Roger Cohen’s op-ed today and his piece last week resonate strongly with me, as I’m sure they do with most non-grandparents of today. Not only do I agree that oversharing abounds on twitter, facebook, instagram…but I’m certainly guilty of it. I hate it, yet I thrive on it. At least once daily I delete the facebook app on my phone, hours later re-installing it, devoid of self-control. I turn off my phone and throw it in my backpack, 13 minutes later turning it back on to check my texts, which I rarely have. While at work, my chrome is littered with open tabs – my work gmail, personal gmail (maybe a friend will chat me?), facebook (is there a little red notification?!), occasionally this blog so as to refresh the stats graph, and sometimes twitter. I’m always checking something, a true victim of status anxiety; I’m fully aware of it, despise it, yet fail to cease. It turns into small competitions with myself – how long can I last without looking at my phone or facebook…once I finish this email, I’m allowed to peak. Hi, my name is Caroline and I have an addiction.
Cohen quotes an excerpt from his father’s high school magazine written in 1938:
In one sense distance has been annihilated. We speed on the wings of the wind and carry in our hands weapons more dreadful than the lightning.
Stress is self-imposed. Why do we do this to ourselves?! Facebook paints an alarmingly fake, perfectionist image of who we are, lacking photos we deem unattractive of ourselves, instead inflated with pictures in which we think we look cool, fun, interesting, irresistible – a highlight reel morphed to resemble daily life. Technology truly is addicting.
A couple of weekends ago, I woke up Saturday morning yearning to escape – leaving my phone at home, I hopped in my car and travelled across the bridge to Tennessee Valley, one of my favorite trailheads near Mill Valley, choosing the muddier paths to stomp in and sprinting downhill like I was flying. I concluded my technology respit with a visit to my favorite far-away grocery store. Upon returning home, I could breathe more freely, my mind clear.
Yesterday, I had the day off, and hopped on my bike setting out to explore the Marin Headlands – no exact route in mind. While I did have my phone with me (safety precaution), I decided to go without music – just me and my gorgeous surroundings. As my dad would say, “Look at the beauty!” My three hour ride turned out to be one of the most fun days I’ve had in the city. I rode through the seemingly never-ending tunnel of death, discovered war bunkers and forts, ventured through a lighthouse from the 1850s, and watched seals flap around on rocks…but I plead guilty, I did post pictures to facebook and uploaded an instagram, and this post will be shared to facebook and twitter…