Do you have multiple cell phones? Do you find it hard to get through a conversation without posting an update to Facebook? Do you take your iPad to the beach on vacation? Is your computer always on? – National Day of Unplugging
The future is here. We can do so much with a piece of technology that fits in the palm of our hand. We can buy airline tickets, write a novel, send a note to a friend thousands of miles away, have a video call with a person one street or desk over, pay bills, take photos and invite friends out for a walk in the forest. It’s good. It really is.
But sometimes it slips away from us. It’s that second slice of cake or the impulsive decision to buy six boxes of toilet paper because it’s a great deal without thinking that you’ll have to store it all for a year. It’s temptation and distraction and even envy and jealousy and apathy and a glow that pulls you into a rabbit hole of links and cyber wandering that keeps you up far later than you intended.
I struggle with it. The Internet that is. It’s one of the reasons I don’t have a smartphone and I deleted my personal Facebook account a few years back. Lovely beautiful easy technology can turn ugly for me. It can be a crutch, a time waster and a source of dissatisfaction and comparing.
Recently I joined Instagram. Mostly it’s to see photos of a niece and nephew I would otherwise miss with no Facebook account. I’ve kept my follow list small and limited to just close friends and family. They post infrequently and I could easily stay current with just checking the account once a week and yet, I’ve slowly started checking it a few times a day. When I’m bored or putting off a task it’s that thing that let’s me avoid the present.
On Friday I’m going to take an Internet and social media reset by joining thousands of other people in the National Day of Unplugging. From sundown on Friday March 7th to sundown on Saturday March 8th I’ll abstain from using my computer, my mobile phone and watching television. My little iPod will be tucked away for 24 hours.
We increasingly miss out on the important moments of our lives as we pass the hours with our noses buried in our iPhones and BlackBerry’s, chronicling our every move through Facebook and Twitter and shielding ourselves from the outside world with the bubble of “silence” that our earphones create. If you recognize that in yourself – or your friends, families or colleagues— join us in taking the Unplug Challenge and start living a different life: connect with the people in your street, neighborhood and city, have an uninterrupted meal or read a book to your child. – National Day of Unplugging
What will I do with no screens to steal my time and attention? Sleep a bit better (children willing), get a few more pages in for the book club selection (100 Years of Solitude), probably catch a few more of the tentative first steps our youngest is sneaking in and when the compulsion would normally hit to check my email or surf the Internet, I’ll engage more. Engage with those around me, with the task at hand, with staring out our lovely windows and taking in the beach. Perhaps I’ll even throw the wellies on, grab the kids and go for a stomp in the tide pools in the rain and every present wind.
So, I’m asking: will you join all of us? Can you put the screens down, the phones away and the television shuttered for just 24 hours?
I know it’s not easy. I once did a week offline. It was lovely but challenging. The old way of doing things is becoming obsolete so you may have to hold off on some tasks, or write down some phone numbers, or even tell people you’ll be unreachable for a day. There is a bit of work involved but I promise, it will be worth it. Who’s ready to unplug for 24 hours?