Urban Rain, 20 x 24 inches, oil on canvas
It has been raining for several days now, and I'm feeling a little cooped up. On the other hand, since we're not traveling this Christmas I feel relaxed and lazy. Oh sure there's plenty on my to-do list and even if there weren't, I should be painting my hours away. Instead, I'm reading sci-fi books and roasting chestnuts.
Yesterday I declared an "analog day", meaning no computer, no tv, no dvd, no video games, and no cellphone. No digital media, basically. We try to do this each Sunday and it's wonderful. It was really difficult the first couple of times–it made us painfully aware just how much of our daily lives is dependent on digital media. We don't think twice about waking up in the morning and sitting down in front of the computer with a hot cup of coffee, to check email, Facebook, blogs, and whatever else our lives are connected to. And when that's taken away, we have to reevaluate not only how to enjoy our cup of morning coffee, but just how entrenched our lives are in this continuous flow of information. All day we had to fight the urge to check email, to see what our family and friends are doing, and the latest news in world affairs or hollywood or whatever. We felt disconnected, and had a hard time figuring out what to do with our time. Chores get done, yes, but what to do in-between chores?
Feeling completely disconnected is disorienting, to say the least. And we're not even out camping or anything. The devices are sitting right there, tempting us every second. Very difficult. But after a while, we began to relax. Strange thing, I started to remember the way things were before all this technology came into our lives and how great it was when life was simpler. Things I hadn't thought of in decades started to appear in my mind. Time slowed down, and we just enjoyed ourselves doing "analog" things like playing board games. Writing letters. Baking apple pie. Staring at the rain. Oh yes, and reading books and roasting chestnuts.
There is a lot more to it than just being made aware of our digital addiction, of course. Whether we like it or not, it goes much deeper than that– I had to rethink what is actually important in our lives. But I'm not going to weigh down this blog with heavy stuff like that. Don't worry.
But everyone ought to try an analog day once in a while, if not regularly. I think you'll find it challenging, annoying, disorienting, but ultimately, eye-opening if not rewarding.
Next Sunday is the day after Christmas, so it's going to be pretty easy. It's a lazy day anyway, you know what I mean? But I'm adding one more device to the list of devices that can't be used on my analog day; the microwave oven! I love to cook and most things, I do it old school anyway so I don't think the microwave makes much of a difference, but I want to see if this is really true. The only way to find out is to consciously monitor my use. My next analog day should prove interesting.