It just so happened to be during a conversation with my brother on Facebook when he expressed his wish to go back to the days of less technology. We remembered fondly how we created whole worlds out of boredom–showcases of neighborhood child “talent”, adventures in the woods until the street lights came on, a large cardboard box we transformed into a house. Life was slower then. There was time to appreciate it, time to wallow in boredom and drive our mother crazy until she made us go outside, time to play.
This could go so many directions–how technology is quashing creativity, how overbooked schedules ruin children, how much better the “old days” were. Those things are all debatable, but what is not is how overwhelmed I get with the exponential rate the world is advancing.
At the same time, I feel lucky to have lived during this marvelous upswing. No other generation will have experienced this so fully. We are the last children who didn’t grow up with computers in the home and certainly not in our pocket!
I have embraced technology. We have multiple computers. I’ve had a smartphone for years. I had an iPod and a PDA before that. I’m all over the Internet. John and I even ran our own computer BBS (bulletin board system) before the Internet was a thing. Last March, I titled a blog post Technological Dependence, detailing my love of one particular gadget. I. Love. Gadgets. So it may come as a surprise I get overloaded by them. But I do.
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
– William Wordsworth, The World Is Too Much With Us
Before its time. What would he think of the world today? Would he feel much the way I do. Is this a feeling every generation feels? Somehow I doubt that. The advances of the modern era–those things that change the world, that made expectations go beyond food, clothing, and shelter–that is when the world really is too much with us. This world we created, not the natural world.
Wordsworth’s words rattle around in my head often. I’m busier now than I was when I worked at a regular job. I’m more driven, yes, but drive has its cost.
If there is no rest for the wicked, then working hard to achieve your dreams must be wicked work indeed.
Technology helps me with this work. Right now, I’m writing this post on my new Surface Pro 2 as I walk on my treadmill. I use cloud storage for files, Internet for research, digital music for inspiration, Scrivener to organize and write my novel, social media to share and promote my work, email to network and pass critique pieces, and computers and a smartphone to access all of those things. Being connected is useful, but I have a hard time disconnecting, getting past the idea I should be involved all the time.
We are natural creatures… a part of this world we manipulate so greatly. Sometimes I have to remind myself to get back to nature, unplug from the craziness… be bored again… rest. When I was growing up, we had no choice. Now, I have to make the choice.
It’s time to critique something and then do some writing. With pen and paper.