Day without technology proves inner peace is possible even for the overstimulated

By Alex Silady

The author’s prized possessions, stashed securely away for a tech-free day.

The Millennial Generation–or Gen Y, or whatever you prefer to term us–is criticized a lot for our supposed technology dependency. Though I feel it’s unfair to categorize everyone born between a certain set of years that way, I’ll admit I fit the stereotype perfectly. I’ve got a lot of friends far outside the tri-state area, including a girlfriend in the Pacific Time Zone, and technology is my umbilicus to them. There’s never a day when I don’t habitually check my cell phone and spend a couple of hours on the Internet.

So a technological Day of Atonement was, to mix religious metaphors, anathema to my sensibilities. But Professor Rosenbaum had assigned such a thing on the Monday of fall break, and out of a combination of wanting to participate in the class and to assuage my own ego about my willpower, I resolved to power through the day somehow.

I got up early on Monday morning, lack of class be damned, to text my mom and let her know I was still alive lest she worry. I stashed my cell phone into my desk drawer and felt pangs of regret within minutes. I immediately thought of half a dozen people I wanted to text–to tell them about my tech-fast. I despaired at being unable to post my thoughts on the upcoming Hobbit film or the new Wintersun album on my Tumblr blog, but assuaged myself by thinking of my queued posts. I was sorely tempted to get on a computer when inspiration struck me for a short story, but I wised up and chose to get it down with pen and paper instead.

It was a beautiful day in that terrifying place called Outside, and I actually wanted to step out and enjoy the day without distractions. Funny things were happening to me. Was I really getting the feeling of serenity that I was promised, but I was so skeptical about? I thought I ought to be productive even if I couldn’t get on the Internet to do so; I grabbed my East Asian Politics books and studied for my midterm for hours, engrossed in the subject thanks to the fact that I had nothing to break my concentration. I lost track of time, though at least I remembered to eat. My chicken curry dinner somehow tasted richer than normal.

Having spent my afternoon reading something that I couldn’t use CTRL + F on for once, I thought I ought to clear my mind entirely in the evening, so I meditated for a while in my room and waited for midnight. Well, I sort of dreaded the day’s end. It would mean an obligation to return to the constant bustle and stress of permanent interconnectedness. I certainly missed using my tech, although not nearly as much as I thought I would.

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