I, like many people, am constantly on my phone. I text my girlfriends. I look at Facebook. I check my e-mail. If I'm away from the news cycle more than a few hours, I feel out of touch. I'm caught up on people's lives because I have their information right at my fingertips at all times.
But about three years ago my boyfriend, who's now my husband, noticed how technology made it so that even when we were alone, we were never truly alone—our friends were always popping up in our in-boxes. So we decided that from Friday night to Saturday night, we would try to unplug.
We started off small: no e-mails, and I'd answer the phone only if my mom or brother called. When we explained what we were doing, we started receiving fewer calls. People just got it. We told them, "If you need us, come over." Soon friends and family started dropping by. It wasn't long before we took our weekend time-outs a step further: We shut off our phones, televisions, and Internet. We did no work. No planning, no chores. We played backgammon and read. We took walks in the park. When the time-out was over each week, we went right back to our phones and TV and Internet—but we felt refreshed by the break we'd taken.
When I had my daughter, Louisanna, two and a half years ago, I started recording every funny or sweet thing she said or did on my phone. But on one of our unplugged days, I realized I'd been so focused on capturing those moments that I hadn't been feeling them. I'd missed opportunities to connect with my daughter because my face was always hidden behind my cell phone. Now when I see something beautiful or funny or sweet, sometimes I reach for my camera, but other times I think, "I need to let this moment exist. I don't have to capture everything. I just want to experience it."
It's so freeing to allow yourself time to just be. I'm a natural worrier, but now, for 24 hours a week, I have to take a break from that, too. If my mother-in-law is watching my daughter, I can't call her to check in, so I have to trust that everything is okay. I have to let go. I can't send that e-mail to deal with this or that work-related question—which usually helps me realize that I probably don't need to send it at all.
When the 24 hours are over, it's exciting to go back to my regular life. There are so many new things to share with the people I love. And I feel like my spirit has been reset, like I've fallen in love with my husband and daughter all over again. It's just the one day, but it makes the whole week better.
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