I recently heard a new song, out by our hometown girl, Miranda Lambert called “Automatic”. If you haven’t heard it, you ought to take a listen. It is a catchy tune and you can tell the lyrics are deep rooted. My take on the song is that we live in such an instantaneous world we miss out on the satisfaction in accomplishing things, smelling the roses and carrying on simple conversations. Actually, our time is lost in an instant because we are so focused on our gadgets. Now before you start to think I am talking about the younger generation and us “old” folks are immune, let me tell you a little story.
A couple of years ago, a few days before Christmas my daughter came to me asking what did you get Eva for Christmas? (My children refer to us by our first names, odd I know.) My reply was “nothing…yet”. At that point, my daughter proceeded to inform me what I was getting my wife for Christmas. This may sound a bit bold to some, but it has been a common occurrence for, Oh let’s say, the last 30 years.
When my wife opened that gift it was like the hands of time were turned back. You would have thought she was 16 and I had just bought her a new car. But, can you guess what I bought her? An iPad! Two of my grandsons also got iPads that Christmas. They were like 3 peas in a pod. (Or should I say pad?) My wife would “facetime” our grandchildren when she had just seen them 20 minutes before and they live a ½ mile down the road. My wife spoke a different language for the next month, if she even spoke at all. But let me tell you, things went from bad to worse when she showed me how to use it.
We started staying up late and then laying around all morning drinking flavored coffee searching Craigslist Ads. My wife would hide the iPad from me and I would trick her into handing it over. It was bad! We were consumed, on the verge of addiction. But thankfully, my son-in-law declared a “tech” free weekend. Not wanting to be a stumbling block for our grandsons, we voluntarily accepted the declaration. We noticed the sun shining, the time had changed, and the warmth drew us outdoors. We were awakened from the iPad fog.
We started working in the yard. I started my daily trips to the farm, trimming limbs, building fence, and running water lines preparing water tanks for the upcoming summer. I was out being a Do-It-Yourselfer again. We were planning projects and managed to complete a few. The days got longer, and we felt tired at the end of them. We found a balance and we were productive again.
Now don’t get me wrong, we still love our gadgets. Some could say it is the equivalent to an inside pet. It sleeps with us, and we spend time playing games with it, and sometime we are even concerned it is sick. But what we have learned is that sometimes the “Automatic” things in life don’t always make your life better. Sometimes simple is superb!