Not me…. for sure, NOT ME!
I come from an era where I was sent next door to borrow a cup of sugar or up the street to pick up something from the store. Most of the time it was for a pack of cigarettes for my mom starting at the age of 10 with a note in hand, granting me permission to buy them.
We talked on the phone, played kick the can, hide and seek, dodgeball, jumped rope etc, all outside. At night We played bingo and Gin Rummy, built forts, played Candyland, Monopoly and drank Coca Cola before we knew it was bad for you.
We watched T.V. but we had to get up to change the channel. We watched things like Donna Read, Dick Van Dike, I love Lucy, The Flintstones and I even watched Jack La Laine before I knew that would become my profession. Or maybe he was the beginning influencer for me since I could relate to his junk food craving addictions.
We had a stereo and played albums. Our favorites were Sergeant Pepper by the Beatles, The Monkeys, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis Presley, The Doobie Brothers, Chicago, The Beach Boys amongst others. We took pictures on a camera, or disposables and got photos back by going to the store to pick them up after they were developed. My favorite was Poloroid pictures for instant gratification. Oh the thousands of photos we still have even though I make a point of purging every so often. Thank God for storage on the computer for that.
We traveled in the car with only a map and a dime to make a phone call in a phone booth, just in case we had an emergency. We pulled the window down if we were lost and asked for directions. We talked to people and we met people at the grocery store, the post office, standing on the street corner if we took the bus or in line waiting for something. There was no online dating, we met happenstance or through a friend of a friend. We wrote in journals and sent notes, postcards and wrote in cursive. We had encyclopedias on our shelf and we looked things up that we wanted to learn. God, I’m sounding ancient.
3 of my 4 kids have a memory book with all of their most treasured papers, report cards, pictures and drawings. My 4th is still waiting for hers. I PROMISE IT’S COMING RENEE!
My kids had limited television time and they played the same way we did; device free, outside, went to camp where they learned how to work a farm, milk the cows, churn butter, ride horses, swim, play horseshoe and cook and set the table. Freshman year was the first time we got a phone for our kids and it was mostly for me because they said I was always late even though I prided myself on being a responsible mom. However with 4 kids under the age of 6 someone inevitably decided to poop, throw up, have a mini tantrum etc and I had to haul them all in the car when someone needed to be somewhere because I couldn’t leave them at home alone. By then, I’m sure it was because I had started back to work inbetween hauling one to a game and the other to dance or some other activity. There were no games on the phone, no texting, no camera. There wasn’t social media to distract them or bullying and comparing themselves online and no worry of seeing child pornography or tapping into sites that were X rated. AIM started in middle school when instant messaging was the big hooray.
Somewhere in grammar school Nintendo, game boy, xbox took front and center and the T.V. Shows got more inappropriate in content. Jurasik Park was the big movie my kids watched which was PG 13. Woo hoo, and then of course all hell broke loose and I was constantly saying put your phone down, turn off the t.v. The shows were out of control in content but it was a losing battle.
I don’t have to tell you what happened next as we’re all living it. Like it or not, we are a product of technology and we must know it to survive in this world but how do we continue to grow and learn when a punch of the button can tell you anything you want to know. In so many ways it has made things easier and better and yet there is always a flip side. One truth is the world will be unrecognizable in the future and we will need to do damage control for sure. You can diagnose yourself over the internet, fix a toilet, learn to make a bomb, build whatever you want, resolve a math problem etc. Sometimes it’s great and other times you may decide to order a medication to treat something only to find out later it wasn’t that at all and you’ve made your situation worse.
The cash register dispels the exact change you should be given and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the wrong change come back even still. No one knows how to count anymore, let alone think. People talk on their phone to the person they are sitting with, or to someone else while the other person is also talking to someone else. And then there are the games that can be played anytime of day.
It’s addictive and studies show the colors of our phones and computers are designed to keep us engaged playing on the part of our addictive brain center where dopamine is released, signaling pleasure. Adds on our newsfeed are constantly bombarding us to buy something. These days all new homes have smart lights and technology and no one I know is smart enough to know how to turn them on or off for that matter. You can heat your house from a distance, and it goes on and on.
I have used technology just enough so that it serves me and I know enough to be dangerous. I do use a scheduling system to make appointments and email of course but in general, it’s not how I want to spend my time. Nor could I help as many clients in a day if I had to do all of this technology. My work is to support people in disengaging from all of these devices that have been bombarding them, through life coaching, personal training, yoga, qigong, tai chi, massage, craniosacral therapy, reiki, music medicine and meditation. I have an assistant to handle all of my paperwork, flyers, putting out my newsletter after writing it, restocking supplies, ordering etc. I AM MORE GRATEFUL FOR THAT THAN EVER BEFORE!
Well, that is B.C. That would be Before Covid.
B.C. I had a flow like a lot of us in our work with systems in place to keep me hands on so I could stay at a high frequency. This fully embodied presence allowed me to stay connected to source so I could be available moment to moment to support others in finding their truths and working towards their highest potential each moment. My day was a walking meditation if you will and in between clients, I made sure that I got my own practice of meditation, Yoga, hiking etc in daily.
Next thing I knew my adult kids had moved in because it was safer at home and I was at the mercy of them to try to figure out how to learn this technological world. My assistant and I had meetings on Zoom through shared screen but to even get me up and running on that platform was a challenge. Everyday was hair raising and trying and my relationship with my son and daughter was strained and tense.
They would constantly attempt to teach me how to use the computer, turn off notifications, use Google Docs, bluetooth pairing, editing, music, mail chimp my new newsletter carrier which we moved from Constant Contact (no clue still why), make invites, create flyers, learning to upload youtube videos and vimeo, recordings, pairing with F.B. and instagram, paypal and venmo. Argh!
Everyday, I would forget what they told me (even though we wrote it down and made training videos) and we would end up in a screaming match right before I needed to teach and I would be in near tears. Now, it was me who didn’t feel safe. The frustration for them was that these were such basic things that I hadn’t learned and they couldn’t imagine how I couldn’t get it. Simple things like copying a URL was something I didn’t know how to do. I would hear “Google it” several times a day and I would try, I really would and I would screw up and it was so embarrassing. I slowly started getting it and then there were questions on platforms they couldn’t really help me with because they don’t know the platform and they have been busy trying to figure things out themselves working online. One of their biggest beefs has been living in this technological world without a choice and although necessary, they don’t always love it either.
Sometimes I sit for hours on one little thing trying to fix a problem or understand it and finally do get it fixed but can’t remember what I did to fix it. But the main thing is I figured it out and I feel quite accomplished, although spent. I’m rarely asking them for help anymore but I’m mostly online when I’m not doing a livestream session, class or 6 ft back from a client.
I’ve been making more videos and sending out emails to keep clients sane during these uncertain times. If you don’t see me setting up for an online session or class, you will see me pecking away on the computer. It takes about 6 times longer for set up and breakdown, adjusting lighting, rooms, moving furniture, adding props, getting the light ring going, helping someone get their video on etc., than it normally does. By the time I would start a session, I was a bag of nerves but now I’m getting a little more confidence each time, but I’ve been physically and mentally exhausted.
So now, I am addicted to my devices. YES, I admit it; I AM AN ADDICT. I AM DEVICE ADDICTED…. Little ole me! YIKES, one of my biggest pet peeves and here I am. The tides have turned and the “kids” are constantly saying “Mom, turn that off and take a break, “Don’t you want to visit with your family?” I just say “of course I do, in a minute”.
I suppose one of my next blogs will be Breaking Device Addiction.