Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Yearning for the Simple Life?

We’ve all seen signs that folks are longing for the simple life.  Take the popularity of the magazine Real Simple, for example, and the many articles we see about ditching the fast lane for a slower-paced life.  Reading about ideas for simplifying our lives and about a few success stories here and there may mean we think about it but doesn’t necessarily translate to all of us taking action.

I was very interested, then, when my boss returned from a Tech Conference with data that says we are, in fact, moving in that direction. Coming out of the recession, the Millenials and the Boomers have some things in common. Both groups are lowering their debt level, not wanting to be in the position of losing a job and immediately being unable to make ends meet, as so many folks were the past few years.  Some of the new buzzwords and phrases are “less is more,” “meaning vs. materialism,” and finding ways to simplify our lives and live more frugally. It seems folks are concentrating more on the experiences that make them happy, more on family and relationships.

Simplifying our lives is also manifesting itself in attempting to disconnect from all the technology many of us have come to depend on.  People are deciding they don’t need unlimited ways to connect --texting, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook--and don’t need to be connected every second of every day.  That bit  of information made me think of something a friend told me about her son in California—surely the most connected place going. 

He’s been working for Camp Grounded, an organization that offers a digital detox experience.  Imagine! There are facilities and groups for alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions, and now we have something to help with digital addiction. The blurb on their homepage says it all:

Where grown-ups go to unplug, get away and be kids again. Four days of pure unadulterated fun out in the redwoods. Trade in your computer, cell phone, Instagrams, clocks, schedules and work-jargon for an off-the-grid weekend of pure unadulterated fun….Together we’ll create a community where money is worth little… and individuality, self expression, friendship, freedom and memories are valued most.

I do have a Smartphone but don’t always have it by my side and have found that some people can’t believe I may not respond to a text within several hours, much less minutes.  I suppose the closest I come to being addicted to technology is playing Words with Friends each evening while watching TV, and yes, I do check my personal email several times daily.  I draw the line at taking my Smartphone to bed with me, though.

Perhaps my lifestyle is finally in vogue:  I’ve always been pretty darned frugal; I’ve only had a Smartphone for about a year; and I don’t use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  Is it possible that lagging behind has put me on the leading edge of a new trend?