Guest Post: Bret Freedman

Love Life and Lollipops- Bret's Tech Mess

Bret moved to DC yesterday and I'm so sad for me, but so happy for her.   A new start, a new life, a new job.  Good for you Bret!  I'll miss you too much, but lucky for my readers, you guys'll still get to read her thoughts every once in a while.  Here are today's musings: Technology can certainly get in the way of real human communications.

You've got to take back control, says Edward Hallowell, MD, author of CrazyBusy: Overbooked, Overstretched, and About to Snap! "The great thing about modern life is you can do so much," he says, "and the curse of modern life is you can do so much."

It's the new epidemic, Hallowell says. "People joke about being crazy busy. Sometimes they brag about it, like being busy is a status symbol. But they don't realize that it's as harmful for them as obesity or cigarette smoking." (http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/when-technology-addiction-takes-over-your-life)

I have been increasingly concerned about a growing problem I have. That many of us have. Admit it, you probably can relate, even a little bit. But in addiction, admitting you have a problem is the first or something - so here I am.

I am addicted to technology and it’s making me unhealthy. On any given day I leave the house with a pile of technology. Blackberry, iPod, Kindle, Laptop, GPS. I carry a thumb drive on my key chain and a back up in my bag. I watch TV with my laptop on my lap. I have been FAR too close to getting into numerous car accidents because I have become a compulsive Facebook checker – I don’t even realize I’m doing it. I communicate primarily by text message. I check voicemail once a week, but if you text, expect a return message in under 10 minutes.

It’s crazy, I know. I should get hold of myself, change. I thought it would be a good idea to get rid of my blackberry –but my job requires that I have one. I thought about replacing my laptop with a desktop….and I had a valid excuse as to why that was impractical. Etc. etc.  Like any good addict, I am filled with excuses and justifications.

What’s the big deal? This is the new normal, right?

The big deal is that the almost accidents are only one of the byproducts. I sit and read and have to consciously resist the desire to check email, thus I don’t really read. I sit at dinner with a friend and am sad as both of us have one eye on our phones and don’t have any hesitation to stop a conversation to text, check email or take a “quick call”. My attention span is a fraction of the size that it was even 5 years ago and the only real vacation I can take is when I go somewhere that my phone doesn’t work.

I spend valuable time and money watching what I eat, exercising and minding my spiritual health. But the inability to disconnect that is more than just “loving my technology” -  it’s keeping me from connecting with others in real time, from living my life offline, from being holistically healthy.

Eve