Can You Unplug For One Day?
- September 26, 2016
- 4 Comments
That means no Internet. No email, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever other social platforms you’re on, no looking up the weather or searching for whatever information you want to know immediately.
For one day.
Can you do it?
I tried and it’s hard. What was I supposed to do with myself? And why did I decide to even try this?
The “why” was easy. I had just finished reading Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste by Luke Barr and I was struck by how often they wrote letters to each other, even when there was a telephone. I remember writing letters to people and the joy of seeing a letter in the mailbox. And yes, email is wonderful and immediate and I wouldn’t want to be without it, but for one day, slowing down showed me how speeded up I was.
My restriction for the day did not include the phone but did include the TV. But before the day was done, I conceded that television (and DVDs) were acceptable. I considered turning on the computer just to open Word, but vetoed it—the slippery slope of good intentions had enough exceptions as it was.
I handwrote this blog entry. And the day was strange and blank as I went about my chores. I might as well have been on a lonely mountaintop. But here’s what I noticed:
- Fewer distractions. No Plants vs. Zombies to sap the hours away.
- It’s easy to fill a void with food. Don’t do it!
- Things I had ignored suddenly appeared in stark relief. When was the last time I cleaned out that corner?
- And, most surprisingly, it did not free me up to write. I realized I needed a rest.
So I went for a walk. I drove the slow way around to a supermarket. Traffic didn’t bother me because I was too busy absorbing the scenery and people. The attention I gave to earning points in a computer game was turned to watching a couple push their baby carriage down a tree-lined street while glued to their cell phones.
It was strange, but I’m going to do this again next week. Anyone want to join me? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I’m all for spending less time on the Internet, computer, cell phone, anything electronic. There’s too much going on in the world to be constantly distracted with the digital media. Not just to “stop and smell the flowers” but to pay attention to people, talk to your neighbor, read a book, visit museums, galleries, cook innovative meals, exercise. I could go on.
It’s difficult for me to unplug much because as an indie author, there’s a lot of work to do online. And email is the preferred method of communication with a lot of people. But along with that, I’m an information addict and the Internet feeds me. But of course, there’s savoring a meal and gorging. I hope to unplug next Saturday and see if I can make it a weekly occurrence.
The funny part is, when you posted, I was offline! I’ve had times when I didn’t follow through but for the most part, Saturdays are away from the Internet. Alas, I can’t last until Sunday, I’m usually back by Saturday night, but the mental rest I get is pretty amazing.