After our sixteen-day road trip, we resumed our lives of mobile usage. We are human and live in a technology-driven world. However, our little social experiment did leave its mark. We are aware of when, where, and how much we lose ourselves in distraction technology. We make a conscious effort not to over-consume, especially when we spend time with other people. We remind ourselves and each other that other people matter and deserve our focused attention.
What Lies Ahead?
Modern technology is much like a tsunami. Before it hits land, a tsunami pulls the tide back hundreds of feet, far past normal low tide boundaries; and then a series of smaller waves begin to roll in. They build quickly, and then the big wave hits: the nasty one, the one that can wreak havoc on and change landscapes and lives.
In this day and age, I think we are experiencing the small waves. One day, though, the big wave will break, and I’m not sure what that will mean. It feels like technology has us hypnotized, and it’s only going to get worse. We’re becoming more adept at being social online than we are face-to-face.
The tide pulled back in the era of inventions such as radio and television. The year 2007 was the turning point, when the small waves began to build. The iPhone was released, and awe-inspiring computer technology was placed into the palms of our hands. It’s also the same year many companies unleashed social media platforms. Since then, each new wave comes faster and looms larger. I feel the monster wave coming and worry about what shape it will take and what it will do to us all.
Just like in the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, in the end all the humans eventually get snatched. I can hear Donald Sutherland’s creepy scream now.
Results of an Over-technologized World
It is impossible to predict the future scenario. Will people feel more isolated? Does an isolated society lead to more conflict and large wars or increased suicide (which may be happening already)?
More people living through technology than the real world leads to sedentary, unhealthy lifestyles. The less people use the outdoors, the less they’re inclined to protect it. Remember the pile of bicycles on the neighborhood’s front lawns when inside wasn’t an option? I can hear my parents now, “What are you doing in the house? Go play in the yard!”
Taking this trip and recording our experiences helped me become aware of how much I rely on modern technology. More importantly, it allowed me to revisit a time that wasn’t as fast-paced and remember childhood joys like road trips, Hula-Hoops and Tastykakes.
It’s made both Kristy and me try to use technology less in all aspects of our lives, beyond just our smartphones. We try to take the stairs instead of elevators, walk or ride our bikes to destinations within a few blocks instead of driving, pick up a newspaper or old book and sit and read every once in a while, and sometimes even bring that book along to help pass the time waiting in line at the DMV or post office.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to say stop and smell the roses or listen to the birds sing, but if life feels like it’s racing by too fast, you might want to make a few small changes. Sit and be idle. Start a coin collection. Play music. Listen to a song. Cook. Visit your local library. Take a nap in the middle of the day. Take a road trip with paper maps and get away, truly get away. Unplug for a while. And, OK, maybe smell a rose or two.
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