THE BALANCING ACT

We live in an age where the world seems to move at a faster pace every day. More and more of our society is becoming influenced by technology including jobs, entertainment, and even how we order at a fast food restaurant. Information can spread across the entire world in seconds and in some places you can have a package delivered by a drone in a day.

Many of these technological advancements provide us direct convenience on a day to day basis. Who doesn’t enjoy having Shake Shack delivered on a 0 degree Chicago afternoon and not having to endure that climate yourself (please don’t forget to tip your PostMate). How about having a Honda Civic arrive at your doorstep with the tap of a button, ready to take you anywhere as long as it’s under a 4-hour drive. The realm of what’s at your fingertips seems endless and is growing at faster rates than ever before.

Living in a world that is changing and evolving at this pace naturally causes us as humans to evolve and adapt to it. Even my mother who 5 years ago was afraid to touch a computer out of fear she would break it is now googling how to change the floor tiling in her apartment. Though the benefits of this immediate access to information can appear as endless, how much does our reliance on this affect our inherit qualities as humans?

Having an app for pretty much every aspect of our day to day living can easily turn what starts as a convenience into somewhat of a dependence. I sometimes find myself having Waze navigate a 10-minute drive to a grocery store I frequent regularly. Is avoiding 3 minutes of traffic that serious or have I become a creature of habit? My co-workers and I regularly joke about how there are times when we go to open our phones to look something up and 5 minutes later find ourselves scrolling through our Instagram timelines without even realizing we’re doing it. I mean I might put that time-lapse of a “30 Minute Home Workout To Turn You Into A Babe Magnet By June” to use, but am I really trying to be anyone’s magnet these days? Nah, I’m good.

It starts to become painfully obvious we may need balance in how much we rely on technology in our day to day living. This is especially evident since Apple released its Screen Time app telling us how and when we are using apps on our phone on a weekly basis. When I have seen my first Screen Time notification it felt as if my phone was deciding to have an intervention with me at 6:00 am in the morning while simultaneously blaring an alarm in my ear telling me to wake up. Who are you, my mother? It’s been just over 12 years since the first iPhone was released, which when put in perspective wasn’t long ago at all. This meaning our reliance on devices is only bound to increase unless we take preventative measures.

Not to get into my New Year’s resolution bag (simply because I don’t want to be “That Guy”) but if I had to pick, my biggest one was to create more. Making things has always been something that brought me joy, and I’m lucky enough to work in an industry where I get paid to create every day. Though this job brings me a ton of fulfillment and constantly pushes and challenges me, I also need to create for myself. Not only does this bring me personal joy, but also strengthens my creative muscle and makes me better at what I do professionally. This could be designing a poster, writing or dabbling in photography. I seem to find myself frequently admiring other creatives for their work on social media, and as great as it is to be inspired you’re never going to get better unless you put that inspiration into practice and create yourself.

This for me is how I replace time spent on my device into something more meaningful and impactful. Finding something you care about, or something that brings you joy and figuring out how to amplify that. Maybe this means having more time in the evening with your family and setting a “No Screen Time” where everyone engages over a board game. Or it could be putting that “30 Minute Babe Magnet” workout to use (just don’t do it for the gram). Our devices are powerful tools that connect us and bring us closer to the unimaginable, but in that same instant can separate us from the things that really matter. So let’s make sure those things always matter.