Technology is a wonderful thing. Without it, I’m sure many of us wouldn’t have our jobs, wouldn’t be able to maintain that long distance relationship and most importantly, those glorious Netflix binges would be non-existent. Imagining a world without technology is terrifying. Almost impossible, as I glance up from my fingertips to see my laptop, TV, phone and even a treadmill all within reaching distance. But what would a world look like without it?
It’s true, I am currently on episode 3 of Black Mirror and the advancement of technology is both mindblowing and incredibly scary, but recently I tried life away from social media for a while. And then my phone kept dying on me. And then I spent a week away in Wales with barely any phone signal. Did I die? Did the whole world fall apart? Did I even really miss anything? No. In fact, those days were some of the most relaxing and pressure free days I’ve ever had. At work when my phone would shut down by 9am, instead of mindlessly scrolling my way through lunch, I actually made the effort to talk to people. Of course, everyone else was much more engrossed in what was happening on Facebook but it really forced me to see what life was like when I wasn’t permanently glued to my phone like it was some kind of life support.
Of course, technology has it’s place and we have created a culture where we rely on it heavily. From life saving machines to huge advancements in robotics that could change the way we live forever, there is no denying that technology is very important in our future. Even as an Actor, where I find most of my jobs online and need to be within reach of my emails or phone in case I am contacted for an audition, I couldn’t be without at least my laptop and phone. And the days when my phone died on me were coincidentally also when I drove home on very icy roads and another time, was about a minute behind a motorbike accident. Having access to a phone in those moments would have made me feel a lot safer, just in case something happened and I would have had no way of alerting help.
So technology is, unfortunately or fortunately, an essential part of our lives. But let’s take social media. I’ve deleted my Facebook for a few days, call it an experiment in the time of ‘Look what I got’ posts and ‘OMG I’M ENGAGAED’ photos. I pressed delete and instantly, my mood lifted, as though a weight I had been carrying was released. And hours after, even this morning, I found myself clicking on Facebook out of habit. It’s a crutch that adds zero benefit to my life and I actually use it most when I’m feeling down and want to torture myself more by seeing how well everyone else is doing.
By far the best result of all was my week away. I woke up, not to flashing lights coming from my phone but to actual morning light. I chugged a litre of water and did some yoga. I played with my Niece all day and we created long books about elephants with colourful ears and we went for walks in the mud. And I could cry thinking how happy that made me.
I know you’re yelling at the screen you’re reading this from; ‘It’s not that simple!’ ‘I need it for my job’. But how about we wake up on a morning and look outside instead of checking our phones. What if we put our laptops away and curled up for 20 minutes with a book. Why not take that walk outside instead of cycling away on a stationary machine whilst staring at a screen to will the time away. Technology is great for helping us to live our lives but somewhere in there, we need to remember how to thrive without it.