Remember when the kids were young and how everybody looked forward to ‘quiet time’ (not to be confused with ‘time-out’). In our house quiet time was not only for Christopher who was often involved with massive amounts of Legos or immersed in listening to a Books on Tape. It was also a moment in the day where I could enjoy a cup of tea while reading a chapter in my latest book. TV or video games on school nights was not even an option.
To think, that in today’s world, people are craving what a recent NYT article calls the Joy of Quiet. In planning vacations, people are now paying dearly for the privilege of NOT having TV or internet in their room and choosing remote destinations to get back in touch with themselves. The article mentions that the average American spends 8.5 hours in front of a screen and sends/receives 75 texts every day. Whew, I think, this does not apply to me; I don’t even watch TV that much (are reality TV shows appealing to anybody?). But wait! I work on a computer many hours a day and though I might not be spending 59.5 hours a week in front of a screen I am easily spending 50% of that time just on work related projects. A recent ad I saw emphasized that there are over ½ million apps available for the iPhone. The iPad comes without directions. What?! Recently, I could not find the internet connectivity on a borrowed laptop and was told this was intuitive. My intuition is far more primal and doesn’t relate to machines. That was when I decided it was time for me to unplug. Not pull the plug entirely, but choose wisely how I wanted to spend my allotted time in front of a screen. Last year I made a conscious effort to spend much less time during non working hours on the computer. It is so easy to research something before realising how many hours have been lost. It’s best not to begin. This year I hope to spend even less time on it. The 17C French philosopher, Blaise Pascal, remarked all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone. Little did he realize how true that was to become! I was finally going to buy an iPhone this year. I will wait, I don’t need another learning curve and certainly not another screen. I am choosing to forsake the knowledge I might gain and experience life instead. Balance can be difficult at times.
Today emphasised the need to unplug even more fiercely. It was the memorial service and scattering of the ashes of my friend and running coach, Rick Batty, who died suddenly last month in Montreal. We all think we are invincible (I know I do) and times like this remind us of how precious life and how we choose to live it have become. Time is my most precious commodity and I hoard it like a miner might have done with his stash of gold. Living and experiencing every moment of life has become my top priority. It was such a perfect day; the weather was glorious on Mt. Tam – sunny, warm and massive views were abundant.
Caroline and I had planned a hike before we knew of this service so we decided to head down the Cataract Trail to the falls. Normally this is an extremely populated trail, but today we virtually had it to ourselves. It has been years since I had been on it and remember fondly taking the dogs, Wolfus J. Hound and Magoo, hiking here. It was beautiful! We ended the hike meeting Mike at the relaxed ceremony for Rick at the large meadow at Rifle Camp. It was wonderful to share memories and meet so many of the friends he had mentioned over the years. It was a bittersweet day as today would have been his 60th birthday; the ceremony ended with the singing of Happy Birthday!
It was cold in the mornings this past month and I didn’t get as many sole related miles in as I would have liked. I ended the month with 48.3 miles; all of them walking or hiking (I hope to add running this month). I need to justify the new trail shoes I want to buy!
Do you spend too much time in front of a screen; do you plan on unplugging?