All members of the Walker Four are now equipped with iPhones — Eric finally broke. The best part was seeing Johanna’s face when we gave her that box because it wasn’t even remotely on her radar. Abby immediately set up group chat threads. Eric immediately started complaining about all the notifications received from said group chat threads. 😉
It’s funny how, being without a smart phone for literally years, we have all quickly adapted to the new technology.
Driving around and need directions? Siri can help with that!
Bored in the waiting room and wanting to kill some time? Word games!
Funny thing happening at home that Abby needs to know about? Snapchat!
But I’m old enough to remember a time when phones were connected to the wall and you actually had to be home to answer — no call waiting, no message service. You had to sit there and talk because the cord only allowed you to go so far.
I’m also old enough to remember a time when we would actually pay attention to the people around us. Get this: We would eat a meal or play a game or just have a conversation and that was ALL WE WERE DOING.
I know, crazy. Even crazier? We could work on a project and not be interrupted by bells and whistles and our own sense of boredom. We could focus.
I can no longer focus.
Looking at myself here, I’ve been thinking a lot about input — what I take in — vs. output — what I create. The cards are stacked in favor of input. I spend an awful lot of time just cruising around news apps, Twitter, Instagram, playing word games and checking out daily featured apps, and at the end of those countless hours, I can’t even remember what I’ve read or learned.
Probably because I’ve learned nothing. Or at least nothing worth retaining. But I have managed to get myself worked up over some stupid something that I have zero control over.
Why do I do that to myself?
What if I focused on output instead?
It’s an interesting concept: Create more than you consume. Is that even possible? I have no idea, but my September goal is to find out.
I’ve broken it down like this:
Input that makes me feel bad about myself
- Facebook (especially our newspaper page because the comments are generally terrible)
- Unfiltered news pages that are more entertainment and shock value than actual news
- Unfocused scrolling time
- Playing games
Input that I enjoy and value
- Snapchat because it’s Abby’s primary method of communicating
- FaceTime conversations because ditto
- Reading blogs and real newspapers (aka papers, not screens)
Output that I enjoy
- Working on my 365 project, which is basically a memory a day for a year … that I’ve been working on for like five years because sometimes I don’t want to remember
- Working on The Simple Year draft
- Writing news stories for work
- Cooking (hashtag question mark because I’m kind of over cooking but also I like to eat)
- Conversations and time with Johanna and Eric
- Decluttering and cleaning (well, when it’s over and I can see progress)
Possibly I’ll add to these lists as the month goes on. It strikes me as ironic that I KNOW the inputs that make me feel like a terrible person and waste all my time and keep me from doing the things I actually value, but I DO THOSE THINGS ANYWAY.
I choose that.
Output makes me feel less scattered and more focused. I feel more grounded. I am calmer because I can release pent up thoughts and emotions when I’m able to be creative — I can let go. I am able to detach from what really doesn’t need my bandwidth. And I feel more gratitude and less … like I’m being put out, put upon, asked to give up too much mental and physical space.
Input that I enjoy — the books and coffee and blogs (like those by our friends Chris N and SarahN) seems to produce those same outcomes / feelings of wellbeing / sense of connectedness. Input that is just noise does the opposite.
Well, I’ve journaled about this and said it out loud on the blog, so I guess I have to do it.
Wish me luck.
And tell me your experiences or thoughts.