Six months ago, I had laser eye surgery to correct my vision. The post-procedure instructions dictated absolutely no screen time or reading for three entire days. My eyes were really strained and uncomfortable in the days following the surgery, so I mostly kept my eyes closed anyway. No big deal.
Last week, I had more surgery to improve the results achieved the first time around. Same deal – no screen time, no reading. But, this time was different. It was only one eye. It was less invasive. I had no discomfort. And, I could see perfectly. But reading was off limits. No texting. No iPad. No laptop. No television. No book. Oh my.
Here are just a few lessons I learned:
1. I am not nearly as busy as I think I am.
For my entire adult life, I’ve been convincing myself that my goals are unachieved because I’m just too busy. I work. I have (a bunch of) kids. Sure, my grandmother’s generation could raise 12 kids and keep a house clean, but that was because women stayed at home…right?
Right. But our grandmothers also didn’t have the distractions we have today. If they wanted to gossip, they had to wait until someone came by or until they ran into their nosey neighbor at the grocery store. They didn’t get caught up in social media for hours between tasks when they sat down for “just a minute”. They didn’t binge watch Netflix. And guess what? Neither did any of their 10 kids. So those 10 kids were available to help out and pitch in.
In the three days following my eye surgery, I accomplished more at home than during the three weeks previous. And, at 10 o’clock when I sat down on the couch but couldn’t check Facebook or watch an episode of Suits, I went to bed. Instead of staying up way too late caught up in alternate reality. I got a good night’s sleep so the following day, I had tons more energy to burn.
2. Moderation is the key.
Like with all of life’s pleasures, moderation is key. There is no doubt that technology has the ability to enrich our lives. We can connect with friends and loved ones anywhere in the world with the touch of a button. We can learn almost anything. We can find inspiration, friendship and support.
Conversely, we can start comparing ourselves and our lives to a reality that doesn’t exist. We can waste time. We can start enjoying Meridith and McDreamy’s lives sooooo much that we’d rather watch them than to connect, really connect, with our loved ones. Or with ourselves.
Most of us don’t indulge in other pleasures for hours every day, so why not start setting limits on how much time we allow ourselves to get lost in screen land??
3. Being connected actually means turning off the screen.
It’s funny because, nowadays, when we hear the word “connected”, we automatically think “online”. But, at no time are we actually more disconnected than when we have our faces in front of a screen.
Let’s be real. When we’re caught up in the drama of an episode of Suits, we don’t have to face our own drama. In fact, we are actively avoiding connecting to our loved ones. We can be sitting side-by-side with them, but if screens are on…we’re not spending time with them. We probably even get upset with them if they interrupt us from our screens.
So, in addition to the gift of lens-free sight, my eye surgery taught me some pretty important lessons. Money well spent!