Unplug and Unwind

One of my favorite weeks in coming up soon. My kid’s school does a ‘SCREEN FREE WEEK‘ in early Spring. No Technology.

The first day or so hurts because we have become so entwined with our various gadgets.

It’s like my kids are little junior Borgs, my wife is ‘Seven of Nine‘ and I am Big Daddy Cylon.

Technology is fun and important and here to stay. Consciously, periodically abandoning it does some wonderful things for you mind, body, and soul.

We have a closet full of puzzles and board games. Are they less entertaining than our video games and social media sites?

Yes, they are, ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS. I am pretty sure my children would elect to stay on the Kindle during a house fire if I gave them the choice.

However, if you force everyone to Turn off and Tune in guess what, COLLECTIVELY you do have more fun. We all laugh during board games, we all are engaged with a big puzzle.

Take away the alternatives and you actually thrive in each other’s company.

You’d be surprised how much more time you have when you are not on your gadgets. Remember your kids will only be this age once, eventually they will not be around.

I also use the Turn Off method to dial myself back from being on DefCon 3 all the time. Being hyper aware of everything going on in the world can be a Very Bad Thing.

I would love to not care about the State of the World, but I can’t. I need to know what is going on and lately. (last 17 years, I’m looking at you) Paying attention to the world is Stressful. I personally blame Osama Bin Laden for my hair falling out.

Whenever my Gloom Index gets too high, I leave the world for a little bit. Stop checking the news, sit out of the endless discussions, go on a hike, take a bath, whatever. You can not live on the edge all the time. Your marriage, your kids, even your pets are all picking up on this heightened level of angst and IT IS affecting them.

I also need to leave Facebook now and again because my ‘Friends’ are driving me up a wall with all of their consternation and or fake outrage.

Try it out if you don’t believe me, leave social media for a one week and you will feel the difference.

Make sure you sit and do nothing and hear how little noise the real world makes when you are sitting by the water, or walking in the woods. Our electronic life is not the natural world. We live in both but can not be in both at the same time, How long have you spent in one without checking back with the other? Too long I would bet. It is good to be unavailable sometimes.

Technology is also Dangerous in that it allows unacceptable notions to subtlety creep up and become our Norms. We used to be left to our own devices (small ‘d’ not our new actual Devices) to decide our own beliefs and convictions. There was always some degree of influence from our friends and family and even from popular culture. Nowadays though, there is a near constant buzz of thoughts not our own being whispered by the little man who sits on our shoulder. It is easy to laugh at him, or ridicule him, or blow him off, but NEVER think that it isn’t influence and that it doesn’t have an effect.

We are islands in this murky turbulent sea of public opinion. That immersion makes up the tiny but persistent erosion of the shoreline to our tiny islands of individuality. People naturally conform and acclimate to their surroundings and boy are we ever surrounded.

Maybe this rant is getting too far afield from any finance related topic so I will pull it back in. Consumerism and hyper-capitalism are 2 of the biggest, hungriest SHARKS swimming in the water I mentioned above, don’t get swallowed whole.

Remember always, You are Captain of our own Ship!

As a follow up to this post, I recently read a fascinating/terrifying article by Jean M. Twenge in The Atlantic called “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?”, you can find it here.




4 thoughts on “Unplug and Unwind

  1. Happy May! Wonderful reminder Othalafehu. We did this with my kids when they were at home and it was fun to break out the games.

    “Technology is fun and important and here to stay, but consciously periodically abandoning it does some wonderful things for you, mind, body, and soul.” Amen!

  2. I do wonder what the impact of technology will be on kids. Always plugged in, always on. No more waiting for a show to come up on tv or article to hit the paper. It sounds great on paper but what does it do for patience when these don’t occur in real time? So much in life requires long term patience and approach.

  3. I remember when the phone made and received calls. Not the primary function anymore! I had a company issued blackberry, worse thing ever invented. Was on call 24/7 and they always seemed to need me most when I was either at on of my kids’ games. Technology is great when handled properly. I recently posted something similar.

    • I just read it, totally agree. The worst ones are the kids at the concert, filming the concert on their phones, just be in the moment dammit!

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