On the day before Thanksgiving, my iPhone died its final death. It died on the one-month anniversary of our forced disconnect from the world wide web. The onset of a mysterious computer/internet problem, in which the two wouldn't speak to each other, but would happily hook up with others, left us confused and frustrated, and ultimately swearing off the whole thing. We could get by! We have our iPhones. Er, had. As I watched it crash its last crash, the little white wheel of death spinning, spinning, spinning, then nothing, I felt calm and freaked out at once. Well, I'll fix it. They'll warrantee it. (It had been dying short-lived deaths for some time already...) Everything felt fine, that is, until as the day carried on, I couldn't check in on anything. My phone's calming effect on my anxiously needing to know what was going on in the world was not to be had. The computer couldn't bring me my fix, either. What if I had an email? Facebook update? News? What if someone needed me?! OH MY GOD, SOMEONE COULD NEED ME!
Well, the first thing I learned from this ordeal is that I'm not that important. No one died because they couldn't reach me. The second thing I learned: life is really nice up here, away from your screen. There are people to hug and talk to, walks to be enjoyed, puppies to be wrestled with, hats to be knitted, guitars that have been waiting patiently to be picked back up again. There is life up here away from the screen, ready to be touched, breathed, felt, seen, and shared, once you're ready to look away from the pixelated version.
Don't get me wrong. I restored my phone. There are too many benefits to having it to go without it: easy communication from anywhere, and a plethora of apps that I use for yoga, meditation, or managing my money. Never again will I be unable to find something - anything - because I can now google, call, and map it all from one place. Phones are super useful: You can call in breakfast from the top of your morning ski run so that its ready and waiting when you get to the bottom of the mountain. You can find your way out of the woods when you're sure you've passed that rock at least twice already, probably from a different direction each time. And you can text your honey just to say, Hey. What it can't do, though, is replace real live living. Human interaction, subtlety, nature, green space, fresh air, love. You have to look up from the screen/put it down/ turn it off for that good stuff.
I have all of my technology back again. My computer has decided it will sometimes talk with the old internet, although it will always talk with the new internet. And my phone is behaving, for the most part. What's different is my relationship with the stuff. I've been reminded of one important thing: Technology is supposed to make my life better, but its not supposed to get in the way of living. Now I'm shutting this thing down and going for a sunset walk with the dog.