I had the great pleasure a few weeks ago to visit my faux-favorite place on the planet: the fishing pier on Okaloosa Island in Florida. Now, I say faux-favorite because my actual favorite place is the fishing pier just down the road at Pensacola Beach; however, the pier on Okaloosa is a nice substitute when I can't make the real pilgrimage.
I should state up front that I don't fish. So why is the pier my zen spot? Simple: emotional memory. It was a first, of sorts, for me. I have never been able to put my finger on the exact 'why', but I have an attachment to that place that exceeds all others.
Visiting the pier got me thinking about other attachments that I have, and more interestingly, those that I don't. We build attachments to many of our firsts: our first car, our first home, the first kiss. However, this phenomenon does not seem to apply to technology, and that was an epiphany that I was not expecting.
- First internet experience: AOL, and I had no clue what to do.
- First cell phone: cannot even recall the look or make.
- First web page: a geocities mess with spinning graphics and a list of some of my favorite things.
- Even my first Tweet (only 1100 ago) totally escapes me.
Contrast those to:
- My first car: red Nissan Maxima, and I can still smell it.
- First book I ever loved: Watership Down (in 7th grade)
- First song I ever obsessed over: "You're the Inspiration" by Chicago; at times, it still gets to me.
- First room of my own: Rast Hall dorm room, and I could draw every inch by memory.
- First love: well...let's leave that alone.
So is there a Truth here? Do you find the same pattern in your life? Do you have attachments to the digital world that are as strong (or even less strong, but present) as those in the physical? I do not.
Unlike the fishing pier, I do not have a resting place online. Sure, I have sites that I like, sites that educate and inform me, sites that provide me with a service I appreciate. But when life needs respite, it's the real world that I run to.
If I ever go missing, rest assured that I will not be browsing the web, searching for pictures of a pier; instead, I will be found standing on one, far away from land. And I will have found the piece/peace that I need.