We are a nation of plugged-in people. We can’t go to a restaurant without taking our cellphone and watching TV on the 25 screens placed strategically about the room. We can’t get coffee without bringing our laptop. We can’t sit and chat with a friend without texting another. We email. We facebook. We tweet. We text. We are plugged in all day every day.
But, guess what I’m getting ready to do?
I’ve scheduled blog posts, I’ve contacted everyone who needs to know I’ll be unavailable for a while. I’ve set things in motion as best I can to run as smoothly as possible without me at the helm. I’m a little anxious about it all, but I am reminding myself that being plugged in all the time isn’t always a good thing.
To remind myself (and you), here are my top ten reasons for purposely going unplugged every now and again…
1. Reconnect with some face time.
Our spouses and children deserve to see more of us than our backs or the tops of our heads bent furiously over our laptops and cellphones. Now, I don’t use my cellphone much at all, but I do use my laptop quite a bit. Even when you are guarding your computer usage closely, you still run the risk of losing out on precious conversations and memories with your family.
2. Give your eyes a rest.
According to Dr. Marc Grossman,
More than 50 percent of computer users experience eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision and other visual symptoms related to sustained use of the computer. This type of stress on the visual system can also cause body fatigue and reduced efficiency at work. In addition, there are now indications that heavy computer users are at risk for glaucoma.
Take a load off your eyes and walk away from the screen.
3. Redeem the time.
We think we are being more efficient by multi-tasking, but in fact, being plugged in has only added to our to-do list. There is facebook to check, tweets to send out, emails to read, blogs to comment on, and all of it is moving at the speed of light. Just when our email inbox is whittled down to nothing, we get another email, and the whole vicious cycle starts over. Meanwhile, other things we’ve intended to do are being left out of our “busy” schedule. Going unplugged will give you back the time you need to accomplish the “real life” tasks you’ve been putting on the backburner.
4. The world will not end if your cellphone is off.
For that matter, you can turn off your cellphone, your computer, your iPod and every other thing you have attached to you and you will not implode and the world around you will not cease to exist. In fact…
5. Stop and smell the roses.
A plugged in life can easily lead to a life where you stop noticing things around you. Everything from missing beautiful sunsets to ending up in a car wreck can happen with you have your eyes and mind glued to a piece of technology.
6. A chance to detox from having abbreviated conversations.
When you start to respond to your child’s latest joke by saying, “LOL,” it might be time to unplug. Our life is so full of acronyms and 140 character restraints, we often forget how to use our “big words.”
7. If you miss something, it will be okay.
For years now, our family has “missed” the Super Bowl. Has our life been adversely affected? Not in the least. As my husband is fond of saying, “Tomorrow, when the ‘big game’ is over, those guys will go back to doing what they do, and I’ll go back to doing what I do, and none of it will truly matter.” Now, most of us aren’t worried we’ll miss the “big game,” but we are terribly worried we’ll miss a voicemail, a facebook announcement from a friend, or the season finale of our favorite television program.
My question is this: Does it really matter?
Very few things are so urgent that we must attend to them immediately. Oh sure, we think we have to, but truly we don’t. The call will wait. The friend will still be there to congratulate a little later. The season finale will be in reruns before you know it. Let go of your need to always be “in the know.”
8. The plugged-in world is no substitute for the real world.
It isn’t uncommon to hear things like, “I met them via Twitter,” or, “She’s a friend from an online forum.” That’s all fine and dandy (and I’ve said more than once how blessed I’ve been by my online friends), but when was the last time you had a meaningful conversation with a real live person sitting next to you? Teens and stay-at-home-moms are among the largest group to rely on online friendships as a substitute for real life friendships. Often, we feel isolated and lonely, but it is so very important (especially for Christians) to establish contact with people from our neighborhoods, our churches, our homeschool groups, etc. We truly do need friendships in which we really get to know a person face to face.
9. Be active.
Technology hasn’t done a whole lot to help our nation’s obesity epidemic. Yeah, we have things like Wii Fit, but how many of you have watched your children move nothing but their wrists when it comes to playing those glorified video games? It’s awfully difficult to run a race with all this equipment attached to our bodies. Skinny typing fingers won’t make up for that techno-tush you’re sittin’ on.
There’s nothing like a little time away to bring perspective to all the right places. Everything I mentioned above has to do with perspective. It’s tough to see things for what they truly are when you are so attached to them. It’s why rehab never lets you bring your addictions with you. You’ll justify your addiction every single time.
No, we’re not all addicted to the plug-in drug, but we could all benefit from unplugging for a while, and keeping technology in its rightful place. Here’s to pulling the plug!