Recently I stumbled upon an article in the New York Times on the idea that culturally we’re disengaged from being in the moment. I originally thought it was going to be an article on how cool it is to document your life. Although it didn’t take that spin on things it was inspiring enough to bring attention to how to create space in your life to stay connected to those around you in real time, in the real moment, face-to-face…like our grandparents and parents did.
On New Year’s Eve, my husband (Dr. Bitar) and I (remember, we’re married) went to dinner and spent a lovely 2 full hours talking, eating, and only picked up our phones to take a photo to, well, document the evening. Just look at that dessert. Could you blame us?
Reflecting on that evening, we concluded that being in the moment together was a lost art and a lost joy. Conversation was engrossing, especially when there was no “ding” sounding from our phones to distract or interrupt us. I loved it! Being unplugged was awesome.
We are living in a time when accessibility is important, being “in the know” is interesting, and smartphones have reinvented how we build relationships. Having said that, take the challenge to put down your mobile device or turn off distracting gadgets and reconnect with people around you in real time, real moments, face-to-face.
I’m not talking in extremes, either have technology on or not at all, I’m talking about picking and choosing opportunities to do one thing different to be present. If not having your phone causes you anxiety, then that may be a strong indication that you need to practice being detached. Many times growth comes from anxiety producing moments. To calm some fears, remember, people lived for years without being as accessible as we are today; you can do it for at least an hour or two.
Take the Unplugged Challenge.
- Start small so you can be successful.
- Choose one item that you’d like to unplug: television, computer, phone, etc.
- Pick at least one hour during the next week to be unplugged.
- Schedule that hour. Really. We live in a world that if we don’t schedule things, they probably won’t happen.
- When the time comes, turn off the device.
- That’s it. You did it. Celebrate.