Last weekend I went to the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario with my husband, my sister, and her boyfriend. I meant to put up at least one blog post while I was gone, send some tweets and maybe update my Facebook status a few times.
Instead, a confluence of events conspired to keep my hands free and my weekend disconnected from the outside world. And I have to say, once I got past the anxiety of being out of touch, I loved it. It was really good for me to be forced to focus fully on the people I was with, and to stop worrying about what other people might be wanting to get in touch with me, or why.
Yes, even my kids. Over at my Babble blog, I’ve made a case for forgetting the phones when you go out or go away…even if you’ve left the kids at home, too. Whether you disconnect for a few hours or a few days, it’s seriously therapeutic to get some time away from the constant flashing needs of digital life, and I think my mental “reboot” has been great for my family.
From my post:
By Friday afternoon, when we needed to know the time, we realized that apparently nobody wears wristwatches anymore, and also, no one in our group had brought along a digital communication device.
At first, that realization made me anxious. What if my mother-in-law needed to get in touch with us about the kids?
But then I recalled that when I was younger, parents left their kids places all the time without being immediately reachable. School, for example. If you got sick and your mom was at the grocery store or on another call at work, then…you waited. If your parents went out to dinner, they left the name of the restaurant for the sitter and went on their merry way.
And though, for the first day or so I kept finding my fingers reaching unconsciously for my purse, by Friday evening I had gotten used to it and by Saturday I had reached a state of extreme relaxation. There is something so nice about just being with the people you are with, instead of always feeling that pull toward the outer world or being tempted to surreptitiously check your phone under the table. (What, me?)
I’d love for you to read the rest of the post and tell me what you think. Do you always take your phone with you when you go out without the kids? I’m going to make a point of leaving mine in the hotel room more often when I’m on non-work-related trips, and leaving it at home entirely when I’m out for just a few hours.
That means that I’ll be a little scarcer than usual over the next few weeks, as I have several trips planned. I turn 35 this Friday (woohoo!) and have a birthday evening planned with Jon and some good friends of ours up in Grand Rapids, and then the kids and I will be spending the following weekend with a big group of online mom friends, many of whom I’ve known since 1998. (wow!)
So you won’t see as many tweets, FB posts or blog posts as usual from me over the next few weeks, but I’ll be back with a vengeance August with stories to tell (hopefully many that involve the kind of hysterical laughter you see captured in the photo above), thoughts a-brewing, and I’m guessing, a serious sense of renewed energy. I’m still mulling over the “having it all” series and will be launching a few fun things around autumn, when I know I’ll be ready for life to get back to school-year-normal.
But for now, I’m taking a tip from my forced technology break last weekend and extending it a bit longer. Feel free to join in! Baby steps…do you think you can leave the mobile behind next time you go to the grocery store?