People often refer to me as someone who is positive all the time. I would describe myself more as someone who always consciously pays attention to the beauty and good that surround me, yet I love and admit that my perspective manifests itself that way. Really, achieving overall bliss for me was a concerted, yet simple effort, gets better with practice and was recently enhanced by an AHA moment. While sitting poolside reading a book in Florida for the first time in some years, I placed it upside down on my belly between chapters, and reflected. It felt so good to be still with a friend next to me, sharing the evening breeze whispering through the palms and drifting back and forth between reading and quiet conversation. Minus our phones, I was reminded of how fulfilling my days were before the interruptions of devices or the urge to utilize, consult or rely on them. It had only been six short years since it started with the purchase of my cell phone. It occurred to me just how swiftly and intensely that technology, along with the accompanying social media, had driven my life into fast forward. Lounging there, I longed for this fast-paced madness to stop.
When I returned home, I hit the “Stop” button on the tape recorder of my life by deleting my Facebook account with a polite goodbye to my virtual “friends.” In an instant I felt as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I found myself propelled back into my own quiet reality; blessedly alone. Although I couldn’t recoup the time lost from the looking, scrolling, commenting, judging and comparing, I could get my life back by settling back into “Play” mode. Now that I’ve slowed back down again, I am able to take in and appreciate all that truly exists around and in front of me. It’s hard to describe, but it’s like the world stopped screaming at me. Distractions removed, I read books, schedule face to face (not screen) time with my friends and family, keenly aware of and celebrating their physical presence and aliveness, just as I used to. No more drama. Period. My alone time is spent writing on my lanai, and reserving my computer use to typing and sharing my words on my blog.
It is only here in the post-Facebook state that I fully realize how phone/computer- controlled my life had become in such a short period of time. Being so connected to everyone and everything took me far away from my spirit, my true self, my independence. Now that my thoughts are my own again, I’ve reintroduced some activities into my life that have brought me joy since childhood. One of my favorites is the Sunday drive. Either alone or with a friend, I road trip over wide open hilly swerving roads passing corn and wheat fields dotted with red barns and Amish farmers. I get lost in the country sometimes with no particular destination, but enjoy a spectacular view of the clouds and sun, and always manage to find my way back home. I also handwrite more letters and notes and surprise people with kind words through snail mail. Doing so touches my heart and brings me back to me. It is such things that did and do make me happy. I feel renewed in returning to these and so much else that brought me joy before I became lost in the digital age.
I simply did not belong there.