Tag Archives: Unplugging

8 Ways to Unplug Everyday

Standard

Sometimes its best to enjoy nature with a friend.

Last week I questioned whether it was even possible anymore to unplug ourselves from the great Cosmic Technology outlet. The responses were interesting.

One of my FB friends simply responded with NO. It isn’t possible for him, apparently.

Another offered up a thoughtful response. But the irony was not lost on me when that same friend retweeted my post. On Twitter. On the Internet. Probably from her computer. Or maybe from her phone, which is probably worse. It is getting hard to get away from all this technology that was supposed to make our lives easier, proving more time for leisure and recreation. For some its nearly impossible.

My step-daughter recently posed a question to me. Would I rather lose my foot or lose the Internet for everyone. Before she asked me the question she told me she thought she knew my response. So before I answered I asked her what she thought I’d say. She figured I’d go for the lost foot. I explained that the Internet is not actually a necessity–like food and water. Or even an almost necessity, like walking.

She begged to differ. She reminded me of the parameters of her proposal. I could save the Internet, nay THE WORLD, by just giving up my foot. I could even wait until I was OLD to lose my foot.

“Do you mean when I’m 90 or do you mean next year?” I asked. It’s important to clarify when engaging in hypotheticals. Especially with a 10 year old. She said I could wait until I was 90 to lose my foot and save the world.

I stuck with my original answer–no way in Hell would I give up my foot for the freaking Internet. She was shocked. She reminded me that her entire life had been shaped by the Internet. I groaned. We are going to have to spend some serious time outside this summer. Without our phones. Without our iPads. Without our earbuds. This is getting serious.

So, I want to offer some tips of getting unplugged. It’s too hard to go cold turkey these days.

  1. Set your email to vacation mode, even if you aren’t going on vacation. No one will know.
  2. Go out on an errand and leave your phone at home.
  3. Do not look at Facebook today. Resist the urge to post a photo of that man walking down the street in the superhero costume. Just take a mental snapshot and tell a real-life friend about it in person. Perhaps in a coffee shop. Use your hands to gesticulate. Talk in a loud voice. Call attention to yourself. You’ll be better off for it and you might actually have others genuinely interested in your story.
  4. Take your old-school camera for a walk in nature. Notice the dew on flower petals; pay attention to the quality of the light; listen to the birds or other creatures. Take at least twenty pictures, ones that require you to focus and pay attention. Do NOT hold the camera away from your face and take a picture of yourself for your Facebook profile.
  5. Pet your cat without your video camera at the ready. Yes your cat might do something incredibly strange and worthy of the world’s best cat video. But chances are you won’t get 3 million views on your youtube account anyways. And really, who cares? The point of having a pet is that they need/love you even when you’re being weird.
  6. Go outside. Go to the mountains, the rivers, the beach. Find your happy place and resist the urge to share it on social media. Just be there. Absorb it rather than being a conduit for the virtual world. Better yet, bring along a friend/loved one/total stranger to share the experience.
  7. Try a new sport. Of course I have to mention skiing here, the ultimate HOLY COW I BETTER PAY ATTENTION sport. But there’s also surfing and kayaking and pinochle.
  8. Take up a new hobby that requires all your attention. Think birdwatching or knitting or roller derby, anything that occupies your entire mind. The trick is to come up with NEW hobbies every once in a while. Or take your old hobby and push yourself a little. Get out of the HO HUM and into the HOLY CRAP, I REALLY HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION phase every once in a while. I suggest something challenging. Like slack lining. Or Karaoke.

Bonus*** Now its your turn. How do YOU unplug? (I do see the irony in commenting on a post–on your computer, on the Internet–about ways to get away from your computer and the Internet.) Just promise that as soon as you share your ideas you will then turn off and unplug, even for a few minutes today. After you share this post on all your social media outlets, of course.

Can You Just Unplug Anymore?

Standard

Preparing a lesson in the backcountry

It used to be that I’d only check my emails every few days. I didn’t own a cell phone and rarely checked my voice messages. I wasn’t on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn until recently. It all started when I decided to write a book. Well the cell phone thing happened earlier. But not by much.

These days if you want to sell a book, you also need a blog. And a Facebook account. And a Twitter handle. And what the publishing industry calls a “platform”, which I like to think of as a really tall place from which to holler, “Buy my book!” The more connected you are, the taller the hollering place. Really famous people seemingly holler from the top of Everest.

I’m not famous. But I have a blog and a Facebook account, which is practically the same thing these days. (Actually that’s not true. Not even close.)

So I’m finding it harder and harder to unplug. My husband and I were recently surprised by how many work-related emails we received over the holiday weekend. People don’t seem to take time off anymore. Every waking moment can now be used to build one’s platform, creating an ever higher place from which to “stay on message”. Whether we are proselytizing about our book, our recent accomplishments, a product we hope to sell, or simply our cute kids, we are all out there trying to sell ourselves 24/7. It’s a tough world these days, and everyone wants to be on top.

That’s what I like about adventure trips. Before I built up my platform I worked as an Outward Bound instructor, spending nearly all summer in the backcountry without electronics. I didn’t have a phone or a iPod and only rarely carried a camera. While time in camp was busy, the easiest part of the day for an instructor was hiking the trails–when the kids were too tired to complain or bicker and we could just get lost in our own thoughts.

I’m ready to unplug this summer. I want to walk a trail and get lost in the rhythm of my feet, thinking no further than the next campsite. I’ll still be here, blogging away, but not at my earlier pace. I plan to post at least once a week, more when I think of something great to share.

It is time to recharge. And unlike electronics, humans can only recharge when they are unplugged. Take some time away from your computer this summer. You’ll be happy you did.