It’s that time of year again, folks. It’s National Unplugging Day (weekend?) and that means it’s time to put your shiny toys away for a little bit. The basic idea is to simply remove ourselves from our constant relationship with electronics for one day. Our relationship with electronics, both personal and communal, has permeated damn-near every corner of our lives, and I don’t think it’s a bad idea for you to go off on your own, away from them, every once in a while.
Getting away from your “tronics”, as I’m sure no kids are calling them, is a pretty simple thing to do. Just put them in a drawer and forget about them. Filling your time with something else may be slightly more difficult, but the real challenge comes with finding a reason to unplug. I presume you’re living a pretty happy, fulfilled life, and you’ve been doing that with electronics by your side almost every step of the way. Why stop now, right? Good question.
GET IN TOUCH WITH YOU
With constant access to information, social media, and really anything we could ever want right at our fingertips, it’s hard to think that we may not be in touch with who we are. I got news for you, fella: there’s a pretty good chance that’s exactly what’s going on.
When you (I’m guilty of this, too) wake up in the morning, what’s the first thing you do? I’m willing to bet that whatever it is, it involves your phone. Whether you’re checking the news, Facebook, your emails, or just playing a game, the likelihood is that your phone is one of the very first things you interact with upon waking up (after your snooze button—which is probably also on your phone, of course). That’s silly. It’s almost like we’ve forgotten how to do something as basic as wake up without being connected.
Remember when waking up meant tossing and turning a little bit, or staring at the ceiling? We had time to acclimate to the new day. Now, we open our eyes and the familiar glow of our phone screen illuminates the bed around us.
There are a couple of problems with this, not the least of which are that our reliance on these devices has caused us to forget how to be alone with ourselves. It also creates a false sense of reality.
First, not being able to be with ourselves, or alone, is what causes us to feel the need to check our phones every 15 seconds. We need to see if someone has texted us, or if we got a like on Facebook, or if someone tagged us on Instagram. We’ve placed our happiness on the actions of other people so much that if we don’t check what’s going on, or if we don’t get the response we’re hoping for, anxiety and fear build up in us. This is no good.
Second, being constantly plugged in creates a false reality by only treating us to the best of what people are doing – people tend to only post their prettiest photos, or biggest accomplishments, or funniest jokes on social media. Always seeing someone’s best causes us to doubt ourselves because we see someone who looks to be living a kickass life, and we’re here scrolling through social media with bad hair, in our pajamas.
Forget all that. Take this opportunity to unplug and remember that though someone’s life looks pretty kickass, it should have no bearing on how you feel – unless you’re incredibly happy for the other person. We can’t let our reliance on devices negatively affect the way we feel about ourselves. Unplugging every once in a while will help us combat that. What better time to start than right now?
Until next time – put your phone down and let’s play.