Sweat rolled down my neck as music filled my ears. The silver pendent that always hangs around my neck with the word “Fearlessness” etched into it bounced off my chest with every pump of my legs on the elliptical. My muscles were burning and I was cursing under my breath. My philosophy is that if you don’t want to quit during a workout, then you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough.
I looked around the gym as I powered on. Screens were everywhere. Each cardio machine had a TV screen attached to it. Flat-screen televisions hung from the walls. Everyone had their own personal handheld screen parked on the cardio machine’s shelf or strapped to their arm. Everywhere, screens.
Screens are good at the gym. Anything that distracts you from the burning muscles or motivates you to push it is good in that setting.
But screens don’t only abound at the gym.
Earlier this week I stopped off at the one and only “fast food” joint I will eat at anymore, Chipotle. (Veggie bol to go, please!) As I stood in line, I flicked my thumb on my iPhone screen and read the latest in my Facebook and Twitter feeds. Did I have any new email? I had better check.
I looked up and nearly every single person in line was doing the same thing. Then I looked around and saw people scrolling on their phones while eating, even with other people at the table with them.
Now I’m not judging, because I do it too. More than I’d care to admit. When did we become this culture that buries our heads in screens while the world is happening around us? We’re totally missing it.
I’ve become much more conscious of this lately in my own daily life. The number of screens I encounter on a day-to-day basis is pretty absurd. I sit at a desk all day long at a computer screen. My co-workers are all over the globe and I interact with them virtually through screens. I take notes and maintain my planner on my iPad screen. Hang on, my BlackBerry screen is flashing at me. Out and about? No biggie, my iPhone is always tucked inside my right coat pocket in case I need to confer with a screen about something.
Screens, screens, screens. Even right now, I’m typing on a screen. You’re reading on a screen.
Remember the movie Wall-E? That film had a profound impact on me. I mean, just watch this short clip…
Now, I’m not saying the fine folks at Pixar are predictors of the future, but it’s a tad eerie, don’t you think? This is the world we live in NOW.
Technology isn’t a bad thing. It keeps us connected when we otherwise might not be… and brings you random rambles from an Awkward Dancer… so I’m not swearing off screens. But when virtual relationships start replacing actual relationships… that’s when it gets scary.
So how do we maintain a healthy balance between life on our screens and life in the actual world?
Here’s what I’m doing to start…
- My TV is only on when there’s something I want to watch on and I have time to watch it. I used to just have it on all the time as background noise. The majority of the time I wasn’t really watching it, so why have it on?
- If I AM watching something on TV, I put away all my other screens. No phone, iPad or laptop. Do you know how many shows I’ve wanted to see but essentially missed because I was distracted by some other screen – texting, surfing, etc?
- When I’m out with friends or family, the phone stays in my purse or pocket. This one is will be a tough one to break, but it has to be overcome.
How about you? Any tips? Have you noticed an overuse of screens in your own life?