In the current day and age, it is rare to find individuals not looking down at their cell phones or other electronic devices. We often see people texting while driving, playing video games during meals in restaurants, and overall oblivious to reality outside of technology. Granted, this may be an extreme perspective; however, much of this is absolutely accurate. It may come as a surprise to some, but the average American checks their phone an astonishing 1,500 times each week! That’s an amazing two hundredfold in just one day! Millennials are often criticized for investing too much effort in curating experiences with technology rather than actually relishing them. So, what can we do to improve the situation?
I chose to take a daring step and decided to dedicate my weekend to a cabin in Potter County, PA. (which I’m certain none of you are familiar with). Nestled in the woods, far from civilization and modern conveniences, there was no access to cellular service or digital devices – not even running water! (Instead of a bathroom, an outhouse is all that’s available.),I had ten of my kin and the abundance of nature to keep me preoccupied, reminding me that being constantly connected is not necessary. Allow me to share seven more facts about detaching yourself from technology – you don’t want to miss out!
1. No one cares.
Had I informed my friends that no cell service would be available for the weekend? Nope. Did they send me any concerned messages when I eventually returned to civilization? Not a single one! The fact of the matter is, most people are fully immersed in their own lives and won’t particularly miss your daily check-ins or texts. But if you were missing for a week… well then, it’s an entirely different story!
2. Handwriting needs help.
This cabin adventure is a custom passed down in our family, even though I haven’t been able to join the past few times. As part of the legacy, we record a journal entry recounting what happened over the weekend. Given the title of “family journalist,” I was delighted to have been presented with this opportunity to create an entry. After only a single page of writing, my hand throbbed in pain – an excruciatingly embarrassing experience. My Grandma’s entries were lovely and neat with their beautiful cursive, while my uncle’s remained in tidy block lettering. My handwriting was almost unreadable, making attempting cursive writing completely out of the question. Here is the takeaway: Rather than spending hours typing and risking carpal tunnel, why not jot down notes with a classic pen and paper? Rekindling the feeling of being in kindergarten again is rewarding and heartwarming.
3. People are entertaining.
Do you know what I do when I’m early for a meeting or waiting for a friend? Of course, you do too! Surfing around on my phone and aimlessly scrolling through Facebook offers me no real benefits, nor does it provide any meaningful entertainment. In order to look up from my phone, I made a conscious effort to make it a habit. As soon as I shifted my focus and picked up my head, the people around me were quite fascinating. How often do we miss out on all the funny, interesting, and kind things people do? Let us take a page from this commercial – let’s choose to be like that!
[Related: 20 Productive Habits of Successful (and Very Wealthy) People]
4. Technology is NOT at the top of the list of my favorite things.
If I had to relinquish technology, it would be no issue for me due to all of the other delights that still remain in my life- such as time spent with family and friends, yummy meals, scrumptious crumb cake, fun card games, and exciting sports. You get the point! When I returned to the world of cell service, all I wanted was to go back to the cabin with its smoky aroma, enjoy a game of escalare and sip on grapefruit soda – that’s what real life is! (As you make your own list of priorities in life, does technology come out on top? Highly unlikely!)
5. Unplugging relieves stress.
It is well-known that workplace settings are becoming increasingly flexible, particularly in the startup industry. This means you can now manage personal activities such as texting and calling during work hours without any repercussions or interruptions to your workflow. Whether you are texting the person you like, addressing an issue with your roommate, or receiving a call about a family member’s sickness; these events can all take place during traditional working hours. Cutting out this type of communication is like releasing yourself from an emotional burden. If you decide to turn off your device and disconnect for 48 hours (or however long you please), then the virtual world won’t be weighing on your mind, giving it a much-needed break. Let me tell you, it feels amazing!
[Related: How to Keep it Together at Work When Your Personal Life is a Mess]
6. It encourages human interaction.
Do you know what your opportunity is when unplugging from technology? Seize the chance to converse with people; don’t be afraid of asking or answering questions. Look for new outlets of fun and entertainment. My days were filled with leisure activities, like throwing a football or Frisbee, playing cards, and of course indulging in delicious meals. But most importantly, it allowed me to spend quality time with my family and strengthen our bond even further. We conversed about our prior ventures, how we were doing in the present day, Ebola (which was not a lighthearted discussion topic), Penn State, and the Eagles. It is remarkable what you can discover when putting away your phone and simply paying attention.
[Related: 5 TEDx Talks That Will Help You Strike Up a Conversation With Anyone]
7. A tech-free world does exist (or maybe a non-reliant-on-tech world).
Surviving in an urban hub like New York City sometimes makes us forget that life can be uncomplicated and pleasant. But, what if I told you it’s not so bad? I know that I wouldn’t be able to handle having any running water all the time, but sometimes it’s nice to just disconnect and get away from the hustle of everyday life. Potter County may not be on your radar yet, but why not take some time off every now and then and explore a nearby park while leaving your phone at home? It can offer you an enjoyable escape! Maybe you go for a day hike to truly connect with the natural world. It’s important, given our increasingly busy lives, to make some time for ourselves and de-stress.
Are you capable of surviving a weekend without technology? Let us know in the comments section!