The irony of reading a book called Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport is not lost on me.
Starved for social contact due to pandemic restrictions, I have often turned to my gadgets, filling many quiet hours with Netflix series, films, audiobooks, and FaceTime chats. The tracker sometimes registers what I formerly might have considered an outlandish number of hours on my iPhone. But does the usage align with my values? At this time, I would say it does.
For example, as each family member’s world has similarly contracted, our chatting frequency has increased.
In fact, just the other day, our son Jesse texted me with the startling announcement that the town I grew up in did not exist!
This was surprising, not only because at his age he chose to explore that subject, but also since it called into question my entire life narrative—not to mention my grip on reality.
I supplied a zip code, protestations, memories, and other evidence of my former domicile’s actuality.
As it turns out we are both right.
According to our respective Google searches, Slingerlands, New York, does indeed exist, but whether it was my home “town” was the central question. There is no public building at its center, nor a church. According to Jesse’s internet search, more accurately, it a hamlet. Continuing on, he wondered who had ever even heard of a hamlet!
This exclamation, I mentally file into the category labeled “generational differences.”
My young self between the ages of six and sixteen was completely satisfied by what Slingerlands had to offer, despite its diminutive status: Charlie’s store’s Bazooka gum for a penny, or a candy bar for a dime; The Toll Gate’s delicious ice cream; and window shopping options at The Clothes Horse.
Our internet dispute provoked another digital dive, wherein I discovered my elementary school Facebook group. A history-filled rabbit hole, that is!
Miniature, if not minimalist.
And completely aligned with my values. (c)