The Great Technological Freak-Out … and How to Transcend It

tech-freakoutThis is a post especially for all my fellow fifty-somethings out there.

I recently began writing for a new client more than two decades my junior. She’s been around computers from birth; she’s never known a time when digital technology was not evolving and diversifying at an exponential rate of speed. As a result, she requires her writers to use the latest innovative, cutting-edge tools that (in theory) make one’s life easier.

They’re giving me migraines.

I’m sure there are lots of other people in my age group who join me in sighing disconsolately each time the latest tech-oriented NEW BIG THING is announced. We have a tendency to roll our eyes and say, “Please don’t make my life any easier. I’m having a hard enough time navigating the last five putatively time-saving technological advances that have been thrust upon me!”

Of course, this is the world we live in now. There’s simply no escape to be had from time-saving, life-enhancing technology– even if that technology puts us in a panic and fills us with an irresistible urge to smash our digital devices and burn them in a ritual pyre.

So, what to do, my fellow not-yet-retired-still-working-so-we’d-better-adapt-or-else quinquagenarians?

My suggestion? Yardwork and gardening.

I’m completely serious. After navigating the online world until we’re ready to scream, nothing is better than unplugging the computer, going outside, and getting back in touch with the earth. Raking leaves, spreading mulch, pruning trees and planting flowers puts us back in touch with actual reality. It too is evolving, of course; it’s just not doing so at the breakneck speed of its virtual counterpart.

This notion has an analogue in ancient Buddhist spiritual practice: it’s actually called “Touching the Earth.” I provide the following link for those interested in exploring it further: http://plumvillage.org/mindfulness-practice/touching-the-earth/

The great technological freak-out is utterly real; don’t let anyone tell you you’re overreacting when digital technology and its infinite variants blow your mind. Pull the plug and get outside: the cure you seek lies in the good old earth from which we spring.

Best regards,

William

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