An unfortunate incident over the summer spelled the end for my iPhone, and with it a communication route that for the past few years I had pretty much taken for granted. For the first few days, managing without it felt like the metaphorical losing a limb, but sitting in the pub a couple of evenings later it started to feel as if a subtle source of stress had been taken out of my life; a liberating feeling of being able to interact with the world on my terms for a change. To cut a long story short, I have now also closed down my Facebook account, which had come to represent a constant source of distraction and a growing intrusion of the commercial world into my private life. There is little else to be said about this really, other than that the novelty had long since worn off and I no longer found it a pleasant place to be. Breaking my phone turned out to be the push I needed.
The reaction amongst friends was mixed. Some were puzzled, some offered encouragement and said they were doing the same, others called it “suicide”, but it was never my life.
For my generation, social networks and permanently available internet connections have become such a part of the way we interact that it seems strange to think back to life without them. However, for the past few years I have been making a conscious effort to simplify my life in a number of ways. The constant bombardment of information, much of it of little relevance, is something I don’t need. This isn’t to say that I’m getting rid of these things entirely but we all have busy lives and, more than ever, I feel that we need to make conscious decisions as to how we choose to spend our time.
Outside and everything is changing. The nights are drawing in, the leafy lanes of a few weeks ago now crunch with hazelnuts and the owls are out by the time I finish my evening run. Sometimes it’s important to simply switch off and live in the moment.