A Life of Forced Simplicity

It’s always humbling when God decides to give you what you need when you don’t even ask for it.  Like a dead computer.

I’ve always been bad about spending too much time on the computer, but found that my dependence on the computer had increased even more since coming to Uganda.  It was my lifeline to people back home.   I would often stay perpetually logged in to Gmail and Skype just to be available in case there was someone in the world who wanted to talk to me.  Surfing the net provided a way to escape from daily life in Kampala.  When I browsed Facebook, I felt like I was back in my dorm room at Taylor wasting time like I always would.

And so before I knew it, 11 pm would roll around, and I’d drag my bleary-eyed self to bed, frustrated again that I had wasted an entire evening on the computer.

I thought about giving up some sort of computer usage for Lent, but rationalized my way out of every option (I need email for work.  I need Facebook for caring about people’s lives.  I need my blog to keep people aware of what I’m doing here.  I need the web to find out what’s happening in the world.)  But something inside still nagged at me, telling me that I wasn’t making the best use of my time, and I may live to regret all the time I spend in life staring at a screen.

So, I was not as surprised as I should have been when my darn dear computer decided to call it quits two weeks ago.  I almost felt like I had it coming.  God knew that I needed to be rid of my excessive computer usage.

As unhappy and irritated as I was about this new turn of events, after 10 days of life without a computer at home, I have to say that I am grateful in some ways.  It’s amazing to see how many extra hours in the day appear when my computer is off.

My apartment is cleaner than it has been in a while.

I go on longer walks and runs in the evenings, enjoying sunsets and views like this one:

I happily spend time reliving childhood days with some arts-and-crafts for home decorating  (Note:  The words are a line from a song.  “You” refers to God, not me, because that would be rather strange and awfully pretentious.)

I have more time to experiment in the kitchen, and invite friends over for dinner and cooking adventures  (like making samosas that end up looking more pierogies, empanadas, Cornish pasties, you name it – anything but samosas):

I actually spend time reading books instead of just reading a few pages before I fall asleep.  And I still get to bed by 10:30 and get 8 good hours of sleep.

I always talk about loving the simple life, but find that often, my actual lifestyle doesn’t live up to my romanticized dreams of simplicity.  I am very much a child of the 21st century, and know that my addiction to technology is probably more serious than I care to admit.

So thank heavens for a period of forced simplicity!  I think this will be good.

(Of course, you may want to ask me again in a few weeks when I am still computer-less.  I may have a less holy and optimistic attitude about it at that point). 🙂

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “A Life of Forced Simplicity

  1. Mom

    You have an incredibly positive attitude about this. Not sure I would be so gracious if this happened to me twice in 6 months. Glad you’re making lemonade out of this lemon of a computer!

  2. Ben Goller

    Excellent work! I struggled against the simplicity in Sierra Leone sometimes, but then I realized that being away from the internet (and therefore contact with friends) made that contact so much sweeter! I hope you can dig into that too as you enjoy the beauty around you. And what a great picture of the clouds. I am convinced that Africa’s sky is always at least 85 times more beautiful than anywhere else. Freetown could be gross… but the sky was always amazing.

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