Wednesday, November 9, 2011

48 Hours Off

The Donahue Crew managed to survive 48 hours without iPhones, iPads, iPods, Macs or texting, calling, tweeting, status updating or wearing of headphones! It helped that we were away from home with fewer opportunities for distraction.

I'll be first to admit that I love technology, and it's not a bad thing in and of itself. It was enlightening, though, to see how we operated without it. I'm used to carrying my iPhone around everywhere. It's not just my cell phone, but it's also our home phone. IT'S ALWAYS WITH ME. Sometimes I think it's another appendage.

Over break, though, instead of carrying it around, I left it on the kitchen counter in case of an emergency. It stayed on but wasn't used.

Walking around without my phone, I discovered how much I use it or my iPad to distract myself or to bide time. Instead of checking email, reading Facebook, Googling, texting or playing Words with Friends, I read a book (a real one with a cover and pages!), talked to my family, took strolls and enjoyed being.

I was overwhelmed by how much I depend on technology. Sometimes it feels almost drug-like...We can't get enough. We check email before getting out of bed, text while walking across the room, talk on the phone while taking a walk, even text while we're driving.

All of it can WAIT. We may feel the pressure to respond to email or texts right away or feel the urge to see who is doing what on Facebook, but all of this is getting in the way of our paying attention to where we are right when we're there...rarely do we "stay in the moment."

I so enjoyed sitting on the front porch with Cara while the others were away. We had zero to do except be together. We talked, read, swung from the swing in the tree and rested in each other's presence.

We carved pumpkins, roasted marshmallows, talked in the glow of the fire under the stars, played board games, went hiking and ate meals together...pretty much ringing, dinging, buzzing, or vibrating to distract us from right where we were--together.

Granted, we only took 48 hours off and were 100 miles from home. There was no TV to even tempt us, and we were on Fall Break with no schedule to keep...all of these factors played a part in the degree of difficulty and ability to create some idyllic moments; however, the absence of our technical distractions was palpable at times. The draw to checkin with the world was real, and the experience was sobering.

I wish I could say that we came home and continued the trend, but we didn't. Today, it's almost impossible to function in society without some quick/instant form of communication. It's expected. Demanded even.

What bugs me the most, is that I find myself so often tangled in the trap of "instantaneous-ism"... missing the moment for what it is and the ability to appreciate it while it's there, distracting myself so I don't have to think about something else or just biding time.

Just biding time?! Yikes!

So, we're a technologically savvy culture, but we don't have to be a slave to it. We can use it and put it away when someone's talking to us. Tune it out while we're driving. Shut it off and be.

Trust me... it'll be there when you get back... it always is!

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