July 21, 2009


A year and a half ago, one of my favorite bloggers took on an interesting project that she dubbed 52 Nights Unplugged. You can watch a clip about it here if you like, but I'll give you the Cliffs Notes as well. Realizing that she wanted to be a little more "present in the present" and after attending a workshop about finding balance between technology and soul she decided she was going to spend 52 Nights Unplugged.

"One night a week, I am going to completely unplug from anything with a screen. This means no Internet, no sidekick, no watching DVDs."

At the time I thought it was a novel idea. Sure, the Internet is great, but how many times have you turned on your computer to check out one little thing, and looked up later to find yourself with a giant pain in your ass and a sense of bewilderment regarding where the last few hours had gone? How many times have you sat down to do something productive and gotten sucked into something on TV or texting back and forth with friends about something silly only to push aside the to-do list? I know I am seriously culpable when it comes to those behavioral patterns and so when I read about this project, I thought her choice to be proactive about the situation was incredibly noble. I wasn't going to run out an join her right that second, after all I certainly didn't think I had quite the same problem with technology, but I was really excited to hear about her progress from week to week.

A year and half later, however, I still find myself thinking about that project quite frequently while I'm at home, and Internet, if memory serves I think *they* say the first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem, right?

::::waves hello:::::

And here we are.

The more I think about it, the more I realize it's not so much a technology problem (don't worry, I'm not trying to rationalize here) but rather a time management problem with a technology enabler. I feel more and more overwhelmed by all of the plates I spin in my professional and personal life and lately when looking for ways to diffuse that stress, I find that I don't have any time because I have blogs to write! Text messages to send! Phone calls to make! Articles to read! Facebook statuses to update! Pictures to upload and edit! HOLY HELL WHY AM I ALWAYS BEHIND?

Do you see what I'm getting at?

So why don't I just give it all up, you ask? I mean obviously all of those items fall in the Nice-To-Do category and certainly not in the Need-To-Do category, right? But for those of you who don't know me personally, here is a little insight into my curious little psyche. I have always been a bit of an obsessive documenter. As a child I was constantly writing my way through whatever was going on in my life, my room was always surrounded with photo collages of friends and family, artistic inspiration torn out of magazines was always hanging around (OK and some pictures of TV heartthrobs, whatever), and there was no shortage of little ripped pieces of paper that chronicled my next brilliant idea. It's just the way I was made.

Even as an adult I have written countless pages of randomata and I'm actually quite grateful for it. When I moved in with Garrett I had so much fun looking back on my observations from the early days of our relationship. In short, my brain is always going. Getting all of that head chatter documented IS a Need-To-Have for me because putting that stuff somewhere allows me to heave a sigh of relief and just get on with my life already! Now with the advent of technology it has just made the tools I use a little different. Is that better? Probably. But it does come with a price, and that price is feeling sort of stifled by the constraints of electronics at times.

I'm not saying that my goal is to stop depending on technology (NEVER gonna happen!), but what I am saying is that I do need a bit of a reboot once in a while, so I've decided to piggyback on Ariel's idea of "Unplugging" and starting tonight when I get home from work I'm going to just Turn. Everything. Off. My hope is that by doing this weekly (every Tuesday) this will force me to regularly to hit the pause button which will allow me not only the luxury of decompressing but it might also give me the illusion of extra time to squeeze in some of those things that I feel like my harried, fast-paced life does not allow for. Taking walks. Reading. Writing on paper instead of on the Internet. Thinking. Hell, just breathing. These things are important to me, and no one else is going to prioritize them for me.

You may be wondering how Garrett fits into all this. I actually approached him about this idea last night and I thought for sure he would giggle at another one of my crazy schemes, so imagine my surprise when before I was even through outlining my reasoning behind everything he blurted out, "Let's Start Tomorrow!" He also feels the pull of so many different commitments, so rather than coming home and partaking in our usual routine -- dinner, trashy television, phone calls, computer time, and then off to sleep, lather, rinse, repeat -- he is going to unplug with me on Tuesday nights as well. Hmm...it'll be like Date Night meets Little House On The Prairie.

I'm thinking it will be fun. And different. And a little bit nutso. But this is me we are talking about.

Were you expecting something different?

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