even leave a comment! ;) So, I think this is a great idea for a series. Can’t wait to follow along! Also, I loved your last post regarding the sinus swat team that dove in. xoxo

    • Yeah. I really got myself into a pickle using a digital medium for a series about a less digital life, didn’t I? I’m about to slap my hand for typing a reply. ;) Honestly, though, I will feel good about things if I can sanction my online presence to just a few times a day instead of doing little hits every 10 minutes when I should be paying closer attention to the kiddos or the kitchen. Know what I mean?

    • I know you and I are on the same page in this, even all these continents apart (which is one reason I’m glad for the net!). I need to scroll back and find the conversation you and Birgette and I had on Google+ awhile back. Do you remember the name of the futurist/author she mentioned?

  2. Especially being 59 & gray hair, there is the impression that I’m not with “it” or I’d be texting, etc. I’m not really ADHD or OCD but a smart phone (that my husband prefers not to upgrade to but my employment would actually cover the $$ difference since it’s my work phone, also) would only make it more difficult to not be preoccupied. Bottom line, I appreciate so many of the pluses of high tech, but think there’s LOTS/HUGE peer pressure, however subtle, to stay on top of this as a measure of intelligence & being with “it”! And I realize t.v./DVDs, etc., is a bit of a rabbit trail, but as standards changed (words used commonly on the screen that many Christians wouldn’t speak along with moral behavior implied or displayed), I marvel at the time many people take the time to watch (& I got away from over the years, even when I was home, fulltime).

    • You are wise, Maren. No matter what generation we’re from, the technology can be like the ring in Tolkien’s trilogy. I’ve seen too many people turn to putty in its hands. “With it” or not, the addiction/obsession isn’t a good look on anyone.

  3. So true! I resisted getting a smart phone for just this reason. Now that I’ve had one for barely a month, I find myself wondering how I got along without it. The answer: Very well, thank you very much. Without the constant touch of technology – the little unecessary checking and chatting that seeps into our moments – our moments and lives are actually fuller, because they are filled with the tangible and intangible evidences of living.

    • Love what you said: “…the constant touch of technology – the little unecessary checking and chatting that seeps into our moments…” I got my smartphone a year and a half ago, and like Amanda said, it’s been a double-edged sword for me. In a way I love having everything I need in one place–so convenient. In another way, I miss the individual pieces, like my leather bound planner/journal.

  4. Yes yes. I need this, too. I struggle to use social media for connectivity and art but yet not let it suffocate the truest version of both of those things. It’s such a double edged sword, lately cutting the wrong way more often than not. Excited to read along (and missed seeing you at Influence this year!).

    • Amanda! So glad to see your input here. I came at blogging for art’s sake too, to have a place to get back in the practice of writing daily/weekly, so I totally hear you there. And we writers/bloggers grow both in ideas and influence when we interact with the wide variety of like-hearted people that show up in the blogosphere. But then I was so connected that I didn’t want to have to wait to sit at my computer to be able to interact on the blog and social media. In comes the smartphone with lots more productivity when it comes to keeping up with comments and all, but a lot more distraction to boot. I missed seeing you and the others at Influence, too. I tried to carve out some time to get down there to crash the party a bit, but it ended up being a very social weekend around here. I may come again when the baby is done nursing. :)

  5. I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately myself. I’m totally guilty of flittering away too much time on social media. I’m going to be putting some boundaries on that for sure. But at the same time, I feel like my blog is growing and I would like to keep that up. I’ve decided that my phone needs to work for me. I don’t need to work my phone. Does that make sense?

    • Makes sense to me. I think in hard, tedious phases when I can’t even escape to use the bathroom on my own, I’m more likely to check out of my real life in favor of social media.

  6. My current challenge is that in efforts to balance online with real life, I’ve pretty much cut out the consuming. Now, I focus my limited online time on producing (updates, blog posts, etc.), which leaves little, if any, time left for consuming other’s well-written content. You know, reading posts from wonderful writers and friends like you :) I still read lots of books, which I’m happy to make time for, but sometimes I wish I had a little more time to just sit and browse blogs like I used to in the beginning.

    • I feel the same. I really miss reading as much other content as I used to. One friend of mine sets aside one morning a week to read and comment on all of her friends’ blogs and other favorites. I may need to do that so I don’t miss out. I like having everything organized in BlogLovin and I’ve seen a lot of people do Pinterest boards of their favorites as well.

  7. Pingback: Best Moments {A Less Digital Life…Day 31} | Message in a Mason Jar

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