Ronna Fisher, Assistant and Content Editor
As a young recluse, I would spend whole Saturdays reading. I would sit in one chair all day, reading voraciously through book after book, never moving except for meals or to pick up another book. When in high school, I was the friend who would never reply to text messages because my phone was lost; I never really used it. My facebook use was limited to approximately once a month. I could become lost in a movie or novel, barely recognizing the sound of my name being called.
Now, when forced to focus on one thing at a time, I find myself checking the time on my phone frequently, restless. A two hour movie, whether absolutely amazing or not, seems as if to last forever. In class, I find every fiber of my being calling out to my laptop or phone, wishing to “multi-task,” even though I know that science has shown it is impossible. At very busy times, I have even found myself completely connected: cell phone in right hand, kindle fire in left and laptop in front of me, all plugged in and charging because of my excessive, draining use.
And the more I have found myself connected to the wonders of technology, the more I have found myself struggling to focus or enjoy one thing at a time. Because of increasing amounts of schoolwork, I have fallen into the habit of not being able to watch a movie or a TV show without my laptop on top of my lap, homework or email open.
To me, this means two things: 1) I need to feel connected. The other day I was unable to use my laptop for about thirty minutes, and as I waited for that time to end, I realized that I almost literally could do nothing without it. I could not check email. I could not do homework. I could not watch TV. I could not even read the Bible. I did not know what to do with myself without it. Luckily, I had my phone to play a rousing game of solitaire, but without my phone, I would not be surprised if I just broke. I felt purposeless.
2) This constant need to feel as if I must be doing something (even if that something is just scrolling through iwastesomuchtime.com) has limited my capability to enjoy. I can barely sit and read a good book for thirty minutes before my mind starts restlessly wandering to my ongoing list of things to do. I do not know what would happen if I had to just sit alone with my thoughts for thirty minutes or longer. The mind is scary place. No wonder solitary is a punishment in prison.
College has changed me, mostly for the better–except for this inability to enjoy one thing at a time, to focus or be alone with my thoughts. It is probably time for me to become friends with silence, with my racing mind. It is time for me to begin the process of reverting to my days of youth. I want to become less connected with technology, with doing, and more connected with myself, with one thing at a time, with living.
Any suggestions? I’m having a hard time focusing on coming up with solutions while checking email, texting my sister and catching up with the newest episode of Modern Family.