Ryan and I recently spent a week camping in Maine; our first camping trip together. There were amazing times while we were there (having time together in a beautiful mountainous environment) and not so amazing times while we were there (Ryan had to get 4 stitches in his hand.) One of my favorite parts of the trip were our late night conversations in the tent about all of the distractions in our lives. When you spend a week without any television, radio, phone, texting, and internet you realize how much time these things take up in your daily life. None of these things are inherently bad, but they can become such a distraction from the really important things. Retreating from these things gave us more time to talk, to laugh, to think, and to listen to simple things in life that are so precious. It was so refreshing to have the sound of birds, wind, and rivers take the place of a blaring TV and a phone ringing every 20 minutes.
It made us realize how much of a role technology plays in our lives, and that we need to stop and examine a few things. What would our lives look like if we started to limit the amount of time the television was on? What would happen if we stopped spending so much of our time online? Would it increase our communication? Would it bring us even closer together? We had a few conversations about what we could do to limit our technology use and hopefully replace that time doing other things. One thing we discussed was how much of the time our TV is on. It's not at all unusual for our television to be on, even when there's nothing on that we want to watch. We realized that we default to having it on, just for the simple sake of having some kind of noise on in the background. When I stop and think about that, it completely baffles me that we default to wanting noise. As much as we are bombarded everyday with noise and chaos, you would think we would want a break from it. We decided we need to change that. From now on, we want to limit our television watching to times when there is something specific on that we actually want to watch. It doesn't make any sense to having it on otherwise. We also decided that we want more time to just be together and talk without any interruptions. We discussed limiting our time online to only using it when there is a specific purpose. Check your email, check your facebook, write on your blog. There's nothing wrong with that. The problem (for us) comes in when we're wasting time surfing the web for the sake of filling time. Wouldn't it be better to fill time interacting with each other rather than a machine?
Are we making drastic changes? No, not really. We haven't decided to get rid of our TV or our computer. We haven't sworn off facebook or answering the phone after 7:00. We're just starting to recognize small changes we can make that will hopefully benefit our relationship and overall well being. We'll see how it goes, and perhaps our small changes will become bigger ones as we go along.