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We often tell ourselves stories that are not actually in the least bit true. I tell myself I am laid back. (Actually, Not. True.) I say I'm easygoing(Nope. Actually, Quite Controlling.) I say we choose as a family to be UN Busy. And...well that is partially true. I'd like partial credit. Our daughters didn't play golf as four year olds and we limit their after school activities. I try not to cram forty l'even things into one week. OR day. (Here's lookin' at you, Dad!) I still feel too busy.
I'm trying meditation, the calm.com app is free and splendid. My daughters are less spazzy when they are doing even five minute meditations. I'm trying to exercise. I use essential oils from the health food store to be more mellow. I'm trying to get to sleep earlier...but actually... I found myself reaching for my smart phone all the time. I went to bed with my iPad because my husband goes to bed with his. Wild marital times. As I started taking inventory of my time and tried to figure out how to get more out of my days with less in my days, I decided to fast.
Fasting sounds weird. It is usually a medical term where you don't eat or drink before tests or surgery. For the religious among us, fasting from food can be a spiritual process too. I will occasionally fast for spiritual reasons, avoiding food for a short period of time in order to focus on prayer. (Usually I just pray the time passes because all I think about is Cheetos and Diet Coke.) It's practically UnAmerican to intentionally go without something...anything! I get some side eye when the topic comes up because depriving oneself on purpose feels...like deprivation.
I decided to take a random June Friday as a Sabbath day of rest and retreat. I chose to fast technology by turning my cellphone 'off' and throwing a darling rooster apron from the Farmer's Market over my desktop computer. I posted my landline digits on Facebook for anyone interested and explained I would cease to exist for the day. Then I waited. I waited to see a total personal transformation. I waited to see what disaster would happen while I was out of pocket, out of touch.
Seven things happened. Seven times I lamented the lack of technology.
8AM I couldn't text my neighbor to borrow something. I'd have to walk or drive to her house...or in this case I waited till the next day & then texted her.
8:10AM I couldn't take a picture of my awesome lipsense lipstick combination and post it. I wonder how the world is still spinning.
9am I couldn't check the weather! I actually dug out the paper phonebook and called Time & Temperature. (Remember that???) It couldn't give me the hourly weather though, so I was unsure of when it could rain. I called my husband and he expressed disdain that I would put my tech free burden on him. He said I'd have to get my weather report the old fashioned way...but I reminded him the TV was included in my fast. He said the weather should be fine until mid afternoon.
9:08am My friend called the landline to offer me her CSA for the week. We ended up TALKING. I felt like June Cleaver, sipping my coffee and having a telephone conversation. It was delightful and refreshing. If I'd had my smartphone on, it would have been two texts instead of wonderful conversation. I would've saved time at the expense of personal connection.
9:25am I worried my appointment might be late or need to check in with me....then I resolved to just call if she was 15 minutes late. She wasn't. She was right on time.
10:15 am I wondered about the the weather again. I didn't call my husband, but I wondered. I couldn't meditate. My meditation is firmly tied to the app on my iPad. I just did some thoughtful meditation and breathing the old fashioned way. It was great, actually.
10:25am There was an emergency where I needed to watch my friend's daughter, so I did turn my phone on silent, and when the girl's dad called to pick her up (4:00pm) he used my land line anyway, to honor my fast!
I ended my tech fast that evening to watch a movie with my family. My laundry was actually finished. The house was clean, and I'd read a magazine the day it came in the mail. I felt more relaxed, satisfied and accomplished than usual. It was like playing hooky from the world and I relished the peace of a simpler day. I was more aware of my dependence and addiction to technology and vowed to make a tech fast a regular occurrence Do you want to try your own fast? I'm doing it again next week, actually...