In this digital age it’s time to disconnect. By Jonathan Schofield
I’ve decided de-wire myself in 2015. I’m not sure that’s the right terminology but I’ve made
the decision to stop being connected all the time – to detach from iPod, iPad, laptop,
earphones, digital wristbands and apps and all other digital devices unless for work or a
serious medical procedure.
Last year, I downloaded an app for every life event: to analyse what I ate, how often my heart beat, how many units of alcohol I drank; I got a wrist band that counted every step I took, every calorie burnt. I joined online app communities to analyse every run, every bike ride, every mile sweated, every foot of elevation gained.
At the end of every day I was a living, breathing excel sheet of information. It didn’t end there. I got an app to tell me how well, or badly, I slept. First thing every morning I’d wake, pull out my phone from under my pillow and study my sleep pattern. My day would start filled with anxiety about how I would get through the day on just 38 minutes and 23 seconds of deep sleep (that’s the important sleeping bit apparently).
I went for a run the other day. I have no idea how far, how high, how many calories I burnt or how long I went for. There was no satellite tracking me. I have no idea how I measured up against all the other runners that have pounded that route. I didn’t take my mobile, had nothing strapped to my upper arm, no wires in my ears, nothing on my wrist. I didn’t listen to any music.
I heard for the first time in years the sound of my surroundings: nothing too exotic, crows calling, a dog barking, a small boy from my estate shouting “run faster, fat man” and the sound of my rasping lungs. I just ran – for the sheer joy of running.
The only time I haven’t had to consciously disconnect from this digital age is during my weekly yoga class. Just shorts, a t-shirt and a thin piece of foam (my mat) – what could be simpler? I’d thoroughly recommend taking the simplicity of the yoga class to the rest of your life. So far it has been rather liberating.