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 JANET KENNEDY
I survived. It was as scary as the Y2K pandemic. However, the world did not end because I turned off my cell phone and did not power up the computer. Life without being “plugged in” was peaceful and uneventful, and I focused on some of the things I generally take for granted. My attention turned to my family, and our entertainment with and for each other was relaxing, warm, and comfortable.
One reason unplugging was fun was that it allowed me to slow down and refocus my attention. For one, I realized that, boy, do I ever need to dust! Maybe I should stay plugged in so I don’t notice the housework. I did notice other, more positive benefits. For example, I was able to talk and share in a calmer, more inviting state of mind while not feeling hurried and distracted. Being plugged in is like watching a movie with your family: you are all present, you’re just absorbed in the screen together and not absorbed with each other.
Unplugging allowed me to unwind. That night I didn’t feel the peer pressure of how popular I would be online or feel anxious that the world might forget I exist. It gives you the chance to get everyday things done, instead of feeling pushed to get a hundred chores done in the 30-minute window you might give yourself.
Another reason unplugging is a good idea: you do not feel stressed about keeping up with family and friends. Sometimes it’s a relief to step away from the drama of social media sites. After giving this some thought, I asked myself, why is keeping up with my status on Facebook or talking on the phone more important than interacting with those around me?
Although using social media is a faster, cheaper way to communicate with a mass audience, staying plugged in all the time has its downfalls. It can be like being at a family reunion from the luxury of your own home, but, as everyone knows, family reunions can be a disaster. A more meaningful way to reach out is by being there in person. Face-to-face conversations where we can truly show our affections and care for each other offer more value than any status on any social networking site ever can.
Janet Kennedy lives in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, with her husband and son. She enjoys writing children’s stories and is taking classes in business management and cake decorating. Besides her job working in the auto industry, she and her husband own and manage rental properties.