The “balanced life” has been humankind’s never-ending quest. It may turn out that it can only be approached, not attained, making it a journey rather than a destination. However you characterize it, the pace of life at work and at home—Another OS update? A new iMac? Kids’ braces are how much?—can be brutal.
Add in the mental and emotional demands of the Cyber Age, says William F. Aicher, and it can be difficult to find that “balance between nature and technology within everyday life.” Aicher, web and marketing director for Musicnotes.com, admits to being a lifelong “lover of both,” and says that one important key to fulfillment is achieving that “equilibrium” between technology and nature.
From insights to action
Aicher speaks for many of us when he admits that he recognized his imbalance—the home space was alive and varied, the office not so much—before he took action. It wasn’t as if his work environment was furnished with office equipment rentals and hardware store calendars. Aicher brought his “feel” to the space with “family photos, Batman figurines [and] some old music press photos,” but gave short shrift “to the idea of balance.”
As he sought the elusive “balance between technology and nature,” Aicher began to realize that the goal was as broad as it was narrow. That is, he knew that the journey toward balance would result in a “healthy existence [for] myself as well as for humankind.” Instead of detouring from that, well, balanced goal, and trying to “save the world,” Aicher kept his focus on “fixing my own world.”
Bringing the Outside In
Aicher was spending most of his time at the office, so that was the priority. He tells the tale:
There simply was no life where I was working, and there was no positive flow of energy. So what I did was rearrange my office… situating my desk so my back was no longer to the door, incorporating some lush plants [and] setting up a small saltwater aquarium in an eight gallon biocube (a lot of work and patience, but absolutely worth it).
Aicher brought plants and created a new kind of space, one where he could “take a step away from my technological and Internet-focused day to zone out (some people might call it meditating).” You can use whatever props and devices you like to create your unique space—a MacBook for streaming tunes, ambient lighting (there’s an app for that!)—as we all need something different to achieve “equilibrium with life.” Of course, these things can’t replace the need to take breaks and get out of the office and into nature from time to time, but balancing your day-to-day environment fosters peaceful moments.
Whether you call it zoning out or meditating, it is in those peaceful moments, Aicher knows, that you will learn once again to feel “whole.” As we add more blogs to this “TechLife Series” we will consider specific problems and situations, as well as consider the positive impacts of technology on such world crises as hunger, illiteracy, war, energy, disease, and poverty. In doing so, we will build on a broad, inclusive statement of principle that, like the foregoing insights, comes courtesy of William F. Aicher: “Come back to nature once in a while.”
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