Let's Unplug More and Worry Less

I stared at my laptop for a solid twenty minutes before I came up with a topic for this article – I think it was around midnight when I decided that I was going to devote an entire day to living without technology and write my article about the experience. It sounded so perfect – I could take a well-needed break from my devices and simply enjoy the wonderful people around me before leaving Ann Arbor for the summer. Plus, being without my laptop for a whole day would force me to get some of my homework done in advance, which seems like an inconceivable task nowadays. I could spend the entire day without that incessant buzzing in my pocket, I could sit on the law quad and not worry about whether I was in reach of Wi-Fi, I could really, truly be present in my life for one whole day.

However, I think it was after the fourth time I rescheduled my highly-anticipated technology-free day that I realized this simply wasn’t going to happen; no matter how early I started my abundance of papers due next week or how many events or meetings I pushed around in my schedule, there wasn’t one day when I could completely disconnect and drop off the grid. There were too many people with whom I needed to communicate, too many assignments to be done and too many emails to be sent. When it comes down to it, it’s not Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or even Netflix that are difficult to give up; it’s the boring stuff like responding to emails about summer internships and simply texting someone to make plans to grab lunch.

Yeah, it’s nice to think that I could have taken a whole day to disconnect but, the reality is, I am a student and a friend and an active member of my community; I can’t afford to drop off the grid, no matter how much I may want to. Realizing that I couldn’t spend a day without technology hit me harder than I thought it would because I also realized that technology is so much a part of what I do every day and what I want to do in the future. I don’t think that we, as a generation, are simply obsessed with and addicted to our technology; I think we feel as though it’s our responsibility to be connected and constantly available – which is, in my opinion, even more dangerous.

I’m only twenty years old and, in this current week of my life, I feel obligated by my social, academic, and professional commitments to stay connected through my phone and laptop. So, how am I going to feel in 5 years? In 20 years? Once I (hopefully) have a real job, am I ever going to be able to take a day without technology, a day to myself, without worrying about who needs to reach me and how quickly I need to respond?

These are the questions that worry me, these are the questions that propel me to revel in the time that I can spend unplugged from my devices. Although I couldn’t abstain from technology this week, I have planned a technology-free day (April 30, leggo) and I genuinely can’t wait. I encourage you to plan your own technology-free day, or even a technology-free hour, and savor this time, this little break from reality, this chance to not know what time it is or how many unread emails you have or what your friends are doing in this exact moment. I encourage you to devote time to spending time with yourself, by yourself, for yourself – undocumented and unreachable. Dare to be truly alone, and I think you’ll be surprised to find how much less lonely you feel.

Images Courtesy of: Stephanie Harris and Inman News