Unplug – How I Learned to Love Living Disconnected
It might not surprise you the guy who writes the Tech Corner articles for this site is a bit of a gadget freak. But, I’ll let you on to a secret. Sometimes I like to be able to just… turn off. The gadgets that is.
I live a very connected lifestyle. In my professional life I work in the information technology field. I also run a very popular niche blog. For that site I release at least a dozen articles per week, at least two of which are major feature pieces. Then there’s all the social media, contacts with industry types and so on.
The end result is I spend most of my waking hours in front of some sort of screen. It takes me away from my family more than I’d like, but I don’t mind. I’ve been using computers since the 80’s, so it’s just become a sort of natural extension for me.
I’d say I don’t really even notice how much I use technology (although my dear wife does like to point it out on occasion). But, as I write this the family is preparing for our next cruise. By the time you read this article, we’ll be back and our review will already be posted, so just roll with it for now.
Why does it matter that we’re getting ready to go out on the ocean for a couple days exactly?
It reminds me that an interesting transition happens to me when I go cruising. I have my phone with me and use it as normal, taking pictures, posting them online, that sort of thing. But then, as soon as we get far enough away from land, the signal’s gone.
And then it doesn’t happen. The panic. Some folks who are as dependant on technology as I am tend to freak right out when they are cut off from a signal. I just… don’t.
I can’t really explain it. The first time it happened to me I thought I’d be the same way. But, I just shrugged, turned my phone off and stuck it in the stateroom safe.
Sure, modern technology is everywhere, and you could always pay outrageous prices for a nice hot cup of wi-fi on the ship, but I don’t even bother. That part of my brain apparently stayed on shore.
And you know what, it’s a really nice feeling. It’s a feeling of just letting go. One less thing to deal with. More importantly, when I finally do get back, I eventually turn my phone back on, but I’m not in a real hurry to check everything.
When I do, and I finally dig out from the hundreds of e-mails I’ve ignored, I find something out.
The world, in fact, did not burn to the ground. Nothing bad happened just because I didn’t favorite that post or retweet something. I reply to e-mails that need it explaining I was out of reach.
Do the people I correspond with get mad? No, they don’t. They say nice things like I hope you had a great trip. Sometimes they say that they wished they could just turn everything off for a few days or a week.
Don’t try to think about it too much, just do it. You’d be surprised at how recharged you’ll feel. You’ll probably also be surprised to find out that society has, in fact, not resorted to cannibalism in your absence.
That’s the great thing about being connected. It’ll be there waiting for you when you get back. So, try actually enjoying yourself for once and focusing on the people who actually matter to you, they’re right there in your cabin.