Rebalancing the analogue and digital in my life

A few years and a couple of jobs ago, I spent much of my life on digital pursuits while work existed in the analogue world. Being old enough to have spent most of my childhood without a proliferation of technology to hand every moment of the day, this was a fine balance for me.

Nowadays, that’s reversed. My work is all digital and filled to the brim with technology, so my life has become more and more grounded in the analogue. Again, this sort of balance works for me.

However, even my ‘analogue’ world is peppered with technology: Radio comes through smart speakers or as a podcast played on wireless earbuds; the car is more and more a computer with motorised wheels; books are downloaded and displayed on a screen; TV programmes are delivered upon request over the internet. All wonderful things that would be worse without technological enhancement.

Nonetheless, the balance between digital and analogue was starting to feel askew. I started to address this by spending far less time on my Mac. (My phone doesn’t draw much of my attention.)

To really tip the scales, I started learning the piano again, after nearly 30 years away. Playing the piano has not only righted the balance between the tech and ‘real’ world, but also given me the creative outlet I’d been seeking.

Time at the piano has become a crucial part of my daily routine, so I’m strict about keeping its analogue sanctity. When I sit down at the piano, I set my phone to a largely impenetrable do-not-disturb mode to keep the outside world away. All my music is on paper. My metronome swings and clicks and to recharge it, I wind it up. It’s just me and the music.

10 December 2022