Time to Unplug!

Good Living Prompt 2

photo credit: amatteroflifeandtech.com

photo credit: amatteroflifeandtech.com

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”― Eleanor Roosevelt

We forty-something Gen-Xers are just as guilty of spending too much time on the Internet or with our smartphones as the Gen-Yers and Millenials.

Truth be told, there’s something wonderful that happens to the mind when we allow ourselves to unplug from the cybernetic world.

Our minds quiet and we are able to hear our own thoughts. Sounds of the natural world around us come into greater focus and we regain our sense of being present. It’s like a happy welcome back to things that matter. I can almost feel my brain sighing, ahhhhhh, what a relief!

It’s weird to me to read my friend’s status update announcing they will be taking time off from Facebook. Why the announcement? Just do it. The myth is that you’ll be missed. Another truth be told, everyone is so busy crafting their own “online” image to really care that you stopped sharing your updates.

I decided about a couple months ago I was going to pull away from Facebook and I told no one, except one of my friends and that’s only because she enjoys communicating via FB messenger. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I even removed the app from my phone so I would ‘t be tempted to read my friends notifications. Now if I want to get on Facebook, I need to log in from a computer.

I unplugged not just from Facebook, but my smart phone, as well, goes dark for several minutes or hours a day. Not that people are calling me day and night, but when I do that, leave the phone in the other room or turn it off, I feel my stress levels go down, down, down…seriously, not having the smartphone in the same room with me gives me immediate peace. Is it just me?

The benefits to unplugging are almost immeasurable.

I find I have more time to think and thinking is what we writers need time to do.   I am more creative as I allow the vacancy of time, once devoted to reading someone’s Facebook status or surfing the web, to be filled with a stream of potent ideas.

I spend more time meditating and praying.

I also spend more time on household projects and more time calling friends on the phone and connecting.

What I came to realize is that time spent away from the cybernetic world and electronic devices was important for the nourishment of my soul.

Most of us will agree there are times when we need to back off. Take a break. Feed our souls with real, healthy “food” that comes from real life interactions and real life living.

In this digital age, the goal here is achieving balance.

You don’t need to totally pitch your electronic devices and social media, but you certainly shouldn’t depend on them either.

I think the Internet and constant smart phone usage is analogous to eating too much junk food. In small doses, it’s fine, but you can’t truly be healthy, mentally or emotionally, by being on it all the time. Eventually, you’re going to need to eat the “real food” of life.

Here are some crazy statistics about smart phone usage:

According the HuffPost:
84% of people polled say they cannot go a single day without their cell phones.
50% of Americans sleep with the phone next to them like a teddy bear or spouse and 80% of 18-24 year olds affirm this.
1 out of 3 Brits would rather give up sex than go a week without their cellphones. Mmmm…

So, do yourself a favor and take a few minutes, hours, days or weeks and let go…let go of whatever you think you need or will miss from the Internet/smartphone/cellphone and find a replacement in the real world–a book, a magazine, a walk, a drive, a conversation, a meditation, a sport, a project, a hobby, a prayer, a workout, a shopping trip, a community activity, a social gathering, a humanitarian effort —in other words, unplug and live a little!

Like, right now…

Bye!

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