Last night, as I was drifting off to sleep, I had a really frightening thought. Let me set the scene a bit first. I was snuggled up in bed, reading. Right before picking up my book, I used my phone to check emails, Facebook and tomorrow's weather. Then, after reading, as a last activity before drifting off, I shut off the light and checked Facebook updates. I often can be seen hunkered down under the covers, hand, claw-like gripping the phone, blue glow on my face from the tiny screen.
Anyhow, this time, the question I posed myself was ridiculous. Of course I knew the answer, but I it literally panicked me to think about it. I asked myself to consider what if I was forced to choose between having a cell phone, having MY Droid Pro and my kids. Of course I would choose my kids!! What if I had to choose between Facebook and my kids. Again, of course, I would choose my kids. Computer, kids? Kids!
It wasn't that I didn't know the answer, but the panic I felt at the prospect of losing any of my connectivity. My gut reaction tells me this addiction I have to technology is serious. I decided to put this question in an imaginary jar on an imaginary shelf with other thoughts to be considered later. I pulled it down this morning and started this blog. In the light of morning, the thought is not threatening anymore, but it is still an interesting one to consider. I asked myself, why does it panic me so to think about losing this connectivity? And, how could I lessen this addiction?
The first question is pretty obvious as to why. Many of friends exist only in an online world. For a long time, I lived with a man who wasn't into socializing and suffered from depression. I cultivated online relationships as a way of connecting with the world around me. I have even met some of these people in person and found the friendships to be as true in person as they were in the virtuality of my computer screen.
As to how to lessen this attachment, that's a harder question to consider. The first thing that springs to mind is to cultivate more in-person friendships, but sometimes I just don't have time for in-person...I only have time for a five second status update and then the stream of responses that come in - conversations held over a day long period of time, instead of intensely over a lunch or dinner.
My second thought is to impose some time constraints on my usage. Do I need a timer to set? Should I turn off my phone at night when I get home so I can focus on time with my kids? Should I not use my computer until they kiddos are in bed? Probably. I think there are a lot of changes I can make on this front and today, with the opening of an imaginary jar, many ideas, like lightining bugs are buzzing around me.