The Offline blog chronicles the experiences of everyday folks who voluntarily unplug. Guest bloggers shut off their cellphone and log off the internet for 24 hours, then write a 500-word essay about the experience. Click here for guidelines or to submit your essay.
By HOLLY HAGAN
On average, I spend several hours daily checking emails, texting those who may be on the other side of the room and updating my Facebook status by announcing to the world such news as what my dog has just done. I accomplish all this on my smart phone. With this small, compact device, we have the world at our fingertips. Today, our smart phones are like our right hand man—we don’t leave home without them. When given the assignment to unplug and record my thoughts, emotions and experiences for my college English class, I was a little frightened. Although skeptical of the outcome, I was determined to give it a go and attempt being unplugged for 24 hours.
I thought it would be a good idea to plan for this unplugged day, which I thought would be pure chaos. First of all, I had to alert my friends and family that I was powering off my smart phone, inactivating my Facebook page and steering away from email. After all, I wouldn’t want them to send out a SWAT team when I didn’t respond to their messages.
Although I imagined being sleep deprived the night before, I was able to get a good night’s rest, possibly from knowing that I didn’t have to worry about my “other half” (smart phone) the next day. Waking up, I wasn’t sure what to do. At the beginning of each day, I usually check emails and text messages and browse Facebook to get myself up to speed on what happened while I was sleeping. I had none of those. I wondered, “Should I clean? Should I wash the car? Should I study?” I had never asked myself those questions before. I thought this was the breaking point already. I thought I wasn’t going to make it all day.
Although I had to talk myself through it, I was able to compel myself to stay off the electronic devices and carry on with my day. It’s amazing what you can accomplish without the phone attached to your hip. I was able to clean, wash the cars, study, spend time with my family and take a nap. On a normal given weekend day, I would have only accomplished two, maybe three, of those tasks. My house was spotless, my car had that brand new car scent once again, my brain was full of useful knowledge, as opposed to useless knowledge, and my body was relaxed and rejuvenated. I felt like a brand new person.
At the end of the experience, I discovered that my life has revolved around my electronic devices, and I have been disconnected from my own self. I realized I haven’t been able to enjoy all the things that life has to offer. I have been constantly connected to the things that do not matter. Because of this experiment, I have decided to take the initiative and unplug in the future, possibly, several times a month. Unplugging was truly a pleasant wake-up call.
Holly Hagan lives in Bardstown, Kentucky, and is studying nursing at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.