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An Open Letter to Technology

Why we need to change our dynamic with each other.

Nora Carol Photography/ Getty Images
Nora Carol Photography/ Getty Images

I love you, Technology.

I love the way you provide so much excitement in my life. I love how you do so many things for me, and how you make my life so easy and convenient.

I love how smart you are. You know pretty much everything: about the world, about people, and even about me! It’s like you’re able to read my mind, giving me exactly what I need when I need it. Sometimes your source of information is questionable, but I love how quickly you found it.

I remember the first time we met, too. It was when I was in third grade, in 1998. I’m not sure you even remember this. I walked into class on the first day and saw you sitting in the back corner of the room with all your friends. You were wearing a sleek blue and silver dress. I’ve never seen anyone wear something so elegantly. You were eating a Macintosh Apple and had the cutest sounds.

We were kids, so we didn’t hesitate to play with each other. I adored you immediately. You inspired me, and gave me space for creativity and exploration. We played games together; you taught me not to rush the journey with my wagon on the Oregon Trail.

In college, things really took off for us. Of course, there were a lot of emotions running around that confused us, but we stuck it out. I learned so much more about you: how you work, your logic and reasoning. We were amazing teammates, building things that were revolutionary, interactive, and creative.

You were pretty much always on whenever you were around me, and it was so comforting. You had all of my attention. I could lose hours with you.

I appreciate you because you’re so good at bringing people together, you know? You bring together people from all walks of life, people who never would have met each other if it weren’t for you. And I like that you let me stay in touch with my friends, and you don’t get jealous.

You even bring me gifts and food, right to my door! You’re so giving!

You know, it’s also been so fulfilling working with you. You enable me, empower me, make me do so much, and much more efficiently than if you weren’t there.

But…

I’m worried about who I’ve become by spending all this time with you. I know it’s really self-centered for me to say this, but I’ve become too dependent on you.

Ugh, this is so hard. I don’t really know how to say this.

To be clear, I’m not leaving you. I never want to leave you. We work so well together. We just… have to talk.

I hate it when people say, It’s not you, it’s me, but please believe me when I say this. You do so much for me and for the world! There’s nothing wrong with you! You might have been heavily influenced by capitalistic parents, who may or may not have an addiction problem, but I know deep inside your intentions are pure.

You want to connect the world and you want to empower people. You want to help humans strive for more free, meaningful, fulfilling lives by giving them their most precious commodity back: time. You make things easier, faster, and more convenient, so that they can step away from the monotony and do things they actually enjoy.

Some people might say that you’re actually causing them stress or diminishing their emotional connection with others because they spend too much time with you. But that’s on them — that has nothing to do with you.

Unfortunately, I’m one of those people. I’ve taken our relationship for granted. I didn’t know how good I had it, so I kept using you, but not for what you wanted to be used for. I gave you all my attention, but I wasted that time. It was blank attention. It didn’t take us anywhere.

Again, it wasn’t your fault. You were giving me what I wanted. But I was not self-aware enough to differentiate what I wanted from what I needed. I didn’t allow myself time to learn about my own true values. I used you as an excuse to feel like I was being productive, but really, it was a distraction… a good, healthy, fun distraction! But one that pulled me away from understanding who I can be and what I can do.

I know this sounds harsh, but I’m not blaming you at all. I just need to be selfish at this point. I was giving up too much for you. I started becoming dependent on you. I couldn’t navigate anywhere without you, always needing you to tell me where to go. I need to find myself again, to figure out what it is I truly value, and to gain my independence back. I don’t want to lose myself in you; I hope you can understand that.

So how can we make this work? How can we be partners in this relationship while still giving each other space to be independent? How do we help each other learn about ourselves and our purpose?

I don’t know what that’s going to look like, exactly. But if I don’t respond to every request, or give you my utmost attention, please don’t take that personally.

I’m going to be building up my own life for the future, and I hope that you do as well, learning from all of those people you work with. There’s so much to get out of digging deeper into what humanity wants.

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