Do you remember MTV Unplugged? When some of the top musicians would play acoustic sets on MTV? Is the series still on the air?
Anyhow, I remember sitting and listening in awe at how these songs and artists (Pearl Jam, Eric Clapton, 10,000 Maniacs and Nirvana – especially Nirvana) that I had listened to over and over could sound so different. Being unplugged and playing acoustic somehow changed the tenor of the songs. It also seemed to offer the musicians the artistic freedom to play.
OK, it may be a stretch to say that unplugging from technology for a day afforded me the same freedom or suddenly bestowed creative powers on me, but it was liberating and changed the interactions in my day.
From 5pm on Friday to 5pm on Saturday, I was completely unplugged. No phone, TV, computer. No texting, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or blog reading. My phone was on and I would have answered it if anyone called me. Or as my husband explained to my kids, “Mommy’s in a computer time-out.”
To be honest, it wasn’t that hard since it was the weekend. I’ve been trying to be less connected on the weekends so I didn’t feel the pull to check in as I imagine I would on a weekday. But what I did realize was how dependent I am on my computer, email and phone/text. Literally, they are integrated into how I now do things.
- One of my kids had a playdate scheduled for Saturday morning but I had no way of knowing whether or not it was still on or cancelled or if they were running late. (I made my husband check my phone to make sure we didn’t miss a call or email.)
- I had planned our meals for the week for once in my life. On Saturday morning, I realized I didn’t have the recipe written down. It was on Pinterest. While I could have logged on to grab the one recipe and then shut down my computer, I didn’t. I was afraid that if I did, I would be tempted to check just one more thing…then another…then my email…and then find myself down the rabbit hole. So our meal plan was scrapped and we went out for a family dinner.
- I realized that we were almost out of the kid’s toothpaste and I was going to buy more, except that I order all that stuff online. So I wrote myself a note and will purchase it later. It didn’t need to happen right away. Or my husband was researching a bike for Jasper and wanted to show me a few things but I told him it would have to wait.
Instead, I hung out with the kids. I read. I flipped through long neglected cookbooks and cooking magazines. I did laundry. I went to the library with Jasper. I SLEPT.
When 5pm on Saturday rolled around, I felt a little anxious. Part of me was longing to plug in, but part of me was also nervous. I enjoyed the time away and I actually wanted it to last longer. I’m not going to lie. I did turn on my phone at 5pm and scrolled through my email (how is it possible to accumulate so much email in 24 hours??) and took a quick look at Twitter and Instagram. Then, I turned it off.
Now that I’m plugged back into to all my technology and social media networks, I realize how quickly and easily I can waste and hour or more of time reading, checking updates and doing seemingly “important” things. I’ve realized how ADD I am when I’m online.
I’m really glad that I participated in National Day of Unplugging. I felt calmer and less rushed during those 24 hours, and the days seemed to stretch out longer. Don’t we all long for calmer, longer days? I think that I need to make this a regular practice. Maybe every Friday-Saturday sundown to sundown? OK, maybe not every week but twice a month?
Did you unplug? How was your weekend?
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