Monday, September 13, 2010

Social Experiment

I recently decided to give up texting as the first half of a two-part social experiment.  I started using texts frequently about two years ago, eventually paying for a plan giving me 300 texts per month.  To some people, 300/mo. sounds like a ridiculously small amount seeing as my 17-yr. old nephew sends twice that many in one day.  My text usage has continued to increase, causing me many frustrating overages.

In June I completed a five month sabbatical.  It was absolutely grand.  One of the crucial realizations I had during my sabbatical was the slow and quiet disappearance of margin in my life.  When every spare moment of my life is scheduled, or I can be beeped (text/email/calendar) at any hour of the day through my cell phone, there’s hardly any room for the necessary breathing in and out of the Holy Spirit in my mind and heart.  So now I'll no longer be tempted to send texts while driving or to glance at my beeping phone while talking with my wife or children.  I'll be free from the bonds of text etiquette.

We need space . . . ruthless and consistent space in our life so that we have a chance to hear the voice of God speaking to us.  We need space so we can think.  We need space so we can authentically relate with our friends and those in our family who are too young to send me text messages.  If we embrace margin, unexpected and difficult circumstances will less likely cause stress and panic.  We’ll be better equipped to simply and calmly trust God.  We'll be able to discover an unhurried and thoughtful life.  

So I'm unplugging from the text Matrix for 6-12 months.  If you send me a text you will receive a short, polite text message from Sprint informing you that my number no longer receives texts.  I'm assuming that if you really need to reach me, you'll call me.  Vice versa.

The second part of this social experiment is that after 2 years of using a Palm Treo for my calendar, I'm going back to paper and pencil: DayMinder 2010.   The digital calendar was both helpful and convenient.  I was able to sync it to my computer, and everything was right there at my fingertips.  Slick.  But my Palm was merciless about reminding me of my next appointment, or that I was running late for a man to man.  How many texts did I send while driving?  "Hey man.  I'm going to be a little late." or "Hey man.  Be right there."  Etc.

So I'm giving up both for awhile.  Afterwards some big questions should be answered: Can I really survive without texts?  Will I forget or get lost on my way to my appointments without my Palm?  We'll see.  Besides, wouldn't you rather hear my sweet voice than go through a long, boring exchange of text messages?     lol


paul said...

You are doing what I want to do. Go for it. I wish I could get rid of email as well.

revolution said...

if you have to, i guess you have to.

my wife and i have always been late adopters, so tech overload is never a problem for us.