• Patrick McAndrew

Do and Make

I recently attended an event where a group of people came together to discuss how to use technology in a more purposeful way.  It was an amazing event as we heard stories from around the room about people being concerned with how reliant they are on their smart devices in their lives.

One woman, let’s call her Bethilda, spoke of how she has begun engaging in hobbies and activities from her childhood as a means of retreating from our technology-consumed culture.  These hobbies included playing sports, drawing, knitting, and simply being active.  Bethilda expressed frustrations because, as she put it, people don’t seem to be too interesting anymore.  It’s difficult to meet and connect with people on a deep level.

We go to work, we socialize, we consume.  Rinse and repeat.  We have work which, for many individuals, is unfortunately not too exciting or fulfilling.  We then socialize with one another, often discussing work gossip or great television shows, movies, or the latest and greatest on social media.  While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with this, the conversation often doesn’t go much further than that.

Many of us echo similar frustrations as Bethilda.  She thinks people aren’t interesting anymore because we aren’t making time to do interesting things.  Hobbies seem to get cast aside for YouTube, Netflix, and Facebook.  We would much rather spend time on our phones, computers, and TVs then spend time creating something.

This, of course, isn’t everyone.  But this absence of doing or creating something outside of technology can leave us feeling pretty empty.  As humans, we thrive off interacting with the physical world.  It feels good when we make something with our hands that didn’t exist before.  It feels good being physical when engaged in a sport and many of us feel relaxed when engrossed in the depths of nature.

We take pride in our creations.  When we finally build something to our liking or perhaps learn that difficult song on the ukulele, we get a rush of positive feelings flowing through our bodies.  And we like to share these accomplishments with others.  If someone told me that they just built a chair for their living room, I would be highly impressed, much more so than someone telling me that they have 1,000 followers on Instagram.

While digital accomplishments on the online world are certainly something to recognize, one cannot replace the tangible accomplishments in the physical world.  There is a reason why people take pride in the phrase, “a hard day’s work.”  It’s because they can see the fruits of their labor before their very eyes, and that’s a good feeling.

We should all strive for more fulfillment in our lives instead of succumbing to the daily grind and retreating solely to consumption.  A little bit of consumption is fine.  I love watching movies and good TV shows and, overall, I stay up-to-pace with social media.  It’s important to not make these our only activities, however.  If we do and make interesting things, we are much more likely to be interesting people.  Interesting people surround themselves with interesting people and we are much more likely to be happy and fulfilled in this sort of atmosphere.

I am a big fan of Nick Offerman and he is indeed a wise man!  He has this great quote that I will leave you all with: “I’m opposed to a lot of the time that we as a civilization have come to spend looking at screens. For my money, life is much delicious damn near everyplace but inside that screen.”

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