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Take a Vacation from Your Laptop: Life Goes On After You Log Off

By Brittany Rubio 

I am sure you’ve seen the video "I Forgot My Phone" posted on your Facebook wall, reblogged on Tumblr or on Vimeo’s actual site. If you haven’t yet, take a look, and let it sink in. 

How do you feel now? Is your phone burning guiltily in your pocket? Do you have the intense desire to bury your laptop and call your mom? Maybe you want to go outside and take a long, pensive walk while you rethink the way you live your life? 

Most of Our Lives are Spent Looking at Screens 

Most of us wake up to an alarm on our phone, and every morning we grab it, and stare it groggily in the face as if the time displayed is some sort of joke. We return to the world and once we’ve overcome sleep, we’re checking our email for updates from the office, we’re checking Facebook for notifications on that photo we posted last night, we’re glancing to see if anyone retweeted us or “liked” something we wrote on our blog. And when we wind down as the sun sets, we turn on the television and indulge in that quirky crime drama or curl up with some takeout while we binge marathon Breaking Bad on Netflix because that’s all anyone is talking about these days. 

And sometimes, after checking everything, we forget to check in with ourselves. We begin to see our world through Instagram filters and forget what it’s like to actually watch the sun setting. While technology effortlessly keeps us tethered to our loved ones, keeps us informed about the world, and provides us with means of finding art and entertainment, it can also distract us from experiencing life in the moment. 

Creating Positive Personas on Virtual World

Mediums such as Facebook provide us with platforms of creating positive personas of ourselves, but have you ever scrolled through your newsfeed --glancing through photos of friends at parties, updates about landing dream jobs, and all of those relationship statuses-- and felt vaguely dissatisfied with your life? The problem with these positive personas is that they provide us with limited views of others’ lives and we begin to compare ourselves to half-truths. We don’t see the moments when our friends are feeling down or decide to have a quiet night in. We begin to believe our lives need constant stimulation and documentation. 

Missing What is Right in Front of Us 

It’s all too easy to lose yourself in the number of likes you can rack up, and technology is often a means of immediate social satisfaction. We lose the ability to entertain or even think for ourselves. We stream videos from the front row of concerts and constantly check to see if our post has received any attention instead of watching what is right in front of us. We lose interest in daily occurrences unless we can Snapchat them. We recollect events as we saw them through a screen instead of through our own eyes. 

Overstimulating the Brain with Technology 

Technology’s constant presence helps our productivity, but multitasking can over-stimulate the brain to the point that all focus is lost. We search the internet with a handful of tabs open and we cycle through them constantly, elongating the time it takes to get any one thing done. 

Think back to a time when you were writing a paper for a class or completing a task for work; you had your email tab open, right? And Facebook? Twitter? Your blog? A clothing store you were thinking of purchasing a new peacoat from? Gifsets of cats being adorable? Chances are, this describes your laptop screen as you are reading this right now (and, incidentally, my own laptop as I write this). We are all guilty of wanting more, whether it be information, entertainment, or feedback from others. But we need to take a step back and register how we feel, individually, and remember that reality is still happening whether or not it is on the internet. Only then will we be able to truly appreciate every aspect of both our real and virtual worlds. 

Take a Vacation from Your Laptop

We live in a miraculous time where information is available to almost anyone and the numbers are growing; there is no limit to what we can learn, share or discover. But we if we can’t focus on these individual miracles, or even ourselves, we cannot fully appreciate just how lucky we are. 

Take a vacation from your laptop. Break up with your phone, tablet, and your DVR. It’s time to see other people. It’s time to discover ourselves. It’s time to explore the world again. 

Go for a walk and use only your eyes to witness the world around you. Experience moments that you share only with yourself; and if you do decide to share it, then let it happen through natural conversation with a friend you meet face-to-face over lunch. Remember what it smells like late at night when the world is quiet and pay attention to just how bright the stars are. Savor the first bite of that gourmet burger you just ordered and share the bliss with your taste buds. Open a book whose smell brings you back to book fairs in elementary school and lose yourself in another world. Remember what it’s like to be alive. Life continues even when you log off. 

It may be overused, but Ben Parker was right when he told a would-be Spiderman that “with great power comes great responsibility.” Technology grants us the ability to do unbelievable things and provides us with the tools needed in order to accomplish the world’s next phenomenon. But it is up to us to keep ourselves grounded, to take care of ourselves, and to use this technology in a healthy and positive way. Stepping away from these things not only reminds us to live life to its intended fullest, but also allows us to continue to use such tools responsibly. 

Now, go outside and breathe some fresh air.

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