In a digital world reconnecting to the tangible is essential

In our virtual lives, we’ve forgotten the importance of touch

Andrew Dacey
Dec 11, 2019 · 4 min read

We need to make sure to put the time in our lives to engage our other senses: touch, smell, and taste. Otherwise, we’re ignoring what it is that makes us human

I work in IT for my day job. That means I spend my day in front of a computer typing commands into a Linux terminal, reading and writing emails, and talking on the phone. I’m also working on a daily writing habit in my downtime. Which, you guessed it, means even more time in front of a computer typing away.

Doesn’t it seem a bit too much sometimes?

Don’t get me wrong. I love much of what the Internet can offer. The ability to connect with my mother over Facetime every weekend has made my living on a different continent not seem nearly so far away. I owe my livelihood to computers. I’m still going to rely on them in my plan to transition into a creative life.

Knitting

I’ve written before about learning to knit several years ago. I find it can get quite meditative for me. I tend to fidget with my hands when I’m sitting still, and this gives me something to keep them busy.

The whole point is this is about the feel

Aside from that, knitting or crocheting, which I’ve never really picked up, is wonderfully tactile. I started with cheap metal and plastic needles that had belonged to my grandmother but quickly moved over to wooden and bamboo. I also splurge on the highest quality natural fibre yarns I can find. The whole point is this is about the feel.

Sourdough bread

Sourdough was a more recent discovery for me. For the past year, I’ve been baking with a sourdough starter. I hope to have an article out soon discussing my year with sourdough. Again, it’s a tactile experience. You have to get your hands dirty and work the dough.

Cycling

This year I also spent quite a bit of time training on a bicycle for a charity bike ride. This training had me spending several hours each week in the gym on a spin bike, as well as going for long bike rides on the weekends.

I connected with the physicality

In this case, the experience was different. It’s less of a tactile feeling, but more the feeling of pushing your body. When you get into the right rhythm, you feel as if your body and the bicycle are one. Where I otherwise don’t get much exercise, this was a significant shift for me. I’ve always enjoyed cycling but had fallen out of it a few years prior. This time I connected with the physicality much more than I had in the past.

Woodworking

A couple of weekends ago I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen for some time. He also works in IT. He commented that he’d taken up woodworking. He spoke about it in much the same ways I have with my hobbies. We both talked about how good it feels to work on something that you can touch.

We need to ground ourselves

In my reconnecting with tangible experiences, I’ve come to believe that this is something we need in our lives. We spend so much time on computers, dealing with the virtual world. We’ve become detached from the physical world. We are physical creatures. We can reproduce sight and sound over the Internet, that’s it. We need to make sure to put the time in our lives to engage our other senses: touch, smell, and taste. Otherwise, we’re ignoring what it is that makes us human. For me, it’s been that reconnecting to touch that I’ve found especially rewarding.

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Andrew Dacey

Written by

London-based writer and storyteller. Striving to use my personal experiences to make connections. Geek and avid tabletop gamer. With the odd political post.

Live Your Life On Purpose

Get Purpose. Get Perspective. Get Passion.

Andrew Dacey

Written by

London-based writer and storyteller. Striving to use my personal experiences to make connections. Geek and avid tabletop gamer. With the odd political post.

Live Your Life On Purpose

Get Purpose. Get Perspective. Get Passion.

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