We moved to the countryside a year ago. We escaped from Planet Thanet, the overcrowding and the constant noise of cars, buses and pubs. We secured a garden, a garage and the smells of rural living. We were gearing up for a wonderful year of adventures, both near and far. Then a pandemic swept across the world and screwed everyone’s plans up.
Our neighbours, although somewhat noisy at times, are kind and generous. They made us feel welcome. I slept better than I had in years, Karta had a place to play and got his first full-sized trampoline. When the lockdown came, we were glad that we were in a house and not trapped in a top floor flat. We had space, a place for projects and relaxing, and we were able to lock the outside world away.
The move to Wingham has been a challenge financially. Without the help of generous family members, we would not have been able to break-away from the situation in which we had found ourselves. But, let’s not dwell on that. We have been incredibly lucky to find this place, and while there is always the chance that things can change for us at a moments notice, I have learned to take each day as it comes, focus on what is right in front of me and not getting caught up in what-ifs and maybes.
I have continued my work as club secretary at the local youth football club, despite my lack of interest in the sport. Being somewhat closer to the club has made the job a little easier, but there are challenges to overcome. My wife thinks that I have been spending far too much time running the club and feels that I should take the time to focus on other things, like work and educating our son. I think that she might be right?
The plans that I had made with my son, to take nim to several of the big indoor skateparks across the country also failed to materialise. Covid has cancelled all of those venues. It’s a shame because since taking our son out of school to educate him at home, he has shown a greater interest in riding his scooter as a form of exercise. Most of his friends are scooter riders too, so not being able to see them has been hard on him.
Lockdown gave a chance to reflect on what is truly important to me. It also gave me time to work out the changes that I need to make over the coming weeks and months that will provide me with the tools that I need to live the rest of my life in a happy and fulfilling way. My relationship with technology is unhealthy. I spend most of my days with some screen in front of me. I have read several books that detail ways of reducing my reliance on invasive tech. Now I need to put that information to use.
Fuck me; I sound like a stuck record. You only have to go back over my blog posts to see just what a hypocrite I am. I am the procrastinator general, the prince of “I’ll do it soon”! It appears to me that I will have to take the cold turkey approach to this situation. I have to be radical if I am going to break my technology addictions. Let me explain what I am going to do.
A TECH ADDICTION MANIFESTO
- Quit all social media and delete the associated accounts.
- Only check my emails twice per day, once in the AM and PM.
- Stop taking my smartphone out with me.
- Turn off my smartphone at 6 pm each day and keep it off and in a faraday bag for at least 12 hours.
- Use my compact digital camera for taking photos and making short videos.
- Write in my journal using pen and ink.
- Only post a maximum of two articles on any of my blogs per day.
- Limit the amount of TV that I watch each day, maybe 3 hours is enough?
- Read more books.
- Take a tech-free walk every day.
So there it is. My plan to reduce my reliance on tech and the pervasive way social media has invaded my life. I want to go back to a life of simplicity, only using tech for research and work. The digital world will not miss me.
There is a storm on the horizon, a second surge in the first wave of the pandemic that will cause even further disruption to our lives and livelihoods. I will spend the winter avoiding the plague, working on my fitness and the relationships that I have with my nearest and dearest friends and family. I will be a good neighbour, and I will do everything that I can to keep my family safe and well. It won’t be easy, but we will survive.
Until next time, adieu.