Yesteryear

3 04 2010

I feel immensely grateful
to have grown up in a different age
than the one I’m currently in.

I’m just glad to know the difference
between traveling with
and without computers,
and how to make plans
without a cell phone back up.

However,
I must admit
that the internet is a key theme of our life
both because it’s our link to home
and because it’s there
there
always right there
just a click away.

As our homeward bound nears,
we’ve started getting job listings
and house listings,
and it’s tempting to spend day after day
looking at each one,
Sunny analyzing the kitchen in each picture.
We get excited,
and then spend way too much time
trying to coordinate our next employment
over Skype.

There is a sticker on Sunny’s computer
that reads
“Live In The Present.”

An interesting slogan
for a machine
that helps us live in
nowhere land;
the land of status updates,
future plans,
and imaginary lives
of walking our new dog
around Jamaica Pond,
which is only a
hop, skip, and a jump
from our little yard,
our fancy kitchen,
and our
“keep your fingers crossed”
garage.

But maybe because of that sticker,
we have instituted something
that I hope becomes
a permanent fixture in our life.

We call it
NES
No Electronic Sundays
(though because it’s an “S”,
you can also make it Saturdays.
You see, it’s not only smart,
it’s also quite flexible.)

For one whole day each week,
we don’t touch any electronic,
and I have to say,
while some of you may think it’s basic and easy,
it’s surprisingly difficult.
It also feels fantastic.

Not only because it makes me realize
how very dependent
and automatic
checking email
and nytimes.com
and a dozen of so other sites
has become,
and how unimportant
it really is.

It’s also a reminder
of what it felt like
to live in a world
where there was no internet.

Life slows down.

On NES days,
we might play a few more backgammon games,
or take a longer walk.
But really, we do nothing different.
We just don’t know anything
but that what is right before us.

I picture myself in ten years time,
giving NES seminars to people in their early twenties
who can’t even picture life without
email
internet
cell phones
Skype
and the like.

I already feel pity for these folks,
though perhaps they’ll pay me
to teach them a few things
about how to make life feel more present
by making the virtual less.

Until then,
and despite the fact that this is a web-log,
I’ll start by sharing our strategy with you,
in case you’re interested in joining us
as we try
to really
in reality
like in real time
3-D
live in the present
or rather
live in the olden days
of 1995.

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3 responses

6 04 2010
Stefan

love it. our rule we sometimes keep is to make tonight offline, if last night was on. definitely worth it. add kids to the mix and watch how mania flares when you try to multi-task. also reminds me again of this GREAT globe piece on all we lose when there is no downtime, no place for boredom left in our lives. because since the dawn of time so much creative flash, and living, and meaning comes on the far side of dull dull dull, and not from constant half attention. here’s the dadtoday link http://dadtoday.blogspot.com/2008/04/finding-me-in-microboredom.html

7 04 2010
Nancy Fulton

Hooray! How did you guys get to be so smart?!

David and I surely remember what life was like in “the olden days.” It was slower, felt more relaxed, and there was a necessary break from work mode. Now we feel guilty if we stop because there is always more to do, and you can easily get to it.

Here’s to you setting your limits and finding balance!
Congratulations!!!

12 04 2010
Kyle Glossy

Well said my friend.

It is hard to remember a time without being constantly connected – or at least having the option to be.

I remember feeling immense pride about NOT having a cell phone when everyone else did. Then I was in Seattle for work in Sept ’01 and quickly decided I should get a cell phone.

Now I am way too dependent on my cell phone (mini-computer really) and find myself being “That Guy”, which I tried to avoid being for so long…

Ah, the blessings and curses of modern technology.

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