It’s ubiquitous–ever encroaching into new aspects of our lives. No, I’m not talking about politics and the presidential election. I’m talking about technology, that blessing and scourge of modern society. And yes, I realize the irony of using a computer and the internet to critique technology. Clearly, I am not totally opposed to technology; one would be foolish not to recognize the benefits that it has brought to mankind.
However, so much of it nowadays truly seems to beg the question: “even though we can, should we?” This question can refer to ethical dilemmas in medical technology or to the use of drones to deliver people’s packages. Moreover, people’s lives seem to be increasingly revolving around screens–TV, phone, computer, iPad, etc., etc. Obviously, many of these things are useful and one needs to make use of them, but it makes me sad when a back-to-school commercial has a mother talking about how her daughter spent the summer “binge-watching” TV or when a car commercial proudly displays kids being kept quiet by TV screens in the back of their parents’ seats. Shoot, when I was a kid, we would read, play games, and sing to the radio or our cassette tapes and CDs on road trips.
Don’t get me wrong. Everyone needs a good movie marathon now and again, and social media is a useful way to keep up-to-date with friends and family. Nevertheless, I think if one stops for a moment and reflects, it becomes fairly clear that society is relying more and more on technology to think, communicate, entertain, and work for us and instead of us.
As technological “progress” appears to be interminable, we will have to make a concerted and purposeful effort to be in control of our use of technology and not let it control us. Real reality, the people and places around us, will always be more interesting, challenging, lovable, and wonder-inspiring than virtual reality.
So while acknowledging technology’s place in our lives, here is a list of 11 activities that involve minimal or no technology.
1.) Write an old-fashioned snail mail letter to someone. It’s more personal than an email or a text and you know that receiving something in the mail is always fun. Plus, it gives a person a chance to work on his/her handwriting (another thing that has been lost thanks, in part, to technology).
2.) Experiment in the kitchen. Dig out an old family recipe or try a new recipe or come up with your own culinary concoction. Try to avoid looking up directions online.
3.) Read–NOT on a kindle. Snuggle up under a blanket or lay outside in a hammock and get transported to another time and place.
4.) Play a game. Cards and Monopoly didn’t stop being fun just because you’re not a child anymore.
5.) Outdoor activities. Go for a nature walk; go for a bike ride; play sports with friends. It’s good for the body and the spirit.
6.) Explore your community. Visit a nearby museum or an historical landmark. Go to an apple orchard or a farmers’ market. It’s never a bad life decision to understand more fully the place you call home.
7.) Take up a new hobby. Try your hand at gardening. Learn a musical instrument. Learn how to sew. Make an attempt at painting or writing poetry. In the words of C.S. Lewis:
8.) Support live local theater. Go watch a play or a ballet or see a touring Broadway musical and be reminded of the beauty of the performing arts.
9.) Listen to music. Don’t just have it on in the background but really be still in listen, or put on music and have a spontaneous dance party with friends or by yourself. Attend a live concert and make memories with friends. (This does involve some use of technology, but the main point is that you are not staring at a screen).
10.) Truly be present to those around you. Converse with family and friends without obsessively checking your phone. Or just simply be silent and enjoy each other’s company.
11.) Pray – because the Good Lord would love to hear from you!!!
What are some of your favorite non-technological activities?
NOTE: pictures found through Bing Images. They are either public domain or “free to share and use.”