Processing Time

My wife said the other day that she's figured out part of why we're all so stressed these days, and it has to do with how we fill our free moments. In the past, she said, we always had those moments to ourselves. We had time with our thoughts when we were walking from place to place, or waiting for something. But now we have phones that are instantly and endlessly full of distractions, things that very effectively keep us from having the introspective thoughts we used to have.

So we discussed this idea for a while (after both of us turning our phones off and setting them aside). It seems that we're more fragile, because we never get the processing time we need to come to grips with things going on around us. When life gets too real we hide in our devices and their endless diversions instead of dealing with what's actually bothering us. We allow ourselves to be distracted with small, vapid social media things, and hope those fears, stresses, and complications from which we are hiding will disperse without our ever having to deal with them. I mentioned that, on some level, I'm trusting my subconscious to work through those things, hoping that when I'm done being distracted the problems will be fixed.

But they aren't. We keep carrying them, still present if slightly sublimated.

Since this conversation we've both been declaring certain parts of the day processing time. For me this has been times like the walk between the office and the train, or other little moments where I used to dive into podcasts or other distractions. I've also started asking, before I pull out my phone or tablet if I have something I need to do, or if I'm just using the device to hide from what's actually bothering me.