“What do you do with your surplus?”
It was a question posed by Seth Godin in a recent blog. In the short entry, Godin states that if you have the basics of life covered, you ” have enough breathing room to devote an hour to watching TV, or having an argument you don’t need to have, or simply messing around online. You have time and leverage and technology and trust.”
I have to admit it was something I had pondered myself.
We purchase store items that help us with preparing food. From already made a to ready to eat bread and deli items. We have automated washers, dryers and vacuums that save us work.
But what are we doing with the time these items save us? What are we doing with our surplus?
On Friday, I was given a first-hand view of what life would be like without power, technology or convenience.
The power went out in our neighborhood on Friday morning at about 10am. The unplanned outage took many people who work from home by surprise, including my husband and I.
No power meant no laundry, coffee, computers, Internet, lights or heat. We couldn’t work, scroll through Facebook or write blogs.
At first, what we couldn’t do was the prominent thought. Want an espresso? Machine needs power. Bummer.
It didn’t take long before the two of us found what we could do. We got cozy under throw blankets and read books. My husband pulled out his camera and took experimental pictures with the limited and filtered outdoor light. I worked on making my Halloween costume.We talked, laughed and spent time with each other.
We barely noticed we were offline. We were off the grid. Life continued. We lived.
It highlighted the fact that I knew but ignored: I use technology to fill my surplus.
No. I more than ignored it. I have used my life to justify my use of it. I made excuses such as I need Facebook to do social media postings as part of my volunteer duties for the local thrift store or to keep in touch with family in the States.
None of which is true.There is email. Phone calls. I have social marketing programs that would enable me to fulfill my duties without scrolling through my news feed several times a day.
Will people be able to find me if I’m not on social media? Yes. We live in a searchable world. I have a blog. If I’m needed, I can be found.
Many of my online friends do “digital detox” or days where they refrain from logging onto their computers, tablets or social media accounts.
Was that enough for me? Upon reflection, I realized I don’t need to be tapped in and on every app — just in case.
Just in case. Those three words are funny. They mean I am doing something because I don’t know what would happen if I don’t. We do a lot of things just in case. Double wrap our chicken from the store — just in case it leaks.
It was time for me to do something just for me — and not just in case.
I’m no longer on Facebook. I am taking back my surplus — one app at a time.
I made a choice that is important to me. What choice can you make? How can you take back your surplus?