Solitude, Companionship, and Screens

Using technology (screens mostly) is unavoidable and important, but so is solitude, and so is companionship. The problem here is, the impact of one outweighs the importance of the other two. And, we never really learn how to keep all 3 in alignment.

Until the past week, I never really gave thought to it. But I’ve been reading Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism, and it got me thinking. As someone born in the late ’90s (Generation Z?) and working in the tech industry, how on earth am I going to find a perfect balance or reduce my screen time?

So far, I have learned that I will not find a perfect balance. And it’s okay. I can keep trying until I have more or less a perfect balance between all three. As defined in the book, solitude is not about your physical surroundings. It is a state of mind in which you stop taking input from another human mind. Find some time to acknowledge your thoughts, figure out whatever that is you need to figure out, or brainstorm some great ideas. That settles solitude.

Introducing the concept of minimalism in your digital life will take care of the screen time. There are a few things that I changed: not checking emails after work hours, buying physical books, taking long walks without my phone, and so on. But most importantly, after going back and forth about having social media accounts, I finally quit. No more social media for me. It just doesn’t add value to anything that I would like to achieve. Sure, I’ll miss some things that my 2nd degree (not so close) friends have to share, but I guess that is something I am willing to let go of, peace > watch someone disturb my state of mind.

And lastly, companionship. It is a human connection that we seek at the end of a bad day. Talking regularly with friends, family, and people you care about is something we should all do. Taking 5 minutes from our “pretending” to be a busy life to call someone will provide a better connection than social media could ever give.

It may seem hard to not have all three in alignment, but if you take a look from a different perspective, it's not hard after all, nothing really is.