Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Upside Of The Stress Of Keeping Up In A Digital World

It’s not easy keeping up in a digital world.

You take off for a week - to a location where internet service is unstable - not to mention expensive. The withdrawal gives you the shakes. You find yourself distracted in conversation, your hand keeps reaching for that iPhone, certain there is something important happening inside of it that you can’t get to. You worry your business might suffer and no one will sign up for your June workshops because you are suddenly absent from Twitter and haven’t blogged in a week. That fear you are missing out on something happening somewhere else is getting in the way of where you are. You keep hearing Agapi and her sister Arianna Huffington reminding you of what their mother used to say  - “don’t miss the moment” - but you realize you probably are anyway.

It takes a few days and slowly but surely, the stress subsides. The sunshine, the blue skies, the sand and the sound of the ocean win out. The views are breathtaking. A camera cannot do it justice.  Everywhere you turn you are surrounded by family and friends, some new, some old. There is laughter and conversation - the live and in person kind - not the texting kind. Joy and love fills the air - after all you are here to celebrate the marriage of two wonderful young people who found their soul mates. You dance under the stars to a live band and feel transported to that time not so long ago - before technology had overrun your life and it was still possible to hide from the rest of the world.

You come back - relaxed and tan and happy and yes - a little bit excited to sit in front of your computer and catch up and get back to the work you love.

But within hours you’re overwhelmed. 

There are 500 unopened emails in your inbox, most of which are junk, but you have to go through anyway in case an important one is hidden in the bunch. You vow to unsubscribe to them all even though you know you won’t. Your page views on your blog have shrunk. All those creative ideas that were running through your head on what to write next while you were sitting under the shade of an umbrella negotiating with a local for that multicolored sarong with the sequins that caught your eye has suddenly disappeared into the ether. LinkedIn reminds you it has “been 8 days…since your last update. Share something new to stay top of mind.” The 8 days are written in bold red.

You start to wonder if you really do love all this technology as much as you think you do. You question if you can really keep up or if you even want to.

Then you sign on to Facebook and notice you have new friend requests from the people you just met. Those same people are sharing pictures from the big group vacation instigated by this destination wedding. People are commenting and liking and you get to relive each moment. 

You can’t stop smiling. 

And you remember - this is why you keep up. This is why you love all these social networks and digital tools. For the connections that get to continue when face to face is not an option. 

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