No matter where we go in 2013 we can be reached at will by the outside world.
Cell phones and text messages, Bluetooth and Sync, SKYPE and email; you're only a click away from being found. Honey, you're in techno overload!
Everywhere I am, it is rare for me not to see someone without a contact device. I am as guilty as anyone else; I am always connected. I love the Bluetooth synch in my car which allows me a hands-free talkfest as I'm driving. But a chance remark by my book editor, Ellen Urban, made me stop and think about how I was allowing myself to be a 'prisoner' of all-day technology, every day.
Mentioning that I was going on mini-vacation over the holidays, I also told her that she could reach me at any time she needed to do so. I would be available through my SmartPhone, Skype, or my laptop. No problem, I said. Contact me whenever you need me.
The response, coming from a woman who is excellent at what she does and always goes "above and beyond" for her authors, surprised me:
"Oh no," Ellen said, "Take time to enjoy yourself. For me vacations are sacrosanct!"
Therapists say that breaking the techno chain addiction can lead to depression and a feeling of being lost so I was hesitant to completely go cold turkey. I did, however, take her statement to heart and decided to give it a try.
As hard as it was for me during the first two days of vacation, I managed to break the invisible chain to my computer and cell phone. In following her advice, I recharged my life for a few days. It felt strange, but I did it. The unplug and recharge feeling was so good I determined to make it a part of my life in 2013.
In a world where everyone is only a heartbeat away from a technology connection, we need to understand that it is in our power to 'disconnect' and live in the moment. No one, save the most self-centered person will think any the less of you for unplugging to recharge your life.
Empower yourself to unplug and recharge by taking the following simple actions.
Turn off your cell! Yes! Do it! If you're out to dinner, in a theatre, at a movie, on vacation, (remember? This time is sacrosanct), live in the real moment and enjoy what's going on. You'll be refreshed, relaxed and happier.
Set a time limit for tech use use. I get emails and texts at 3:00 AM and I have people asking me why I didn't respond! Seriously? Has no one ever heard of sleep? Yes, technology is a wonderful tool and God bless Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and all our tech people, but, remember: there are only 24 hours in a day! It also helps to remember to assess your tech time and use it wisely; so much time for work, so much time for socializing and then walk away from it. Please.
Discover yourself. What would you like to do that has nothing to do with computers, cell phones, or any other tech devices? What simple thing gives you pleasure? Music, walks, dancing, the arts? You may rediscover things that you have put on hold until 'someday'. Make your 'someday' now.
Read a book, a 'real' one. I love Kindle, too, but the feel of an actual book in my hand coupled with turning the paper pages gives me a comfortable, happy feeling. It's the same as being with a friend in person and not on SKYPE; a personal, touchable pleasure.
Daydream. Watch a child who hasn't yet been introduced to DS games, iPhones, tablets, or any other handheld entertainment. They daydream and entertain themselves with unbridled imagination.
Finally, with pen and paper, write a short letter to someone updating them on your life. Email and texting may be faster and give instant gratification but a hand-written missive is something to keep and treasure.
Step away from techno-overload, unplug, recharge and discover life. Your life.
Now if you'll excuse me I have to answer a few texts, send some emails, Skype my friend Elle in Australia, and finish watching a missed episode of Girls on my Kindle. I'm determined to unplug by 3 AM!
© 2013 copyright Kristen Houghton
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Books by Kristen Houghton:
No Woman Diets Alone - There's Always a Man Behind Her Eating a Doughnut
And Then I'll Be Happy! Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness and Put Your Own Life First
Remember, Hetty? (An Award Winning Short Story)
Nourishing Thoughts: The Little Book of Sayings for a Healthy, Happy Life