Monday, March 14, 2011

The Saddest Addiction of All

This title peaked my interest and I streamlined it looking to see where in the web I fell and what spots I might fall victim to: Why Technology is So Addictive, and How You Can Avoid Tech Burnout

I'm constantly evaluating technology and my use of it.

Some might say I'm in denial but really I don't feel I have an addictive problem with technology or the Internet. I still ask my children to do simple things for me...turn on the television and load apps onto my iphone. If I was addicted I'd already know how to do these simple things.

I do appreciate technology and really love the Internet but, in evaluating my usage of these things, I've read what past Popes have said about Communication and what Pope Benedict XVI has written about the Internet.

And I've made conscious choices. And I'm deliberately aware of those choices.

I see all this technological communication as something humans feel drawn to do...communicate with one another...and I see it as an upscaled form of the telegraph machine and telephone. It's quicker. Nothing wrong with that. I don't see us pulling away from others. If anything, we are being drawn more intimately together.

It's the multitasking that hinders us the most, not the form of communication.

The part of this article that rang the most with me was this:

"Never Apologize

"Maybe you've said something like this before: "Hey so and so. Sorry I didn't answer the phone/your text. I get bad reception at the gym." In that scenario, you'd have not only apologized for being unavailable during exercise but for your phone's inability to get you the message immediately. At some point we've probably all apologized for missing a call/text/email even when we've responded in a short amount of time. If this is a frequent action for you, you're a slave to immediacy. Stop apologizing and welcome the freedom of responding when you can and when you feel like it. If you create the expectation that you're not always going to respond at the precise moment of the call/email/text, people will begin to assume that you'll respond when you can. You don't want to neglect your friends, family, and coworkers by not responding for long periods of time, but you do want to let everyone know that you respond on your time. Breaking free of these social obligations will help you feel fewer obligations to constantly check for messages."

* * * * *

It was the first time someone over the Internet told me that I was correct in feeling that no one else is as entitled to my time and space as much as I am.

The exception here is my family. I will answer to all six immediate members of my family. That little realm expands to any calls that read Oma and MawMaw Red. Outside of that tight, very intentional, circle, lies my decision as to how much I want to open myself up to someone else's time and energy and needs.

Not that I don't care about others. Not that I don't want to help them. Or that I won't answer their call or call them back. But it comes back to expectations. I wrote about those expectations. I am not, contrary to what people think, a high energy person. I need my space...lots of it...and my down time.

I don't think my immediate family realizes how much I need, because I am always available to them. I have stretched myself, opened myself, and pressed myself to come to the point where I am today. No one knows how much.

It's not my fault I'm this way. I blame it on God. ;-)

Opening myself completely to that intentional family circle leaves little energy for the expectation and ringings of others.

But there is still a part of me that I cannot completely give up nor does God expect me to. If He expected me to, He wouldn't have made me this way.

And that is why I never apologize for missing calls/emails/texts. I hope this doesn't sound selfish or rude but, in fact, people have used exactly those words in referring to people who don't answer their phone/emails/texts right away.

And I think that is coyishly selfish and rude of the accusers. Thus the accusations and expectations become a constant battle of etiquette.

For me that is the saddest addiction of all.


  1. Hey Cay-- I'm with you!! This resonates with me on many, many levels :) I don't answer my phone during school hours and while I try to answer all emails, texts and calls in a reasonably timely manner, I don't rush off to do so quickly. I'm a better person when I take my time and address each person and request when I have the concentration and energy to do so well. God bless you! :) T.

  2. I wanted to come back and thank you for this post, Cay! I read it the other day, and it is still on my mind. Keeping up with emails is a huge challenge for me, and lately I seem to start almost every email with "I am so sorry for taking so long to get back to you. . . " This was JUST what I have been needing to read. God bless!


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