I’ve been seeing a lot of Facebook status updates lately where friends have decided to go “digitally silent” for a few days. And while I’ve been intrigued by the concept … even a little bit jealous … the thought has not seriously crossed my mind. Because my entire livelihood is tied up in this thing we call the Internet. I work remotely, so all of my communications are electronic. If not by email or instant message, then certainly by online meetings or conference calls over my laptop. My whole work life is virtual. And if, brace yourselves, I have to step away from my computer for a moment, my cell phone is smart enough to alert me that I have a message waiting. Or, on a rare occasion, it even rings. Because someone is trying to reach me. By voice. I know. That’s weird. But like I said. Only on rare occasions.
You may have read my post the other day about how the power is less than reliable during the “blustery days” this time of year. Well, this used to present a problem to me, because even though my laptop has reserve batteries, my router does not. However, once our livelihood came to depend on the Internet, we wasted no time discovering cellular Internet as our back-up to lack of electricity. So, as long as my devices are charged, I’m still working. And as a small business owner, there is rarely a day that goes by when there isn’t something that could be done. And by “rarely,” I mean “never.” You see where I am going with this … a sabbatical from electronics is not a feasible option for me. Usually.
That is, until this weekend. This weekend actually evolved into a strange cocktail of digital downtime and relaxation. Two concepts that have been strangers to me for the past few years. Here’s how it unfolded …
My husband and I were planning an out-of-town get-away, sans children. But then, an unprecedented pre-Thanksgiving snow storm foiled our plans, leaving us available to attend yet another preschool birthday party on Saturday afternoon instead. Romantic get-away or Bouncy House with 30 of our kids’ closest friends? No really, which would you choose? You can be honest.
Well, to make a long story short, I had to leave my phone in the car, because this particular Bouncy House invited children and parents alike to climb and bounce and slide and play. I have to tell you … it was the best indoor, physically-active, family-fun adventure we’ve had in a long time. Worth every second. (Although, selfishly, I’m going to point out that it was no weekend away with my husband, snuggling next to a crackling fire while awaiting my spa massage. But I think that goes without saying.)
This morning, we picked our kids up from their previously scheduled sleep-over at Nanna and Grandpa’s, enjoyed a homemade family breakfast (not made by me), and came home to relax all afternoon. In fact, I just plugged in my dead cell phone and checked my email for the first time all day. Turns out, there was nothing screaming URGENT at me.
So now, I have these sweet, silent moments after our exhausted children have fallen asleep, and my husband is busy … training a cyber rat, I think. And I am hoping to continue my unplugged weekend. Difficult to do while blogging, you might think, but I’m not just blogging … I’m sitting here in the dark, with the porch light on just outside the windows, willing the snow to fall and blanket my yard with quiet peacefulness.
And besides, minimizing the digital noise in my life beats watching the American Music Awards infused with Black Friday commercials any day.