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On Life Without a Computer, Part 1 #firstworldproblems


When I first started this post, I was typing this out on my iPod touch. Tapping, rather.

A few months later, I have a computer again.  For those few months, though, I didn’t have a computer.  The screen broke on my lovely old Dell.  It was rough.  Life was incredibly different than I’d been used to for the past four or so years.  Life without a computer.

But instead of tell you about the unfortunate inconveniences of a computerless life in the 21st century or rant about how laptops last an average of only 5 years (planned obsolescence ha ha ha), let me share with you some thoughts that came from that recent Ice Age period of time in my life.  Let’s do one thought a day for the next five days:

#1 Computers create a “need” for aimless “spare” time.

When my computer first bit the dust, I didn’t know what to do with myself.  I didn’t know what to do with my “spare” time– the time I spent “unwinding,” browsing, surfing, and “like”-ing.  Those few hours a day aimlessly browsing my news feed, reading guitar forums, or watching videos online.  The time during which such oh-so-regular-really-pretty-fun-maybe-i’m-wasting-some-time-but-who-cares-it’s-fun-and-i-deserve-it-after-my-really-long-day little activities occurred was now involuntarily nonexistent.  Life without a computer was lifeless, or so it seemed.

A few weeks into being bored out of my mind and not knowing what to fill that very large chasm of time with, I started to realize that there was going to have to be some sort of adjustment in how I saw that time.  It was then that I started to see that my concept of “spare” time was a gigantic deception.  I had been letting my computer and its fun, nice, and conveniently entertaining functions define my unscheduled time.  It wasn’t that how I planned my time out changed or that I suddenly had a ridiculously regimented repertoire (see what I did there?).  Instead, it was an entire shift in how I saw what I thought was “spare” time.  I realized the things I had seen as necessary really weren’t.  The time really wasn’t spare.

I started to think really really really dangerously (but really not so dangerous at all) old-school, kill-joy, Luddite thoughts.  What if… no, that’s extreme… well… ugghh. no. no. no.  ok fine… well… what if the time I used to spend on my computer is spent doing the things I know I’m supposed to have been doing all along? Bible reading.  Book reading.  Good, challenging face-to-face conversations.  Prayer.  Music theory and practice.  Adequate amounts of sleep.  Times of personal worship.

Revolutionary, I tell you.  Absolutely revolutionary.  Who would’ve thought of that? (insert note for clarifying that this is extreme sarcasm if you didn’t get it.  And if you didn’t, that’s okay.)

Although it seemed a bit archaic and uncool at first, I started to jump full force into these certain things.  The things that I knew that if I wanted to mature as a believer or grow up as a man anytime soon had to fall into place.  But because throughout my life my computer urgently tugged on my sleeve every day and told me that my “spare” time was more important, I always pushed these actually important things off and excused them as things that would “just take time to work through.”

But at that point in time, the shift was in place.  Spare time wasn’t spare anymore, but it was still time.  Life without a computer was no longer lifeless.  It was more full and vibrant than ever, because things were important that were actually important (not a typo).

Great times.  Great times that I am extremely thankful to the Lord for.

I know it sounds like I’m blaming my computer.  I know it also sounds like I’m saying computers are evil.  Please realize that this is one issue in complete isolation outside of a few other significant issues, which, in conjunction, lead to a more balanced approach to life with(out) a computer.  Thinking only on this one thing leaves a very incomplete picture of what it meant for me  to learn from not having a computer (and what it means for me having a computer again now and using it for God’s glory).  That’s why we’ll continue tomorrow.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 01/31/2012 10:15 am

    Pretty cool post, Matt! I’m doing something somewhat similar by not using the internet in my apartment. I’m encouraged to see others attacking technology with discernment and caution.

    • 01/31/2012 11:04 pm

      that’s awesome man. that’s neat that you are taking that step yourself– i was forced into this situation!


  1. On Life Without a Computer, Part 2 #firstworldproblems « matthewdanielng
  2. On Life Without a Computer, Part 4, or: Five ways Facebook has changed our lives for the worse « matthewdanielng

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