My husband and I got back from our vacation in Cuba on Tuesday. It’s a beautiful, laid-back place and so nice to get away from a piece of Toronto winter. But let me tell ya, instead of feeling refreshed and re-energized, I’m still riding the Caribbean-style, laid-back train. Cuba’s residue is still with me – the warm sun, no cooking for myself and most especially NO WIFI.
That’s right, you heard me – no WIFI at the hotel. It sounded scary to me at first too. I thought, will I go crazy? Will I really be able to really shut my business’s doors for a full week?
Having no choice kind of makes the decision for you but it also turned out to be such a blessing. I let go of my phone and emails to let my mind go blank – almost to the point where I couldn’t care less when the hotel staff was less than forgiving of my Spanish skills or our bus was more than 40 minutes late.
I really haven’t been able to reach this state in a while since I’m sure we all feel is near impossible when life is going on a mile a minute with text messages and social media posts to get to.
Letting go in Cuba was an amazing reminder of what life before technology was like. People actually just sit around and talk! They draw maps or they physically walk with you to show you their favourite place to eat. There’s no Uber. There’s no Yelp. And no one on Instagram is going to LIKE my seafood dish except me.
Then one day while we were in beautiful Havana, we came up to a park. I knew something looked a little ‘off’ but I couldn’t quite pinpoint it until I stared, bewildered, just a little longer. Then I realized it- everyone was on their phone. Every single person in the park had his or her head down and wasn’t talking to anyone around. It was really creepy. Apparently this was one of the ‘hot spots’ in the city that are few and far between.
After days of being without any connection I felt sad at first for what could be a very social and lively park. I almost shook my head with judgement.
Luckily, I caught myself because I realized that I almost didn’t notice how this picture stood out among the rest of the city. I almost didn’t catch it because it’s so commonplace at home.
It was such a quick moment but it made me realize how much I depend on technology and maybe even have a bit of an addiction (or maybe a big one…). But it also made me realize how lucky I am to have Internet in my home and be able to do business online.
Interestingly though, after only having to live about four days at that point without Google, I judged these people in the hot spot who were just trying to enjoy being connected to the world at large like anyone else.
It’s a strange feeling. And I think it’s a debate we are all having with ourselves more often . On one hand, if you’re in your thirties, you probably remember land lines and pen pals. I remember watching the entire countdown on MTV just to see my favourite Michael Jackson video at number one.
Without YouTube, we had to sit through all the other music too, which sometimes took all afternoon. And then when I wanted more, I would put on my MJ album, but be bursting at the seams to dance harder, knowing I couldn’t because it would make the record skip.
Ahhh, the good ol’ days.
There are the memories and there are the things I’m glad are in the past. I’m grateful for technology but I’m also grateful for vacations from it so I can get some perspective.
For me right now, I think I’m still trying to hang on to a little more of my disconnected life. Cuba reminded me so much of life before technology and social media ruled my time. And while I have no interest in going backwards or cutting out social media out completely I am making a commitment to be more aware of when I choose to have my head down.
Are you having this debate? Are you condemning technology on one hand but addicted to its conveniences on the other?
I’d say, before condemning technology, see what your experience as a thirtysomething can bring to it. For example, online dating may seem unnatural, so how can you add some good old fashioned charm to the conversation or make her feel like you can transport her to a simpler time? Go with the flowers or the mixed tape (or playlist), call instead of text, know where you’re going so you don’t need GPS.
What are your beliefs about social media? Does it make us more or less social? Does it make YOU more or less social? When are other times you could make a phone call instead of sending a text or email?
OR, when could you send a personal email instead of resending a meme?
I’d love to get a personal email for you about your thoughts and questions. Contrary to what I said about technology, I AM ready to get to work with new clients, starting next week.
If you’re ready to get your priorities straight and start being the success you’ve always wanted to be, get in touch today! We’ll chat about where you’d like to go this next year and create an action plan to get you there whether it’s in your career, dating or spiritual life.
Let’s chat today – firstname.lastname@example.org
For more info visit ashewoodward.com