I have logged 20,000 miles in my CRV (man-car) over the past year driving back and forth from Chicago to Detroit (my hometown) and Chicago to Cincinnati (where Mihira lives). A couple of years ago, when I would make these drives, I would load up on diet coke, plot ahead of time which Taco Bell I would eat at, and make sure I had people to call and SMS (sorry Dad, I never signed the Oprah oath!). My highway neighbors did much of the same. They would be on their phones and their kids would benefit from riding in super vans outfitted with DVD players in the back seat (would have prevented my sister and I from some epic car battles).
I’m writing about this because when I was in India, our fellowship coordinator, Jonathan Ripley said “appreciate the boredom”. I had no idea what he was talking about. Now I do. Incredibly, while India is constantly abuzz with people, traffic, animals, music, and broadly, life, it offers you incredible amounts of down time. 10 hour bus rides, overnight trains, places with no internet connections, all of which provide time to reflect and disengage.
Here in the States, we have plenty of personal space and quiet; yet, we are constantly trying to escape boredom. We have DVR. We have super phones that can allow us to shop online and make calls at the same time. We even Facebook from the bathroom. We are the “engaged generation”.
Try disengaging without tweeting your status #unpluggingfromthematrix. You may just enjoy the alone time.