This past weekend, I went on a technology fast of sorts. It wasn’t preplanned, and yet it wasn’t accidental, either.
On a typical weekend in our house, when my little one has his lay-down after lunch and my older one is either playing the Wii with her father or playing outside with friends, I bring out the laptop and get to work. I peruse social media, news sites, entertainment sites, and eventually (hopefully) do some writing on my work-in-progress du jour. It’s a fairly routine carbon-copy of the other five days of the week when my daughter is at school and the house lulls itself into a mid-afternoon sleepiness.
But this weekend, when my daughter and I arrived home from a morning dodging snowflakes and running errands, I decided to let the laptop sleep. Instead, I decided, I would read a book. And not on my Nook, either, because I knew if I awoke the Nook, I would be lured onto Twitter and Words with Friends via my Wi-Fi connection. Nope, instead I cracked open an actual paper book (The Likeness by TanaFrench, if you’re curious—quite good so far). I read for several hours while my daughter visited at her grandparents’ house, while our little guy took his rest, and while the hubby enmeshed himself in a season of hockey on the Playstation. Such a tranquil way to spend a chilly, gray afternoon.
I kept the trend going that evening, and taught myself how to de-code crocheting instructions for a scarf while watching old episodes of Northern Exposure on Netflix. I felt so relaxed and decompressed by the time I went to bed Saturday night that I decided to treat myself to another unplugged day on Sunday. Ahh, bliss.
This morning, after taking my daughter to the bus and practicing some flexibility-centered yoga, I sat at the computer to catch up on everything I had missed over the weekend. Interestingly, it wasn’t much. To my mild surprise, nothing earth-shatteringly important was announced on Facebook over the weekend that managed to elude my attention. No life-altering tweets went unread. No time-sensitive updates hit my accounts in Good Reads or Figment. In fact, I barely missed a beat.
In this age of constant information overload, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we must always be connected to our electronic media in order to stay relevant, stay in touch, or stay informed. But the truth is, the world won’t stop spinning if you disconnect for a few days. In fact, if you do, you may find yourself far better able to deal with everything the world throws at you when you jump back in.
So after a successful and peaceful weekend of truly connecting with my husband, my children, and my interests outside the “virtual” world, I’ve decided to make all of my weekends “unplugged.” Who knows, maybe I’ll actually finish this scarf I’ve started.