Screens make me smile. Innovative 8K television screens, phone screens, the Big Screen, IMAX and the now ubiquitous 4K screens on anything and everything. Screens are my life. It’s one of the first things I see when I wake up. It’s one of the last things I see when I go to bed. I’m not alone in this. It’s become universally accepted.
Here’s the thing. It’s not always healthy. Too much of a good thing and all.
What’s the solution?
Well, like with a lot of things, the solution might be too hard to bite off and chew all at one time. It’s better to start and build than to blowup and burnout.
Enter Screen-Free Week. This year from April 30 to May 6, there’s an opportunity to try something revolutionary. Something that could lead to a better version of yourself. Something that could energize and empower you. Screenfree.org is leading the charge. Check them out!
Is it just an uphill battle? Are the gravitational forces of blissed out phones and multi-million pixel televisions just too much to overcome?
Since the dawn of time, humanity has lived without pixels. As a species, we’ve survived complexities too vast for comprehension. We’ve lived under the sun, moon and stars. We’ve eaten from the bounty of the earth. We’ve developed capacious language skills. We’ve breathed in clean air. We’ve dreamed. We’ve imagined. We’ve worked the soil. We’ve been part of the dynamic range of all living things. Ninety-nine point ninety-nine percent of our time on this planet has been without screens. We’ve managed pretty well.
But, I’m no Luddite. Screens are the future. Our medical technology is advancing at a life-changing pace. Our automobile technology is set for a revolution in locomotion. Mars is within reach. Humans are thriving. Screens are here. Thank goodness for that!
At the same time we’re thriving, we’re also writhing in loneliness, anxiety and unhappiness. We’re just on the tiny glimmering edges of dawn on this. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up. In the cosmic scheme, our screens are as fresh as the first sounds of a newborn’s cry of introduction to the world.
So, there’s ample reason to want to navigate our technology better. We want better futures. We want better relationships. We want better neighbors and neighborhoods … better cities and citizens.
Isn’t that worth a little experiment? I think it is. So, here’s the challenge. Here’s the gauntlet that is being thrown down.
During Screen-Free Week, let’s try some new things. Let’s be the adventurers that we’re alive to be. Let’s you and me do things differently … just for a week:
0 Let’s have one day this week where we go completely screen-free. Consider it your screen-free cleanse. If you have no choice at work, that’s okay; but sometimes we have more freedom to be screen-free at work that we might imagine. To the extent that you have the freedom, go without for one whole day.
0 Let’s have two days this week where we do not wake up to or go to sleep with a screen. That’s TV, computers, phones, tablets … the whole universe of digital delights are set aside two days this week so that our eyes can be open to our children, our partner, our passion, our purpose.
0 Let’s have three days this week where we don’t check our texts during a conversation with a friend, co-worker or even stranger. Let’s be available to the real people in our lives a little more and available to the digital people in our lives a little less.
0 Let’s have four days this week where we don’t binge watch our favorite streaming service. Ouch! Yes, this one hurts. I love my Netflix! That’s okay. We don’t have to give up our favorite shows. For one week, let’s slow the pace and see what happens.
0 Let’s have five days this week where at least one meal is with our phones on silent and in another room. There’s research that indicates that even if a phone is in your sight, you are prone to do worse in engaging with information. What more important information is there than the people with whom you share your table?
I’ll stop there. The other two days are for you to be creative and energized to try something new and different. And, this is the basic story. We have an exquisite reality that surrounds us. Let’s not let the virtual reality in front of us extinguish the flame of humanity that burns within us.
Happy Screen-Free Week! Enjoy!
Richard Singleton, MACE, MAMFC, LPC, is the president of STARRY in Round Rock.