The first of the two came to my mind unbidden, though not for the first time, after seeing “If Beale Street Could Talk.” It has to do with football, a pastime about which I’m very conflicted.
It’s easy enough to continue along my life’s path of loving the game and rooting for the Eagles. But what am I actually supporting? What it looks like to me is a bunch of old white guys making tons of money on the backs of a bunch of African American men. Add in concussions and CTE and the exorbitant cost of tickets and the banishing of Colin Kaepernick (for peaceful truthtelling) and the bogus, militaristic flavor of the pre-game rituals…and it’s really, really hard for me to justify continuing to watch.
This is, as I said at the outset, something I’m just thinking about. It kills me to consider stepping away when the Eagles are more and more in the mix, so we’ll see where this goes. But when I also consider the time I spend, just on Fantasy Football pursuits, it’s even more sobering to look at this — and consider the potential personal benefits of turning away. There’s so much else to see!
So the other step I’m thinking about springs from an interview with Cal Newport that aired on “Here and Now” yesterday and was shared with me by a fellow blogger (check out The Cozy Burrow). “Digital Minimalism” is the subject. The idea of minimalism has more and more appeal to me these days. And I’ve been noticing how much of my time evaporates as I look at screens, whether it’s my PC, my iPad, or my phone.
In the interview, Mr. Newport advocates letting go, for 30-days, of our obsessive connection with our apps. If something like removing the Twitter or Facebook app from my phone makes me nervous, isn’t that, right there, a great big red flag?
After all, is there, actually anything on Facebook or Twitter that I have a true need to know? And what am I afraid of. Silence? Being with myself? Being in my life?
Again, as with football, I am attracted to the amount of time that would be freed up by removing some of these distractions from my life. At the same time, it does make me nervous to let go of what has often become a block to self-intimacy — to the ‘going deeper’ that the author refers to. What would my life look and feel like with more silence? More thinking? More reading? More face-to-face conversation without a phone or tablet in my hand? I think I want to know.
So, what will I do?
On the digital front, it’s kind of easy. I’ll start by removing apps from my phone, leaving them on my iPad and PC. We’ll see where that goes. The phone part is the easiest, and I just did it. The iPad will be a heavier lift.
The football piece I’ll continue to mull. At least I’ve got a few months to see how it all settles for me. (And I’ll have extra time to think about it, with less time wasted on Facebook and Twitter.)