Friday, March 11, 2016

Unplugging and Quieting the World, Part One

If you just heard a little happy "woop!" that was me for I have the next 24 hours in the house, without having to go/drive somewhere. Hooray! Yes, I know I was desperate to get my car back but I've spent the last week catching up on all the errands that we couldn't get to without the car. As someone who gets very tired with too much continuous stimulation, I'm exhausted but very happy that everything has been taken care of and I now have time to unwind and blog. :)

As most of you who follow me on Twitter and regularly read the blog know I decided to limit my time on social media for Lent. Even though Lent is not over just yet, I've already seen the fruits of this decision and it's prompted me to want to continue it beyond the Lenten season.

I am officially off Twitter until Easter Sunday. I take Tuesdays and Fridays off of my private Facebook account as well as I'm offering it up for a personal reason. I make sure I logout of the website and apps the night before in case I click the app (out of habit) which I do at least 2-3 times a day. The less time I spend on social media, the less I see the need to be on it all day every day. I'm sure it's the combinations of the loss of FOMO (fear of missing out) and, most importantly, God changing what matters most to me and what's in my heart.

I used to use the excuse that all my friends moved away and that I needed to be on social media so I wouldn't miss out on their lives. Over the Lenten season my perspective on that has changed a bit. I've decided to make more of an effort to stay in touch with those whose friendship I value most. Some of those people will be getting updated snail mail letters from me (even if they haven't replied to my last letter), others will be getting emails and/or phone calls, and those closest (in distance) will be getting lunch invites. There's a reason why I've chosen to do this: I've become aware of how much relationships (whether they be familiar, platonic, or romantic) greatly suffer from us being so plugged into everything.

I've only read about 20% of Reclaiming Conversations: The Power of Talk by Sherry Turkle (it was on loan from the library; I'm on the waiting list to renew and finish it) but I've agreed with the author; we don't know how to communicate with others without the use of technology. Our times with our families isn't really quality time because there's always a screen or two (or more) present. Relationships suffer due to it. When I noticed that, indeed, I was too plugged in and that I value those in my life, I decided to make some "radical" changes.

I downgraded my internet speed to a one that would still be good for streaming on Roku and for my classes (lecture videos). Since I'm the only person who uses the internet in this household, we don't need all those high-speed options that the cable company offers. When the TV is on (whether it be a movie or Roku), the laptop, cell phone, and iPod are to be ignored. When one of the other screens is on, the others are off.

I also have a new screen-free rule when I'm with others. No screens unless I get a message, a phone call, or need to look up something while we're out... and if I'm in the middle of something and I'm not expecting a message or call, it gets ignored until I'm done talking to the other person. When eating, there's no screens at the table and no calls or texts get answered until we're done eating. 

I found out when the peak hours for the LADWP (Los Angeles Department of Water and Power) are so I purposely don't charge any electronics (nor do I use much electricity) during those hours. It's not just to save money (and we've already seen that it's worked in a couple of weeks), but it also keeps me from being tempted to stay plugged in. If the laptop, iPod, and/or phone get drained, they'll stay that way until peak hours are over. Then things get charged. That's also why I bit the bullet and purchased a Kindle; because they don't get drained as easily as the Kindle app on my iPod touch. 

I've only done this for a couple of weeks but I've already noticed a huge difference. As mentioned, it's been kinder on our wallet. Not only that, my relationships offline are getting stronger and communication is flowing better. I've noticed an internal change as well but I'll wait to see what the rest of the Lenten season brings before I share those changes with everyone. ;)

Oh, did I mention that I've also decided to keep my phone silent unless I'm awaiting for a phone call? Yes, I've also done that. Quieting the world has done me a world of good. Not being plugged in, even when I'm out and feeling bored or in constant need (false need, by the way) of being entertained, has been great. I've enjoyed noticing things I haven't before. I've enjoyed having more time to pray and to build on my relationship with the Lord. 

There is more I want to write but I'll wait for part two because this post is already quite long for short attention spans and, let's be honest, the more plugged in we are, the worse our attention spans are. Yes, mine included. Yes, this is also a hint at what I'll write about in part two. :) I may write it later today and schedule it for tomorrow or Sunday. We shall see. :D

Anyway, I'm off to have a late lunch with Mom since she's back home from work. I hope y'all are having a lovely day and have had a great week thus far. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D


AnneMarie said...

This is great! For the past couple months or so, I've definitely been pulling back more from the internet world and blogging, too-it's nice to cultivate more silence and focus in my life. In fact, Patty (from A Modern Grace) recently blogged about how she doesn't want to just add to the "noise" of the internet needlessly, which is also something that I've been pondering.

Just the other day, I was thinking about how so many times, myself and other people I know will say, "Oh, I wonder how so-and-so is doing?" But instead of actually contacting that person, we just hop onto social media, scroll through that person's profile page, and think that it's all good. Nope-I've been working on actually making the effort to get in touch with people, to actually connect and communicate instead of trying to rely on social media for that. Or, if I do use stuff like Facebook, I try to use it more for personal messaging people if I really want to get in touch and know how they're doing. It's been really neat to actually connect with people in a more personal way!

Emmy Cecilia said...

I'll have to check out Patty's blog post. I hadn't heard of it until now but it sounds like that particular post would be right up my alley.

Yes, social media gives the illusion of keeping up with friends but it really doesn't. Sometimes friends go through hard times but don't share them because they're presenting a certain side of themselves on the internet... and they suffer in silence. It's best to check in offline where they feel more comfortable speaking what's on their mind.

AnneMarie said...

Fantastic-if you can't find the post, let me know and I can send you the link. It is definitely up your alley :) Oh, I agree! There are so many people going through so many difficult things that you would never even guess unless you actually talk with them offline. Even in just a short conversation with someone in person, it's amazing to see the kinds of deep topics or situations that can come up within a few minutes!