My fifth day into my forced technology-free week at camp, I woke up in a grouchy, wrong side of the bed, mood. I slumped on the deck and drank in my coffee along with the scents of the lake. Watching the antics of birds on the water below, which normally is calming, only decreased my spirits. My restless fingers silently typed out words in the breezy wind … itching for an online connection: Facebook, e-mail, Pinterest, anything. I felt so insanely disconnected to what I thought was a necessary part of life.
Feeling defeated by my obsession, I curled up on the cool Naugahyde covered couch to escape my attitude and put finishing touches on my sleep. An hour later, woke in a stormy hypnogogic state – I needed a fix.
Vowing, out loud to the room, I swore to never again make a computer-free “pact” with my family. I wasn’t remotely prepared for this intervention and didn’t even bring a notepad! I was struggling, and knew it, but also willing to work through this horrible fixation on technology.
The “interventionists” were out on the lake, so, I drove alone to a local market to seek out the perfect notebook, so at least I could feel in some control of my habit and have a tactile moment with paper and pen.
Hidden in a pile of notebooks was a lovely, faux brown leather pad with a yellow and brown plaid interior – rather funky. Smelling the paper was an out-of-body experience. Also discovered not one but three extra fine point multi-colored pens, which I snapped up, as new words needed new pens, and would satisfy and calm my addiction. People who like pens are particular, for the most part. I’m into the extra-fine because my words needed to be thinly written to flow smoothly and effortlessly from brain to paper. My family would not dare argue with my purchase.
Morsels and Coffee
I discovered a new to me coffee shop called Morsels, sat in a comfortable chair with my homemade lapboard, ordered strong coffee (and some morsels) – words flowed out.
Amazingly, the distraction of using pen to paper for two hours lessened my desire for being online.
On the way back to camp, I stopped to see a friend with whom I shared my technology free attempt for the week. She warmly welcomed me into rehabilitation - her beautiful store - where she smothered me with a counselor’s understanding and compassion, generously giving me the resolve needed to make it through my commitment. Is this what friends are for? Absolutely!
What I Learned
I knew I didn’t have to take on the “advice” of my family but think they were right to request I give phone calls and writing on the computer a break. The week ended with an abundance of special and peaceful memories … very likely due to not being tethered to my devices. I participated more in discussions, game playing, kayaking. I learned a lot about myself during the week and believe that the tactile writing from pen to paper used a different part of my brain. The lack of connection provided a quiet “not knowing” what was going on in the world. This was needed and highly refreshing.
I’ll never fully give up having online connections, as my special group activities from various sites help plan my days and adds interest to my calendar. But, an occasional vacation from technology, absolutely, as doing so adds embellishments along with unexpected ideas and activities.