Before I left for my favorite B&B on the shore of Lake Michigan, I left greetings on my business and personal cell phones that I would not be returning calls for a week. I left a bounce to the same effect on my email. I turned off data roaming on my cell phone so that I could not use the internet. I carried my cell phone with the ringer turned off.
Except for a text or two with the guy checking in on my cats, I did not communicate via technology for a week. It was glorious. I was unplugged. I was not bothered by my phone ringing, beeping, or chiming. More importantly, I was not bothered by the anticipation of ringing, beeping, or chiming. And by the way, cats know how to unplug.
I slept better, I ate slower. By midweek, I was eating less and more simple foods. I was more aware of my surroundings. I talked to strangers when the occasion arose. I sat on the beach, swam, contemplated, read a novel I found in a book store. Sometimes I, dare I say it, wasted an hour or two, doing nothing but staring at Lake Michigan lapping at its shore. I watched the sunset over the lake every night.
At first, I didn’t recognize how I was feeling. Then, like a whisper of breeze on a hot day, I understood. I was relaxed. I was, literally, breathing easier.
I recalled the vacations my family took when I was a child, before technology became our master. Vacation meant “getting away from it all.” What a joke we have played on ourselves. Today, we go on vacation but we carry our stress with us. No wonder anti-anxiety and sleep medications are so in demand. We have forgotten how to unplug!
When I returned home and reluctantly plugged back in, I felt a jolt of fear, no, not fear, anger. I was angry that with a cell phone in my pocket, my time is not my own.
I started thinking about ways to unplug on a regular basis. I want to breathe easier more of the time.
Less Than Useful Advice
Many people tell me they can’t unplug because they might miss something. Yes, you might and that is the whole point.