Technology….it giveth and it taketh!

This blog comes to the Internet via the wi-fi hotspot on my cell phone from my home on the upslope of the Bitterroot Mountains.  It is the sole source of Internet connectivity here.  Yesterday as I was getting ready to write, my phone shut down completely.  It would not even react to trying to restart…so frustrating!  I fiddled for a few minutes, wrote some notes for the blog that wasn’t, and went about my day, which was one of heavy physical outdoor labor.  By the time I was done and I came back to my home office to see if my phone had repaired itself, it had, I was too exhausted to do anything more than shut everything down and hope for a better start today.

One of the blogs I follow, Health Demystified, comments in part on our striving to be more efficient.  I have used the concept of efficiency in my daily activities to try to do more in the same amount of time.  Never go upstairs without taking something that needs to go up and vice versa.  When I started to wear the FitBit tracker I realized that I was saving time and saving steps but to the detriment of my overall health and fitness.  Keeping those trips up and down the stairs to a minimum, trying to do every task with the fewest trips to gather supplies, seemed the best way to accomplish the task related goals I had set.  Suddenly, aided by the awareness the FitBit gave me, I was looking at not bringing a tool I needed to the location I was working as an opportunity to add more steps to my daily total instead of berating myself for forgetfulness.  I have not become obsessed with my step count and activity level, but it has added a layer of mindfulness that I did not have before.

There can be amazing benefits from technology used wisely and with restraint.  It is like so many other things in life; just because “some” is good does not make “a lot” better.  I can read about the thoughts and ideas of people in places I may never visit, I can share my ideas with strangers I will never meet.  I have more information than I could ever process at my fingertips.  The trick is balance; to keep the technology and the devices as tools to learn, to grow, to stay in touch over distances.  One must guard against the over-reliance, the anxiety of being disconnected, the use of technology to replace human exchange.  Used as a tool for awareness, as my FitBit lesson taught me, it is useful in achieving other goals.  Spending hours surfing mindlessly, or feeling compelled to check every connectivity account constantly, moves our devices from the category of tools to that of unhealthy habit.

Even though I was frustrated with my lack of connection yesterday, I was able to set it aside, work hard and accomplish the goals for the day outdoors without giving my temperamental phone another thought.  And missing my first daily post but coming back today to continue where I left off gives me hope that I can stick with this for the long haul even when life and technology get in the way.

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