Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Hideaway: Take a Technology Break

It's sometimes an effort to not sound like the old-timer, boasting of simpler days before every kid had a cell phone and that "confounded Internet."

We did have some advantages pre-ubiquitous-technology.

A child hid under a display of stuffed toys in the grocery store the other day. He wasn't a small child - he was probably eight. He refused to come out from under the toys, so mom grabbed his foot and began to drag.

It wasn't the dragging that got him, though. It was the threat.

"OK - I'm going to turn off your phone," Mom warned, letting go of the foot and walking away.

Immediate compliance.

"No. Please don't. Not my phone!"

Do I sound old when I say an 8-year old doesn't need a working cell phone? (Any more than an 18-year old needs a semi-automatic assault rifle. Now I'm wondering if these things are connected ...)

My point is not parenting or gun-control.

And I'll refrain from writing one more blog about our over-connected, highly interactive society.

To be honest, I'm a fan of tech - and feel I'm fairly wired for a fifty-year-old.

Here's what I worry about us missing.

Even the stars sometimes fade to gray
Even the stars hide away
— The Weepies

When I was a kid, I'd get tired of TV (the only real "tech" we had in the early 80's), go to my room, shut the door, and lose myself in a world created by JRR Tolkien or Terry Brooks. Sometimes music was involved. Sometimes I'd work on trying to figure out bar chords. Sometimes I'd gaze out the window in general boredom. But I was alone with no screens. I had my own hideaway.
A sanctuary.
A retreat.

I worry we don't get disconnected alone time anymore.

Maybe we should go outside more?

Recent research says getting outside is also a great boost for mental health, especially walking in green space.

There is something here for us.

Maybe the kid in the grocery store was just trying to find a sanctuary? (Or he was just being a brat around parents who give him everything he wants in life. That's probably it. But it does make me wonder if something deeper's going on there...)

Whether it's a closed room or a local park, we all need a hideaway. A place where we're disconnected. A location where no one can call, texts will not be answered, emails are left in the inbox.

For now.

Not for days or weeks.

But maybe for an hour?

I'm writing this on Friday. Try taking a walk in the park today without a phone. It's good for both the soul and (I believe) for your overall productivity.

And it's a bit more socially acceptable than trying to hide a under rack of toys at the grocery store.

Sometimes a walk in the woods is exactly right for the soul. 

Sometimes a walk in the woods is exactly right for the soul.