Monday, April 9, 2012

Digital Mini-Break

For Easter weekend, the Cluttered Family took a quick jaunt up to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains for a camping trip with my family. My mom, "Nema," and her husband, "Cowboy Grampa," own 40 acres of undeveloped land about 5 minutes away from the house where I grew up, so she had us all come up, pitch tents and have a grand old time.

My sister, Knittersister, and I have developed a policy of unplugging whilst camping-- even when we're somewhere like my mom's property which gets a solid cell phone signal. We like to pretend that we're in the middle of nowhere and that we can't be reached, so we do our best to not be in digital land. I don't think I saw Knittersister even pick up her phone all weekend. I, on the other hand, had my phone with me most of the time because I used it as my point & shoot camera (and to listen to my sweet jams whilst prepping lunch on Saturday), but I had switched it to airplane mode for the duration of the weekend.

And you know what? It was delightful.

There were no pings and beeps and sundry sounds to alert me that I had received a text message, facebook comment, email or voicemail. Once those stopped it was really easy to disengage from the digital world and engage in the present. I also discovered that there was nothing that happened in my digital world that couldn't wait until Sunday afternoon when I switched my phone off of airplane mode. Sure, my students didn't get an immediate response about what they'd missed when they skipped class on the Wednesday before Spring Break, but then again, they chose to skip class and wait over a week to contact me, so why should they be allowed to interrupt my perfectly lovely holiday weekend?

It has made me think that one of the best ways for me to combat my iPhone/social networking over-consumption would be to take frequent digital hiatuses where I turn on airplane mode and let the digital world take a back seat to the real world. I'm also curious to find out how others disconnect from the digital world in order to engage in the present. What do you do when it all becomes digitally too much?


  1. I planned on turning my laptop off at night and not to turn it on again until the kids are in bed so that I could focus on the task at hand and be there with the kids. But it did not happen. I just "forgot" to do it at night and mindlessly open it up during various times in the day.

    Your post is a great reminder. Thanks.

  2. You're welcome!

    I'm still working on trying to create a better balance between mindless digital wandering and being in the now. It is easy when I'm away from "regular" life, but not so easy to break the habit once I get back to the real world.


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