Sure, there are higher-tech ways of operating, but I'm just not interested.
David Cain has a blog called Raptitude that is full of insightful observations and commentary about the world. His latest post, titled 'Five Old School Things To Consider Doing Again,' filled me with delight because it listed several things that I do in my own life – and continue doing, despite realizing they're 'out of date.' I wanted to share some of these quirky habits below to find out if any readers have similar inclinations, too.
1. I read paper books.I've never bought an e-reader and don't plan to (well, maybe when I'm old and my eyesight is slipping). I just love paper books, the smell, the weight, the paper, the covers, the appendices, the publishing notes. People reading e-books don't notice these things as much, as I've discovered at my book club meetings; those of us who interact with a physical book have a different experience.
2. I read weekend newspapers.
I read plenty of news online during the week in order to keep up with my stories for TreeHugger, but when the weekend rolls around, all I want is a paper copy of the Globe and Mail to accompany my lazy Saturday and Sunday morning breakfasts. There's something about spreading it out, seeing the full articles, the ads, the obituaries, the photos, the comics, and more. It gives me an appreciation for the news industry, that they can pull off this feat day after day. My kids like poring over the papers, too, and it sparks great discussions about world events.
3. I use cookbooks to find recipes.
None of this online scrolling through lengthy paragraphs of personal anecdotes and a dozen photos to get to a few measurements, I prefer to use my well-loved cookbooks, whose recipes I trust and that my family recognizes and loves. (That being said, I've recently launched an online menu planning subscription service that uses many of the recipes I've discovered in cookbooks, but the posts are not cluttered with stories and pictures.)
4. I send my kids outside to play.
They have to spend at least an hour outside every afternoon after school. Sometimes that means eating their snacks and reading their books on the back porch; others times it's Nerf gun battles with the neighbor kids. But whatever their speed is, it has to happen outside.
5. My kids have limited access to technology.
A controversial stance in this day and age, my elementary school-aged kids do not control any handheld devices on their own. They can watch Netflix on my laptop a couple times a week, but they do not have the passwords to my computer or phone. (We don't own a tablet or TV.) This eliminates a source of temptation when they're feeling bored and allows me to keep close tabs on what they're watching/doing online.
6. We have mandatory family dinners.
Nothing gets in the way of family dinners. No extracurriculars are more important than sitting down together to eat every single night of the week. (There are rare unscheduled exceptions.) If it means my kids won't be on the swim team or hockey team or school band, so be it.
7. I listen to the radio.
I am surrounded by people who love podcasts, but I feel overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of options out there and never know where to start. There are a couple podcasts I download for occasional road trips, but otherwise I stick with the radio – Canada's high-quality public broadcaster CBC – and am often pleasantly entertained and/or enlightened by the interviews I hear there. There's something to be said for eliminating choice and just going with what's available.
8. I use paper maps.
This is a very old-fashioned habit in this day-and-age. Despite owning a smartphone, I rarely rely on it for directions because it does not allow me to orient myself in relation to more distant landmarks. The screen is just too small. I wrote in an article a few years ago:
"I learn where I am in relation to the rest of the city, the names of neighborhoods, the major streets and the directions in which they run, the transit lines. I figure out where the rivers and waterfronts are, where the subway stations are, how I can get to the best walking and cycling routes."
9. I prefer to shop in real stores.
It's a rare day that I order something online. I don't like not knowing if something's going to fit properly and thinking about the hassle of returning it, and I don't like the added shipping emissions. Instead, I try to go into physical stores to buy clothes for myself and my family, as well as groceries, toys, and household goods. If that means delaying a purchase until I travel to a major center, I'm willing to do that. More often than not, the need has passed by then.
Am I Luddite? Perhaps, but happily so.