Sunday Thoughts (solitude)
I’ve thought a lot about what we’ve been through in the past year. How isolating it has been, and the lack of contact we’ve had with each other.
Real, human interaction. Not disconnected voices on the phone, or video on a screen.
And I can’t wait for things to be more normal again.
But as real and impactful as this isolation has been on our mental and even physical health, I am a little concerned about what might seem like the exact opposite.
Our lack of solitude.
Think about it. For the first time in our history, we’re subjected to near constant inputs, thanks to technology.
From the moment we open our eyes to the time we turn out the lights at night.
The overwhelming urge to fill our time with something – anything – at all times, is going to have an impact on us. And I’m concerned we don’t even know how troubling this will be.
You see it all around you, and you’re likely sucked into it yourself.
The urge to pull out your phone to fill the moments at a stoplight. Or waiting in line somewhere.
Podcasts while we walk outside. Checking your email before you’ve even pushed back the covers.
The TV on as a murmur in the background, while we cook, clean or just try to relax.
This lack of truly “alone time” leads to increases in anxiety, and ultimately, lower productivity.
For as much as we all love to talk about “multi-tasking,” as humans, we’re really not very good at that.
It makes problem solving more difficult, and at times (especially while driving) it can lead to dangerous distractions.
I’ve been looking into this recently, and I think we all could stand to be alone with our thoughts more.
So here’s what I’m going to do:
- At least occasionally, I’m going to exercise, walk or cook with no music, no news, no distractions. Just focus on the task at hand, or let my mind wander.
- For a certain period each day, the phone goes off. Put it in a drawer.
- When I’m standing in line somewhere, I’m going to make a point of making polite conversation, or just spending a little time thinking vs. distracting myself with the constant scrolling.
- And every weekend, I’m going to spend at least an hour outside with no book, no phone, no music, no nothing. Just a chance to breathe and think and get a little clearer in the head.
I have a feeling that this will be a welcome change. And hopefully, once we’re all together again – face to face – we’ll truly be face to face.
Instead of buried in our respective phones.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend, and stay safe out there.