Something remarkable—and not in a good way—slapped me in the face a few nights back.
I’d spent a solid nine hours with my eyes locked to a laptop screen, furiously working on new projects. The nature of the work keeps me wedded to my computer, and for the most part I don’t mind it. Come the evening, though, I was itching to mix it up — to close the laptop, maybe, and spend those twilight hours in the world outside the cloud.
I shut down my computer. I then blinked, looked around my room, and realized I was left with a surprising question: “Well, what now?”
Call it a sign of the times, I think, that we might draw a blank on everything we can do without a computer. And can you blame us? For so many of us, now, computers have taken over. They’ve quickly—and quietly—become our first choice for entertainment, information, and everything in between, our go-to option for anything we need. You could make a strong case that this is a good thing, but I could make an equally brawny argument that we’ve been saddled with a bunch of negatives to go right alongside it.
We’ve forgotten how to live without the Internet. We’ve forgotten how to spend a handful of hours without the comforting glow of our screens. And most importantly, I think, we’ve forgotten everything the world has to offer beyond the edges of our monitors.
So ask yourself: if you took one evening this week to spend your hours away from your screens, what would you do?
Therein lays the challenge. Spend one night each week with no screens. Shut down the TV, close your laptop, and keep your distance from all glowing rectangles, spending your time with what’s left: you, yourself, and the sights and smells of an entire real world around you.
Spend your time like you used to, back before technology became such an integral—integrated—part of our lives.
With the computer quiet, you might feel a little empty. You might feel a little restless. What can you do when Facebook and Twitter have to go on without you?
Here are some ideas:
- Read a book.
- Take a walk.
- Spend some time decluttering your house.
- Phone up an old friend.
- Take the time to cook your dinner — and dinner for the next few nights, too.
- Work on your drawing skills.
- Go to bed early.
- Meet up with friends for tea and conversation.
- Play a board game with your family. Or, you know, just talk.
- Do that one thing you’ve always wanted to do, but could “never find the time.” Guess what? You just found it.
So make a list, now, before you begin. Fill in your own activities, and make a vow to spend one night each week pursuing them.
And just think: if you take one evening each week to live through your list, how much could you accomplish?
And then imagine: what if you did this for a year?
What’s on your list? What are you going to do when the TV is quiet? Sound off below! And please help me spread the word of this challenge using one of the buttons below.