Life is About Balance and Moderation

A Happy Father’s Day text came from my daughter about 2:00 p.m. on Father’s Day. The message said, “GOOD MORNING (well afternoon, I just got service).” I responded by saying, “Oh, thank you, I am kinda jealous that you haven’t had service.” I was jealous because I knew Jordan had been “off the grid” hiking a mountain in Alberta, Canada. For most of us that would be a big deal, but not for Jordan. Hiking a mountain, kayaking in Asia or scuba diving in Belize is a common occurrence for her.

Jordan doesn’t mind going off the grid. For her, “no signal” or “no wifi” is welcomed. It is not that she is anti-technology. If she is not hiking, she is teaching English as a second language to Chinese children. She teaches online and can do so virtually anywhere in the world. So her livelihood is dependent upon a wifi connection. Yet, she has trained herself not to be tethered to her phone 24/7.

Recently, I have thought quite a bit about technology and how it impacts our lives. We all have phones that have incredible capabilities. Some folks have “Alexa” in their homes to help them manage their households, answer their questions, turn on the lights, and entertain. We all want the latest and greatest, yet so many of us seek to disconnect or go off the grid.

I was recently reading Conde’ Nast Travel magazine and came across an article that began by stating “Trailblazing outfits are pushing people’s limits with dramatic six-month, $265K expeditions, dropping clients into no man’s land on a quest for self-discovery and inner recalibration.” I can’t believe people are willing to drop that kind of money to get off the grid. But, it is not just the ultra-wealthy, super busy people that are seeking to disconnect.

Earlier this month, Frontier Communications launched a “flip phone challenge.” With its “Flip Phone Challenge,” Frontier will give $1,000 to one winner who can bravely give up their smartphone for one week and use a flip phone instead. Frontier received 30,000 applications. I doubt that the cash prize motivated those people. I suspect many of them were excited about the prospect of being disconnected for a week. Now, that challenge may seem simple, but remember a flip phone can’t play music, provide directions, store phone numbers, and a flip phone has never met Siri.

The friction between technology making our lives easier and stressing us out is real. It seems to be a chicken-egg thing. Technology helps us to be more efficient, which should give us more time to do other things. However, as hard-working individuals, we often fill the extra time with more stuff. Which, in turn, gets us to a point where we want to check out. And for some, that means spending $265K to discover inner peace. That seems very extreme to me. Even switching to a flip phone seems a bit excessive.

Isn’t it reasonable to think we can have our cake and eat it too? Life is about balance and moderation. Perhaps leaving our smartphones in the kitchen when we go to bed is an excellent place to start. Or instead of reaching for your phone first thing in the morning, reach for your loved one’s hand. Those emails, text messages, and Twitter notifications can wait.

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