Put down the iPad and back away slowly

 

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Last night was an unplanned experiment. For the first time in ages, I came home, glanced at my oh-so-smarter-than-I-am phone to check on the time, and, here’s the weird part, didn’t touch another WiFi-enabled device for the rest of the evening.

The realization came slowly. I hadn’t missed it. I mean, I usually come home from work and go right to the iPad, checking everything, round-robin style for hours. Sure, I stop to eat, or even cook sometimes. I have conversations with my family, and pet my dogs. But the iPad is always nearby, on my lap, or (dangerously) far away on the coffee table. I sense it there, waiting for me with its Words With Friends and Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest, and that confounded Candy Crush crap I swore I wouldn’t play (I’m on level 80).

The iPad calls to me, and I’m not just being metaphorical. The damn thing beeps, rings, pings, and cajoles me pretty much constantly. But I hadn’t even noticed it was missing until my husband pointed it out sometime well after dinner, and he seemed as surprised and happy as I was. Then he stuck his iPhone in the charger and left it there, and made us some delicious strawberry mojitos.

I couldn’t really figure out how or why this thing happened. Yesterday morning seemed normal, but I just left it upstairs where it sleeps beside me, plugged in and recharging for another fine evening of the same thing. I thought about it for a few seconds, looked over at it, almost walked over, but thought, nah. I didn’t need it. I work on a computer all day, and sometimes I write at night, and I’m surrounded by technology. But lately I see more clearly that I’m also surrounded by living things (yes, including my family). I’ve been spending more time on the deck, or in the garden, or feeding the birds. And I don’t take the iPad out there if I can help it. The outdoors has this effect of helping me just be still. I think it may just be leaking into the rest of life too.

So last night passed quietly, much the same as usual, but I was actually there, present in my own life, not pulled in all those directions and feeling obligated to select Like, or play a word, or come up with something clever in 140 words or less. And, it turns out my life is nice, very nice! A very good place to visit. In fact, I think I’d like to live there.


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