It’s been well over a month since I’ve gone screen free in the evenings. My phone sits on the counter far, far away from my reach. I don’t even think of sitting down at the computer to get lost and tangled up in the interwebs, I stay out of the t.v. room. I follow the 6:00 technology curfew that I read about on a friend’s blog.
I like to think my brain appreciates the break from all things screen, especially given the possibility of these negative effects. So what have I been doing instead of staring at a screen in the evening?
I’ve lost myself in books lately and have found the zone. It’s awesome. I feel like I’m a kid again, totally engrossed in the worlds of the characters who I read about. In some cases my heart has been pulled out of my chest. You know the saying, “My heart goes out to you.” Such was the case when I read about Bone in Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina. I found such satisfaction watching Lisbeth Salander serve up justice in Stieg Larson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I was surprised to find Amy Poehler as a kindred spirit, reading her essays in Yes Please. I fired up my Goodreads account (morning updates during on screen time–technology as a tool, yay moderation) that had been stagnant since 2009.
I’m able to invest myself in books more, since my brain’s attention span is building up from time away from the internet superhighway and lightening speed social media platforms in general.
I’m a fan of walking in general, I like the pace and seeing my neighborhood in a way that’s impossible through the window of a car. One evening after dinner, K and I took some dice on our walk and left direction to chance (roll of 1-2 left, 3-4 straight, 5-6 right). Each roll relieved my excited anticipation, I love when joy appears unexpected.
Some friends invited K and me to join them for dinner and an evening at Lakeside Amusement Park. That place is magic. They seemingly haven’t made any aesthetic updates in decades. And there is a real element of fear when you’re riding the Wild Chipmunk, I don’t think they allow rides like that to be built these days. Bonus: we witnessed a poor kid projectile vomit. No screen comes close to capturing the sound and smell of in-person projectile vomit!
I’ve been listening to stories told at The Narrators events since the shows took place at Paris on the Platte. Every time I leave a show, I feel like my soul has been replenished. In the context of my screen free evenings, I found myself valuing the true stories told by people at this month’s event, even more so than usual. There was a sacredness to parts of this month’s show. The theme was “Crushed” and a few of the storytellers were so open with their hearts, I found myself feeling like I was witness to part of their healing process, part of their personal transformation. I feel deep gratitude for them sharing themselves, unfiltered and raw. They displayed the type of courage that’s rarely recognized. It’s more matter of fact than guns blazing. And they did it with skill and grace. I’ve been witness to people’s personal healing in inappropriate arenas (they are the trainer and are sharing personal stories that don’t connect at all to the content of the training and it feels like they are getting free therapy from a room full of strangers). The storytellers that left an impression on me Wednesday evening spoke from the heart and offered incredibly insightful, sage advice.
My screen free evenings will continue, it’s a habit I’m happy to have started. Life is about balance and I get plenty of screen time during the day and on the weekends. I like interacting with the physical world around me too much to be looking at screens, constantly thinking about the past or the future. I enjoy being in the moment. The moment is off screen.