Life Beyond the Computer Screen

Yesterday, I took a break from blogging, my first since summer vacation started.  After reading “iCrazy” in Newsweek while lying on Tunnels Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, I realized I have become too dependent on the public approval fed through Facebook and WordPress, the notifications popping up in little dopamine doses on my smart phone.

While I rationalize that blogging is at least part of my mission in establishing myself as a writer, the reality is that it has also become part of my greater addiction to the internet.  The number of likes and new follows either negatively or positively affects my mood after posting, (not to mention the compulsive checking of my inbox for feedback).  My solution, forced breaks, turned off email notifications, and only checking my blog when I post new material.

In just 48 hours of silence, I’ve already noticed that not receiving email notifications to my phone has made a huge difference.  Not knowing what activity I am receiving is better than the high or low of immediate reinforcement.  I no longer have the urge to pick up my phone every two minutes.  In fact, I left my phone off all day today and yesterday, save for checking for voicemails and text messages once in the morning and once in the evening.

Taking a day off blogging was also nicer than I thought, as I resisted the urge to complete my daily ritual.  That’s the thing, even on vacation, I derive satisfaction from the exercise of blogging, I am just trying to move away from it being an obsession.  So far, giving myself a little space is making it feel a lot less compulsive.  Best of all, a break made me hyper-aware of how often I think about being online or checking my inbox.  It was more often than I like to admit.  However, the more time I let pass, the less often I had the urge.

The important life reminder– I value time spent disconnected.  A big motivation in becoming a teacher was creating a life where I was not connected to a computer for work all day.  I have to remind myself this as I dive head first into the world of writing, an evolving world shrouded in technology.  If any of this resonates with you, I recommend reading the article linked above, although I’m not suggesting that it is a problem for everyone.

A few pictures below to remind you how beautiful life can be beyond the computer screen.  I look forward to reconnecting with you all next time I post!

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9 thoughts on “Life Beyond the Computer Screen

  1. kingmidget says:

    Beautiful pictures. And even better thoughts. I’m torn these days between following through on my commitment to blog every day this year and taking a break from it. I want to disconnect for a day or two and should have, while I was at Caples Lake, but didn’t. I applaud you for doing so.

    • oliviaobryon says:

      It’s hard to disconnect, but feels surprisingly good to do so! I don’t want to interfere with your goal, so I won’t say more. For me, it was just becoming too compulsive, I needed a break.

      • kingmidget says:

        Don’t be surprised if some day in the next week or two, there’s no daily post from me … I’m edging closer and closer. You know if I post a picture or a haiku, I was dancing on the edge.

  2. allaccesspass says:

    That is a very interesting article (and maybe a little scary) and your reflection is eye-opening. I have been thinking how my “habits” will have to change when school starts and I bet it would be wise to start weaning myself now. I have done very well setting blog goals the past few months. I think now I will set some limits as well.

    • oliviaobryon says:

      I’ve been expecting my habits to change with the new school year too. I only think it is a problem when it becomes compulsive. For me, it was beginning to feel that way. But, breaks help! For me, the biggest thing has been just stopping the email notifications.

  3. Erin says:

    I’m really glad you wrote this (and really glad I read it). I’ve been feeling so inadequate compared to other bloggers — I’m lucky if I get one post out a week! And I feel this pressure to write more, do more, say more in order to keep up. It makes us all crazy, in all kinds of ways. Thank you!

    • oliviaobryon says:

      I’m glad it resonated– it’s one of those things that’s not fun to admit, but I could feel it becoming a little addictive. Breaks/no email notifications has helped a lot, but I know that same feeling of pressure. There is no way I can keep up posting everyday during the regular school year when I teach, I think that’s why I went so crazy trying to blog all the time this summer. Amazing how helpful a little reflection can be! 🙂

  4. hipmamamedia says:

    I read the same article sitting at the ortho waiting at my daughter’s appointment. It was very thought provoking and has definitley stirred up a much needed debated. (also got me thinking about doing a blog on it. Can you say, “Irony.”? How much of our “real” lives are becoming dependent on our “cyber” lives? Are we blurring the lines between the two in an unhealthy manner? Hats off to you for taking a break and truly giving yourself a vacation.

    • oliviaobryon says:

      Thanks! It has been amazing! And, I’ll be very curious to see what you write about the article, if you haven’t already, (haven’t scrolled through my reader yet). I know what you mean about blurring the lines. I realized I was beginning to view life through the scope of what I would blog about next… Not really a good thing, but my break helped/is helping.

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