And believe me, I’ve shamelessly self-promoted a small city’s worth of utterly disposable content. But as I became more mindful of where I was and my digital limitations, acceptance seeped in, planted its roots, and slowly grew into gratitude. I exist outside of my social feeds and emails. My bylines reflect my name, but they aren’t me. I’m a sentient, occasionally surly but patient man who still doesn’t know how to properly do his taxes and will constantly spoil movies by accident. And I was content knowing that. Content being myself in this new environment free from my technology.
So I listened intently to every noise I could focus on... the river cascading over the boulders that sat staggering and half-exposed by the tide, the birds cawing, my friend Steve talking incessantly about butt stuff. I could finally see the forest for the trees -- probably because I was standing in a forest full of trees -- and I wasn’t distracted by Facebook, or shuffling through Spotify. My conversations flowed more effortlessly as I was more in tune to the topics we discussed.
I’m fully aware that I sound like an insufferable 17-year-old waxing poetic on the benefits of smoking weed and talking about the string theory at a Phish show, but I assure you, if you got all your friends to agree to put their phones away for a few hours and just talk, you’d see exactly what I’m talking about.
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Alex Robinson is an editor at Thrillist Media Group. He knew the guy in The Sixth Sense was dead the entire time. Yell at him on Twitter.