The Tragic Loss Of Time To Imagine

Terry Brezsny Ballantyne
- Terry Brezsny Ballantyne

The Tragic Loss Of Time To Imagine

child flying on the bookI am more and more resenting my computer and phone. Even as I opted to use the laptop here, ( my writing has gotten atrocious) I feel hostile to the 11 x 8 screen or whatever the dimensions. They own me.  My phone owns me.  I can’t put them down.  Too many links to too many things.  For instance, I want to get away from my screen so I decide “I will take a walk!” , which I love and needs very little prompting, but what if I see something interesting, I really  should take a picture and my camera is my phone. Ugh.  Now let’s unpack that sentence.

Why must I document everything?  Why has my self centered need to share every experience I have become baked in? Or even if I don’t share it, do I need another camellia blossom in my phone?  Or funny sign?  Probably not.  But what if I need to call someone?  And God forbid, what if I am attacked by a pack of dogs?  I need my phone.

Some smarter part of my brain says “Rubbish!”  Take the walk without a device.  Maybe talk to a stranger, meet a neighbor, or pet a walking dog.  My phone cannot provide the rich experience of engagement with other humans.  You may be tempted to think humans have become toxic, entitled and divisive. Intolerant of other opinions and as Americans particularly susceptible to polarizing views. But when you get granular and really talk to them, they all want the same thing. Some meaning in their lives, some sense of belonging to something grander, more noble, something other than their phone!

What if you are an introvert and talking to a stranger is like putting your hand in boiling water. Ok, take your own thoughts for a walk. Here is what is really missing in our lives. Empty space in the brain. Space for a radical new thought, a juicy insight, a revelation about yourself, a creative or imaginative gift idea.  We fill every waking moment with our devices.

Remember getting bored?  Bored was sitting on the couch with nothing much to do so you went somewhere. The museum, the park, a movie, called  a friend or you took the kids on a picnic.  Now it’s Candy Crush or some other useless mind gobbler.   These beautiful minds we have are wasted and manipulated by a dopamine driven urge to click.

So here is my brave proposal.  Let’s reclaim the work day, 8AM-5PM or even 9AM-6PM and let’s stop texting and emailing after hours unless it is personal.  Let’s stop imagining every phone is an open invitation to fill someone’s brain with work or demands on their time.  Let’s allow ourselves time to imagine.  After 6PM is my time!  My brain needs time to immerse into a creative project, a productive hobby, a conversation with my husband, or making cookies with my kids. 100% engaged, totally present, lost in the moment.

L O S T   I N   T H E  M O M E N T!

That magical phrase, that wondrous place where time is beyond you and the outcome is a fabulous memory of creating something. Something internal in your mind, something you did with your kids, something you created with your hobby, but something you created.  Remember that?

So give your brain some space. Space between thoughts, space between tasks, space to roam. Let that beautiful computer that sits on your neck use it’s random access to find new and wonderful things to do and think about. Try it, you might like it.



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