American culture is all about right now. Think about digital entertainment.
10 to 15 years ago, you might drive to a Hollywood Video or Blockbuster, just to rent a movie. Then we got Redbox, which offered a similar service but was conveniently located in places we already visited.
Now even Redbox is becoming obsolete. We all have streaming, whether via Disney+, Netflix, Prime Video, or any other platform.
The shift is all about speed. To go watch a movie, I don’t need to drive anywhere. I don’t even need to pay for my specific movie. I just walk over to the couch, sit down, and pick a show. I can start watching immediately!
Streaming, on its own, isn’t a bad thing. It’s far better than renting movies from a store miles from my home. But it’s this very accessibility that’s causing problems.
Today’s entertainment is passive. You can just sit down and stream a show, play a video game, or watch YouTube. It’s almost impossible to be bored because there’s always something digital to view.
Entertainment, even 10 years back, was far different. Whether you played with toys, read a book, or drew a picture, it was always active. You’d have to develop the idea yourself, rather than just absorb them from someone else.
Last week, I reverted to this old form of entertainment. Banning myself from all leisure electronics, my activities changed. In place of YouTube, TV, and video games, I spent more time writing and reading. I also tried out some new hobbies, spanning from disc golf to juggling. Perhaps most interesting, I felt significantly happier.
My week of digital detox was powerful. It’s leading me to reconsider aspects of my current and future lifestyle. It’s not all about right now, no matter what culture screams. And, by avoiding the trap of immediacy, I’m finding myself much happier.