Sunday, November 17, 2013

Time to Unplug

"How much of the day are you plugged in? Do you consciously set aside offline time, or does it happen whenever it happens?"

I came across this topic while scanning the NaBloPoMo writing prompts and decided to use it since I’d just talked about the subject over breakfast.

Ash and I went to breakfast with my aunt and uncle (who were visiting from North Carolina) this weekend. It was so nice to catch up in person. Generally, because of distance, everything is via e-mail.

The issue actually came up during breakfast. My aunt commented on how no one has time for phone calls anymore. Everyone just texts or e-mails. I agreed with her and offered a few examples of how the world has changed and made us both more and less social at the same time. For instance, I e-mail with most colleagues whether they are across the hall or in another state. One on one calls are rare (though conference calls are abundant). My parents and siblings are smart phone junkies like me. We will literally text while we’re in the same house. For holidays and vacations, the “Are you awake yet?” text is a regular occurrence. Love notes between me and Ash are little texts throughout the day.

Confession: The first thing I do in the morning is check my phone (usually after turning off the alarm, which is also on my phone). I check throughout the day. I also listen to music and books from my iPad while commuting. Then I get home and use it for recipes or media (TV or iHeartRadio) while cooking. Once I hit the bed, I’m using my phone of iPad to play Candy Crush or to read. My Bible, my music, my books, my calendar, my lifeline to my friends and family are ALL on my iPad. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I literally live on that thing and find myself falling asleep more and more with my fingertips on the screen. Not. Good.

Recently, I suggested that Ash and I carve out some time each week where we are gadget free. It started because he made a comment that we were in bed together, both playing games on our iPads and texting with family/friends. We weren’t really spending time together despite being right next to each other. I noted that our best communication moments are in the car and during date night because we leave our electronic devices locked for the most part. Why not do that on a Monday during dinner?

Do you and your family/friends consciously “unplug” during specific times of the week or are you attached to some electronic device until you fall asleep each night? Do you think it’s important to unplug sometimes.

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