In preparation for returning home, I started reading a new book and enjoyed the simple pleasure of reading a printed word on paper. It was tactile, physical, and easy to pick up when I wanted to rest my eyes. Reading became a relaxing experience as it was mentally stimulating but free of distractions, like sitting up to your neck in a warm, swirling hot tub. I can honestly tell you that it was genuinely exhilarating to flip the pages outside, with the breeze blowing against me.
Listening to music is no different. While I wasn’t one of those vinyl devotees expounding on the virtues of records and their “”warm, fuller sound,”” Scientific American reports that a record’s physical grooves generate sound waves that produce a richer, more true sound than a digital file. I’ve realized that I listen better when I use a turntable, regardless of the acoustics. With a flick of the finger, it’s not as quick as scrolling and tapping. Before you place the needle on an album, you look at the cover jacket and remove it from the sleeve. Music pumping out as a result of that kind of time investment feels rewarding.
It’s the perfect metaphor for my love of analog. It wasn’t my intention to completely eliminate technology. The internet is my favorite thing. You’re reading this on a screen right now, and I make my living here. I just didn’t want to be so connected. It seemed impossible to break my digital habits until I started taking small steps. That break was much needed. It’s something we all do. We spend so many mind-numbing hours tapping and typing. Often, our efforts aren’t rewarded with anything tangible. During the early days of the pandemic, this is why so many people took up hobbies. In this way, you can ensure that you engage in purposeful and mindful activities.
Give yourself a break from technology, whatever form your analog experiences take. On paper, start a long-form journal. Spend 20 minutes stargazing at the end of the night. Take up a new hobby. Give yourself some much-needed time away from these glowing rectangles of distraction that are at the center of our lives. Research proves that we’re better off without it, but the experience is even more rewarding.”