There can be no disagreement that the personal computer has revolutionized how our world functions. While the term 'personal computer' can be broadly defined, I am referring to the computers that most of us have in our homes.
In the last few decades, the capabilities of this technology have made our lives more efficient. By providing access to the Internet, we can do just about anything from the comfort of our homes.
Of course, computers at home provide a lot more services than Internet access. The point is this creation has changed home life much like television did a couple of generations ago.
With this in mind, an interesting dilemma would be if we suddenly found ourselves with no access to a computer at home. How would this impact us? Would this necessarily be bad?
A couple of weeks ago I found myself without a computer at home for a few days because of some technical problems. How did I survive this? Pretty well, actually.
The convenience of technology has become a crutch in many ways. Like the microwave oven has simplified cooking meals, the personal computer has made relatively easy chores like typing this posting a whole lot easier.
Not having a computer did inconvenience me in some ways, but in other ways, it was liberating. I began realizing how much time I had been spending on my computer instead of working on other pursuits. My weekday evenings changed dramatically without having access to it.
On a normal evening, I would come home from work, and after a quick dinner, I would drift to my computer where I would spend most of the evening tinkering with hobbies and other interests.
I would play games, work on my fantasy baseball teams, read the headlines of the day, spend too much time on Facebook, and then wander off to bed. In other words, my evenings usually were not very exciting.
Without my computer, I realized I had a lot of extra free time. A couple of the evenings I would start getting restless around 7:30 because I knew I should be doing something, but I did not know what to do.
This is when I discovered there was plenty to do. For example, with daylight lasting until 8 p.m. this time of year, I got reminded of how great it is to take a walk at sunset during the summer.
Also, I actually began to read books again. I am not talking about the electronic creations by Amazon.com, but an honest to goodness book where a person can cradle the spine of the book in his hands while reading.
Who would have thought that would be a missing pleasure? There is nothing quite like taking an old book off the shelf and reading about subjects I had not thought about for a long time. It was like re-discovering a long lost friend.
Now, I have my computer back. Since its return, I have drifted back to some of my old behaviors. After all, my fantasy baseball teams are not going to manage themselves.
However, I do feel that I have developed a little more balance in my home life. Instead of staring at a computer screen for a few hours each night, I now devote my time to other tasks and pleasures.
Computers are great, but they can also be distracting. The same can be said about television and other technologies that enchant us. We all like to be enchanted by the interests in our lives.
The problem comes when we get too enchanted. The days pass fast enough as it is. Time does not need any extra help.