Today I began to question if I want to continue playing the role of the restless woman that obsessively checks her e-mail throughout the day. Wasn’t there a time in my life, not so long ago, ten months to be exact, when I didn’t have access to e-mail in my car, in the mall, or in the bathroom at the Quick Trip? I’m not a person that has ever cared much about having gadgets. Up until five years ago I promised myself that I would never own a cell phone. It was only a decade ago that I typed a paper on an electric typewriter for film class, and now I carry a small computer in my purse. What happened to the girl that as a teenager was enraged that the car had ever been invented, because she felt that the horse and buggy was a more charming and elegant way to ride?
I heard author Sara Gruen speak today at the AJCC’s annual book festival. Ms. Gruen and her two best friends, who also happen to be New York Times bestselling authors, have a program installed on their computers called Freedom, which allows them to lock their computers off of the internet for a specified number of hours each day, blocking out extraneous distractions and allowing them to focus on their writing. After the lecture, I began to seriously think about my misuse and abuse of the internet. With my obsessive need to feel “connected” to other people, I have lost some of my inner grounding. I have lost the ability to sit with myself and feel content, which happens to be something that I have always enjoyed. Lately, I have felt compelled to fill every moment with “connection”, and for the most part I still don’t really feel connected. The flip side has been that I have experienced the amazing potential of technology to connect people on an almost metaphysical level. Technology is a blessing, however, it becomes a curse when I lose my center and use it as a means of escape.