Archive for August, 2012

What About Bob?

Where were we? Oh yes, I was just talking about taking a vacation from technology, and you were saying, “Well, that stuff’s not very important anyway. You shouldn’t let it tie you down.”

That’s easy for you to say. I believe that there are two levels of importantness:

  1. There are those things which we all need to survive (e.g., food, shelter, money to buy the food and pay for the shelter, etc.).
  2. There are also those things which are more subjective, depending upon your career or passion.

I think we can all agree on the first one, so let’s skip to the second one.

If you’re a photographer, then maybe it’s important for you to be up at 6am so that you can catch that perfect shot of the sunrise that you need for your photo album. Maybe this isn’t your career, but it is a hobby that you are passionate about. if so, then it’s important to you. Me? I’ll be sleeping in, thank you very much.

I believe that it’s easy for us to take these more subjective things for granted. If something isn’t important to me, then it’s simply not important. We don’t stop to think that it might be important to the other person.

Here’s a personal example. It’s important to me to make it to the comic book store on Wednesday evening because that’s the day new comic books come out. It’s also important to me to have time to read those comics between now and next Wednesday because I’ll then have more new comics to read. If you’re not into comics, then you may laugh me off or deride me if I told you that I’d be late to something on a Wednesday because I had to stop by the comic book store first. Sure, I could easily go on Thursday or Friday, but I like going on Wednesdays. It’s important to me. I’ve shopped at the same store for roughly 10 years, so I have a camaraderie with the employees and some of the customers.

I have to make time to read them too. If I don’t, they’ll simply continue to pile up, and what’s the point of buying them if I’m not going to have time to read them? But I digress a little…

Back to technology and vacation… It’s tough to imagine going somewhere and not checking in on Foursquare. On more than one occasion, I’ve actually gone back through my Foursquare history to remember when I visited a particular place. Sometimes that’s just for me. Other time, I’ll share it in other places too. I’ve mentioned before that I enjoy reading on Facebook what my friends are doing, and I assume they enjoy reading that about others too. I’ve also mentioned before, that I like being a positive example for single people by showing that you don’t have to have a partner in order to be active. This is important to me.

Not to mention that I will also use the GPS on my phone to navigate and figure out where I’m going so that I don’t get lost. So how do I take a vacation from technology when I depend upon it for nostalgia (pictures, check-in history), directions, or to share with others? It seems like the answer would be to stay in one spot and spend the time catching up on my book reading. After all, those are important to me too.

[If this post has seemed like mostly incoherent rambling, then I do apologize. However, I did warn you that these would be random thoughts.]

A vacation… from my problems!

Posted: August 18, 2012 in Random
Tags: ,

What About Bob?

We’ve all heard someone make the comment about there not being enough hours in the day. It’s true. There’s so much to do whether they are things we need to do or want to do that it’s almost impossible to do them all.  I feel like I’m constantly behind with reading articles/magazines/books and watching TV shows/movies/videos that I spend all of my time simply catching up. After all day at work, I have all of these items to clear out of Google Reader. It’s madness.

Of course, there’s no stopping it. The internet has made the flow of creativity and information unstoppable. As I was going to bed late the other nite, I was thinking about how it might be to take a vacation from technology. To simply step away from it all. I came to the conclusion that it would be pretty hard.

It’s crazy to think that merely 15 years ago I didn’t own a computer, and my only portable means of communication was a pager. Now, I have a laptop, tablet, smartphone, internet-connected Blu-ray player, etc. Although it was only 15 years ago, it’s still difficult to imagine how I got by without today’s technology. My smartphone, with all it’s apps, is like a second brain for me. I have reminders and lists and tools to jot things down quickly so that I won’t forget them. I use my laptop and internet connection to stay in touch with friends and family. My phone is my camera. My phone is my travel journal. My tablet is my library. My laptop is my boombox. My phone is my alarm clock.

And that’s why a vacation from technology would be hard. Sure, I’ll go for a few hours or even most of a day without checking my phone or laptop, especially if I’m traveling, but to go for a week?… that might be pushing it. I don’t mean it in the sense of addiction either. (Or maybe I’m just in denial.) But it’s like it’s part of life, part of the culture now. You aren’t even necessarily using it to keep up with others. You could simply be using it to share about yourself.

For some it might be tough to imagine being away from Facebook and knowing what everyone’s doing. (I’m sure most of us have that one person, probably a relative, that we imagine hunched over their computer in a dimly lit room because they’re liking our posts seconds after we post them.) For me, it’s tough to imagine going somewhere and not checking in on Foursquare or snapping a picture, with Instagram or otherwise.

Plus, I know that being away from technology would simply mean that I’d return to more stuff piling up. And this is where we transition into a topic about what’s important, which I’ll save for my next post.

Why are we friends? Chances are it’s because we have something in common. That could be a place, an experience, or an interest.  Whenever you meet two people that have been friends for a very long time, what do you ask? “Hey, how did you guys meet?” That’s because there’s usually a place that you both met at or experience that you both shared, whether or not that was as the result of a common interest.

One of the friends that I’ve had for the longest time and still see on a regular basis doesn’t really have all that much in common with me. We have shared some life experience, tho, and we used to go to the same church, which is how we met. Even though neither of us go to church anymore, we’ve remained friends over the years. Sometimes I question why since we don’t have that much that we agree on, but we enjoy each others company enough.

It’s nice that being thrown into a common environment like work, school, or church can result in making friends. However, just because friends usually have something in common does not mean that having something in common automatically makes you friends.  I think people at work make that mistake. Sure, I’ve made friends at work. But on the other hand, you have to be nice to get along with your coworkers. I doubt that we’d hang out or even speak to one another if we didn’t work together. I think it’s something worth keeping in perspective. It’s fine to be acquaintances.  Just don’t automatically assume friendship.

I also think that once a friendship has taken root, you can meet up with a friend years later and talk as if you’ve known each other all along.  I did that tonite with a friend that I hadn’t seen in almost 12 years. We’ve both changed and moved on with our lives, but we can still talk about the times we shared and enjoy each others’ company as if we saw one another yesterday.