I remember back in the 90’s, the phrase used for the internet was “World Wide Web.” When you think of the word “web” what comes to mind? A spider’s web? Perhaps something sticky? If you get stuck to something sticky, when you try to pull away what happens? You get pulled back right? Yup, even though we now refer to “it” as the internet or the act of being online, its still a big blob of stickiness. Once your in, its almost impossible to get out.
Last week, I spent 7 days on a Disney cruise. Even though wifi was offered, I chose to be released from the sticky web. Something amazing happened, I enjoyed being fully human.
I stopped reaching for my phone at the every thought to check or share an email, idea, or picture. At first, the thoughts flooded my mind. But because I knew I was disconnected, I didn’t act on the thought to reach for my phone. Eventually, the thoughts went away. This is when I knew I was finally free. No more was my mind flooded with “hey you should check your email?” or “you should text that out” and “take a picture and send that to so and so, they’ll get a kick out of it!” My mind was finally free to focus and enjoy a single stream of thought. More importantly, I was able to enjoy uninterrupted time (mind and body) with others.
You know what is even more amazing that I realize now a few days later? I have solid memories of the entire trip. Maybe one day, someone will research and write about how digital memory has replaced human memory. I hope not. Yikes!
Now that I am back, I am maintaining the habit of scheduling use of technology. I am leaving it out of moments where I need to think, read, and more importantly create memories with those around me. I plan on scheduling routine “off the web” retreat days in my life to help sustain the balance.
The internet is a major part of our lives. But it doesn’t have to be a very sticky web. There is a time and place for engagement with technology vs engagement with other people. Our memories and our relationships are more significant than our technology. Let us all make it a priority to creating the best memories of each other through real life human engagement.