What I learnt from a technology shutdown

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Turn off your phone and the whole world grinds to a halt. A few moments where friends aren’t a swipe away; where we are forced to use our minds instead of a search engine, where we look at each other’s faces instead of a screen… I admit it: the thought of being alone, cooped up in a room with strangers without a scrap of technology as a distraction scares me..and it’s ridiculous.

So, I embarked upon a technology shutdown. There is something relaxing about knocking my phone onto silent and tucking it away in a room, away from my eye line and (probably) imminent boredom-scrolling. And ashamedly, it was harder than I thought. I felt like an addict being torn away from a supply- but in my rock-and-roll scenario, it was my iPhone 4 – yes, not even a 5. #livinginthefastlane

Here’s what I learnt from my technology hiatus:

Achievements aren’t gauged by how many ‘likes’ you get

I don’t know about you, but one compliment or vague flirt to my face sends me into a stupid girly frenzy – I throw out “You too” and “So are you!” like there is no tomorrow.

Transfer me to an online platform, though, and you’ll catch me feeling sheepish when I have no comments, let alone anything less than a double-digit ‘likes’ on a post. After perfecting, editing and honing what I post I feel it almost deserves appreciation. Yet when we do something funny or clever in real life, we all accept an immediate giggle and move on. Jokes aren’t immortalised and moments are forgotten – put them on Facebook and you stand to be judged forever. Forget it.

If you shout out in a job interview that yesterday’s photo of your cat got 20 ‘likes,’ they aren’t going to drop to the floor in amazement and offer you the job there and then. (Unless the cat photo is actually amazing, in which cause you should open by showing them the picture and work from there.)

You can’t live in a frozen snapshot of life

We spend outrageous amounts of time perfecting poses, swiping through filters and cropping out selfie-arms, all in the name of vanity. The culture is ridiculous. People walk past us in the street and we can’t stop to pose, hold a glowing light and tell them to keep their eyes above our waist because “it’s more flattering that way.”

Why, when stunted in a frozen image, do we all feel the need to amplify our looks? Once all the posing is done, we just have our actual unfiltered faces to fall back on, and we should never have to think “is that enough?”

It’s OK to be sad

Scroll through your past Facebook statuses– how often is it you find anything other than good news; a happy moment or a celebration of something you want to remember? Struggling to find anything that is sad, or vaguely detrimental to you? Me too. Because we are way more likely to post the “I helped an old lady across the street today #goodsamaritan” post than the “I just accidentally upset someone because I said I didn’t like their coat” post.

I will continue to vet what I post so I don’t look like a belligerent idiot online, but we have to understand that everyone else does this too. We are not alone in scoping out the best bits of our life and cherry picking our updates – just realize that when you have a bad day, everyone else has probably had something lame happen too. We just don’t share it. And that’s OK.

There is no back space for a face-to-face conversation

In real life, we can’t backspace our conversations–no matter how hard we try.

We speak in a stream of consciousness, words tumbling as we piece lines together bit by bit. We can’t prescribe how conversations will form or dictate the outcome, but we act on impulse and build off reaction. There are no screens to hide behind.

Living without technology made me realize it’s a blessing and curse to have so much free reign over editing. Being able to dissect and pull apart sentences may feel safer in the moment, but sometimes, things are just better when they are not pre-planned.

Image via We Heart It

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Lucy is an actor from the UK who likes to flounce about on the internet blogging away mindlessly about clothes. She's graduated from university, spent too much of her student loan, cried over boys, cried over the loss of her student discount and fallen off a bike - all life changing and shaping moments - and she likes to write down a few stories here and there because someone, somewhere, might have a little giggle at them.