“Life is not boring because it is simple. Simplicity sets the imagination free to work and to enjoy. Passive entertainment can dull the sense of wonder God has placed within us. The simple life, however, affords an opportunity to rediscover the joys of creativity.” Richard Swensen Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Our Overloaded Lives, p173
I made a recent effort to turn off the tube, stop compulsively checking Facebook, and quit fiddling with my iPhone. I thought I didn’t do that a lot, but apparently I was wrong! Do you know what I discovered? It’s tough!
Electronic and social media has grabbed a hold of me in many ways. Yet the fight to limit and undo the damage is an uphill battle I found that my attention span shortened and impulsive habits increased. I even noticed that I grabbed my phone and just switched it on to see if I received anything. Sometimes I’ll also open up a new tab and switch over to a social media site just to see the latest without even a moment of thought. Can anyone else relate?
Margin made me think about the hours I put into passive entertainment versus active entertainment. It confronted me with how often I enjoyed things passively without active participation in it. It made me think about outdoor activities and when I created things with my own hands. This active group brought me much more joy than when I sit and watch TV for hours in a row. In terms of seeing the fruit of my labor, when I created a virtual city or zoo on my computer (confession: I love building computer games like Zoo Tycoon or SimCity), there was no lasting achievement for others to see. There is no portrait, quilt, or vase to leave behind to others. Running a marathon and sharing that success is so much more appealing than conquering the world with a virtual army (which I am pretty awesome at…). The satisfaction of telling a story about something I’ve been a part of is so much better than recounting how I managed the coffers of some virtual city.
The simple life, one that limits the impulsive electronic clicks, opens up space for more wonder and joy. The simple life offers more space for quietness and creativity. It allows freedom to enjoy the beauty and glory of nature. According to the book Margin, simplicity creates space where wonder and relationships can be cultivated.
So I’ve decided I want to pursue more active entertainment and let passivity occupy my time by sitting out on a hilltop or beach somewhere. I imagine it will be tough to limit my dependencies on gadgets I love. It’s already tough not to reach for my phone impulsively. Yet, it seems this is a tough battle worth fighting for.
How do you resist the pull of your phone?