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Meryl Hartstein Headshot

Going Back to a Simpler Life

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Would we want a simple life again if we were given the opportunity? Could we go back to the way it was before the digital age came upon us? My answer is, most definitely no. Most of us shake at the thought of not being able to use our cell phones or computers. We are never cut off from some source of Internet, not even for a second.

It made me remember a time while I was growing up, I was never without music. From the moment i would wake up, my first motion was to put the radio on. I took it to the shower and to just about every room in the house. As soon as I was home from school, back to my room and on went my records. I talked on the phone with them playing, did my homework and on most nights, fell asleep listening to the radio. Were we that much different from today's kids?

What does disturb me though, is our lack of human interaction, our intense need to keep checking our phones, and our lack of attention to others. It's very difficult to interact with someone when you are torn between what they are saying and what you might be missing on your phone. I am very guilty of doing this. I have a strong need to check my phone almost constantly and not consciously either. I sometimes find myself looking, then a minute later doing it again without being aware that I've just done it a moment before. I feel like I am a compulsive "checker". We even have different colored lights blinking on our phones to alert us of messages. How many times do you check it anyway even if their isn't any blinking light, almost as if the phone itself might have forgotten to alert us.?

I've used my phone as if it were a personal bodyguard. When leaving an event late at night, if I feel a little uncomfortable, I pretend I'm talking to someone. If I get really uncomfortable, I start having a fight with the imaginary person on the other end.

I'm not much of a game player, but I can tell when someone is. The intense focus on their face and the look of victory or defeat when they are done playing tells it all. We really don't need to be on a computer when we have these little mini ones with us. There isn't much that it can't do that a computer can. For me, I can conduct my whole business from it and sometimes I can even be on a conversation while I'm doing it.

My new thing now is that when I get ready for bed, I plug the phone in and lay it next to me on the nightstand, always in sight. I know this isn't recommended because can disturb our sleep patterns, but I do it anyway. If I get up during the night, I check it and sometimes I think I get up because I want to check it! In the morning, it's the first thing I do. No more putting on the radio, it's off to the shower I go, me and my cell phone.

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