How to Reactivate Your Brain (Day 17)

pencil and paperPerhaps you read the title and thought to yourself, “I’m going to read this post because I could definitely use a few mental reboot techniques.”  If so, click elsewhere because this is not the post for you.  It was more of a question than an exciting opportunity for neuro rejuvenation.

This question is the direct result of my own clear mental deactivation as evidenced by the recent brain bumbling and stumbling during one of my tech turn off challenges (now a.k.a. family time) (because it sounds a little less daunting) (and it also sounds like you’re a weasel if you tell other family members that you don’t want to participate).

pencil and paper1At some point during our no technology family time, I decided that I want to run a calculation on something.  The conundrum I faced was that I was not allowed to use my phones or computers.  Hmmm.  How was I going to do this.  I sat contemplating other possible options that would be at my disposal yet not explicitly in violation of the challenge rules.

pencil and paper2A-ha!  I devised a plan!  I could use one of my old business calculators.  So I searched.  And I searched.  And I searched.  There was no business calculator to be found.  But a-ha once more because I could use one of my kids’ calculators from school!  Surely that would do the trick!  Irritatingly once more I failed to find a calculator after a few more minutes of searching.

I want to be making this nonsense up, and I want the story to end there.  But I’m not and it doesn’t.  Keep in mind, there was no impending meteor I needed to redirect and these numbers would be the key to Earth’s salvation.  I just reeeally wanted to run this calculation.  Also keep in mind that the calculation involved very basic math and that I do mathematics for a living (but via spreadsheets).

So I crept into my office and stared at my phone…  There it was on my desk.  Dark and quiet and oh so beautiful.  Just sitting there.  Waiting for me.  Calling to me.  “Joanna…I can do that basic math that your small human mind cannot comprehend…”  Yes I hear you phone…

I turned it on.  My heart was racing.  I was so stressed about this because I was nanoseconds away from complete tech challenge anarchy.  The phone was on and ready.  I just stood there.  I knew how disappointed I would be with myself if I used the phone.  I was already thoroughly dismayed at witnessing the crazy I had achieved up to that moment.  Would I completely blow past the line and full out break the rules for basic math that could wait?

Maybe.  I might have.  But then I remember an old set of tools I once used in my youth when I was faced a with mathematical question.  I have a suspicion that you know what I am going to say, but no, it wasn’t an abacus.  It was a frickin’ pencil and paper.

pencil and paper3

You cannot make this insanity up.  I had literally forgotten that I could solve the math myself.  I am a mathematician, and I am more than a little intelligent (or so I thought at some point prior to that moment).  I had become so grossly accustomed to accessing my technological assistants whenever I needed an answer that I didn’t remember to use my own mental assistants.  Based on the wildly embarrassing amount of time it took for me to recall such complex tools as “pencil and paper,” I’m thinking that those mental assistants of mine were either sleeping, picketing, or (most likely) assumed that they had been fired long ago based on lack of work.

The problem took twenty seconds to solve.  Maybe less.  I don’t know how long it had taken me to solve the problem of how I was going to solve the problem, but it was exponentially greater than twenty seconds.

We need to wake our brains back up!  We have to stop leaning on our tech and allowing it to think for us.

Given that it is called the tech turn off challenge, it’s pretty clear that I did not operate entirely within the intended boundaries.  Thankfully I did not access any of the tech functionality, and I learned a serious(-ly embarrassing yet eye-opening) lesson.  I avoided using the phone.  I also avoided admitting any of this to my family, as I learned that particular lesson years ago.  Some things are best left unsaid (and posted to the internet because no one there sees anything ever???)…

In hindsight I have full confidence that the Universe was watching the whole scene while shaking its head back and forth and eating popcorn.  You’re welcome Universe for the entertainment, and I thank you for the reminder in return.

Love, light and logic always – Joanna

Bumble

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