I've been home a little over a week and I'm sorry to say I've returned to my American style of living. In Europe, I never turned on a television. A few nights I watched movies, but for the most part when I took down time it was spent devouring delicious books or going for walks. Since I've been home I've found that hours have been lost catching up on Grey's Anatomy or Private Practice. Last night, instead of making a delicious dinner and enjoying it with a glass of wine out on my patio, I made a quick burrito and sat down in front of my computer perusing the internet with no goal in mind. How did this happen? How has this little box of a computer sucked me into its realm of entertainment? At one point, I watched five episodes of Parenthood. I tell myself that I'm tired from my trip or that I'm overwhelmed with the paperwork from the break-in. I excuse my behavior with the idea that after three months of intensity I deserve to go brain-dead for a time. The truth is, I'm not happy when I'm sitting in front of the computer letting it take over my mind. It feels wrong and a part of me fights, but still I give in.
I realized while I was traveling how wonderful it was to relinquish the need to be on the computer. I had an hour at most every few days. I had to be efficient: I updated the blog and facebook, checked my email and responded, downloaded my finances, and even booked parts of my trip. When I had the internet available for twenty-four hours something happened. I found myself downloading movies, talking on skype and being drawn into the cyber-world. There were moments that I stared at the screen thinking that there must be more for me to do while I had internet. I wasted time that should've been spent enjoying a glass of wine or going outside.
When I received the compensation from the insurance company for my break-in, I immediately began shopping on the internet to replace my items. After three hours of research, my brain was overloaded with pricing, product information, and shipping costs. Then I did something extraordinary, I went to the store. In less than an hour, a wonderful salesman helped me to buy all the products for my office and even brought down the prices so that newer, better products would fit into my budget. The sad part was that I kept wondering if I was paying too much since it wasn't on the internet.
Today, I realized how bad our world's addiction to technology has become. As I was telling my friend how I've lost the person I became on my trip, he was scrolling on his smartphone and only half listening to what I said.
This journey to pursue my dreams is about living life to the fullest. It's about tasting all that this world has to offer. I've realized that for me, the computer is like eating corn syrup and high fructose, the more I have the more I can't stop.
I know the internet is a wonderful thing. I can book trips, connect with people around the globe, inspire people to follow their dreams, and so much more. But it has to have it's place. For me, that means limiting myself to what needs to get done and then placing it away and going out and really living.