Unplugging or Embracing Technology

I’ve been reading about unplugging and digital detox. There’s even a National Day of Unplugging that happens in March.  Its slogan is “Let’s Wander Where the Wi-Fi is Weak” and they give you a cellphone sleeping bag.  I got thinking about smart phones, tablets, computers, TV, and kindles plus all the other devices.  Yep, that can be lot of information and audiovisual clutter but is it for an older retired adult? No, I don’t think so for this older retired adult.

Technology allows me to do more things and the time to do it.  I’m not bombarded with it because of work. I’m only flooded with notifications right now because I need to turn them off on my iPhone.  Yep, I’m lazy but it’s on my to-do list.  My iPhone, it could be any cellphone, allows me to go and do whatever I want but still be available if someone needs to get a hold of me or if I need get a hold of someone.   I remember a time of home phones, landlines, and payphones.  I remember how limiting it was.  I used to have to wait for a call from a repairman or wait at home/work desk if I was expecting a call.

I remember a time without GPS, I can’t tell you the number of times that I got lost pre-GPS.   Now I use the GPS in the car.  If I’m looking for restaurant, I use the apps on my phone. I use the Waze app for traffic reports and construction sites. Life was one big survival camping trip in some ways.  Everything took a bit longer.  I spent more time going to the library for books than I did reading.  Now I just download a book and start reading.  I love Kindle. I have arthritis in both of my hands and my Kindle is much lighter than a paperback.  It’s also easier to read when I’m at the beach.

Grocery shopping has always been a pain in my backside.  I want food but I didn’t want to spend the time shopping for it and standing in line. Now I use Kroger Click List or HEB Curbside for pantry and basic items like almond milk or deli.  It’s quicker.  I still like to pick my produce so I will stop in at Aldi.  It’s smaller and I prefer the quality of their salad makings.  If you get a chance, Google ‘why shop at Aldi.’ We also stop in at the local Farmers Market as well.  My last grocery trip was only stopping in at HEB’s Curbside.  The one before that, I looked up ‘farmers market near me’ on my iPhone and stopped there.  Then we stopped in Aldi for pizza (yum and easy) but they also had mangoes. I Googled how to pick ripe mangoes and how to cut them before buying them.

One of the apps I use the most is Evernote. The basic is free but it’s limited to two devices and a note size of 25MB.  Which is fine for most people.  I wanted it on all of my devices and I have five.  So I pay $7.99 per month or there’s a discount for a year.  The main reason it’s worth it to me is that it’s cross platform, multi device, and the notes sync.  When we travel, I’ve organized all the places I want to visit, the restaurants in the area, and include the travel arrangement in my notes.  I don’t have to type on my iPhone, that would take me forever.  I use my desktop or laptop to type everything in.  If I’m traveling light, I only take my iPhone with me.  If we are staying a couple of days, I’ll take an iPad.  The iPad is nice to view photos I’ve snapped, keep up on email, and read on.  It’s larger is all.  I can even process photos in Lightroom if I want, then move them to the cloud.

I’ve done a Social Media Detox before.  It’s easy to get caught up and fall into the rabbit hole.  I was off social media for months, I might of over did it.  I have a large feed and the amount of art and creative photos are inspiring. I missed seeing them.  It’s a choice of how much time to spend.  During all the current political chaos, it’s been good to connect with people online and in person.  

Facebook’s closed groups have been very helpful for finding local resources.  Even our subdivision has one, that’s I know what is happening in my neighborhood.  We recently moved in, my neighbors work all types of schedules, we don’t have a clubhouse so Facebook keeps everyone informed. The trikes that my hubby and I have also have their own closed group.   I also like the closed groups for hobbies.  Social media is what you make it.  

The digital age has turned into the age of technological anxiety.  It’s either too much or too little, some folks feel overwhelmed on both ends of the yardstick.  It’s finding a balance.  It’s using technology as a resource.