Why can’t we disconnect?

Sitting here at 9:30 p.m staring at my computer for the last hour straight made me begin to think. I spent eight hours at work today staring at a computer screen and after an hour-long break at the gym, I came home to what? Opening my computer. Of course this time it wasn’t for work purposes, but for my own personal getaway into the interwebs of my social existence. Sad huh? The first thing I HAVE to do when I get home is check my email, check my Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn etc, hit up a few news sites and THEN maybe I’m good to eat dinner…which I usually eat while surfing the web. Why can’t I – or the rest of the free world for that matter – stop?

This morning when I left my apartment complex, I saw a guy about my age walking his dog around the complex. You want to know the first thing I noticed (besides the fact that he was decently attractive!)? I didn’t see any kind of cell phone or technology on him. I feel like it’s pretty common these days to always see someone with their neck down scanning their text messages while Fido pulls them along, just enjoying being outside. Granted this guy probably didn’t have much communication to respond to being 8 a.m., but still, it was nice to see someone just walking their dog, for no other purpose but to get some exercise.

I could say the same thing about this past Saturday. It was a beautiful day here in Atlanta, high of 72 and completely sunny, not a cloud in the sky. Even in Georgia, that’s pretty good for February. I live 15 minutes from Piedmont Park, the park that sits in midtown Atlanta. It took me an hour to get there with a friend since everyone and their brother, it seemed, had the same idea. Once we reached the park, you could barely see the grass there were so many people. Walking their dogs, running, playing frisbee. Again, the thought popped into my head – “It’s so nice to see people genuinely enjoying nature and going back to what is our primal instinct to be with each other.”

So clearly, we CAN disconnect. But the fact that these thoughts about how, for once, someone could be disconnected from technology came to me raises a red flag. I was once told that scientists think humans that come after us (and I mean a long time after us) will be born with their necks curved downwards and thumbs bent, which stems from our habit to constantly be looking, texting, emailing and dialing at some form of technology in our hands.

I love this technology, don’t get me wrong, it’s what I spend my day at work for and it encompasses so much of my personal life, but I think maybe we should be the guy walking his dog once in a while. And hey, maybe more than once in a while. Will I follow my own advice? Maybe not. But I sure would like to try.


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