Living Life Unplugged

January 6, 2017

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As a kid, each day after school my Mom would send my brother and I out in the yard to play. She’d give us a snack then we’d gladly run off in to the grass and begin our own make believe games. We’d climb the trees, pretend we were explorers, and we even did our own version of Fear Factor, (Anyone remember that?) where I gave my cousin and brother a challenge of holding a slime as long as possible while we played outside.

The world seemed infinite when we were kids.

We had the park nearby, endless amounts of tag, bike riding, hiking, and catch. My parents would join us for monkey-in-the-middle as well as coming to our imaginary café we had set up on our play slide. My Mom had even given me a cookbook once called, Mud Pies, that I read and carefully assembled my ingredients to concoct my creations I would then sell for a penny.

Summer was my favorite time outside. Time to play with the neighbor kids, as well as watching the sun set each day. It honestly was magic. It was the kind of outdoor dream that I still think about.

It was a time when creativity was limitless.

I often still look at those times and think about all our crazy adventures as kids and how it was often just my brother and cousin and I, the best of friends, imagining up amazing worlds all on our own.

I’m not sure if you had any similar childhood outdoor memories, or if you did, you probably understand the excitement of just having a space to call your own. A place where the world was at your fingertips.

I realize that with the implement of technology in to our daily lives, we often skip out on this small step of stepping outside at the end of each day. We are driven by the overwhelming amount of information which is at our fingertips. It’s impossible to stay on top of that information, yet we try. So we keep staying connected, afraid to miss something, constantly scrolling through our news feeds.

What if I told you that you wouldn’t miss anything by putting down your phone? That information would still be there in twenty minutes when you could pick it up again.

I challenge you to take the time to set down your device and go outside. Remember those moments when you were a kid when the world felt huge and exciting and full of possibility? Those moments can still happen. All you need to do is to absorb the moment and feel that surge of excitement once again. 

In a recent challenge on a technology committee I’m on, we were asked to turn off our phones for a dinner with our families and see what the results were. Some on the committee remarked at how much focused the meals were and appreciative of each other’s company. Some even talked about how they gave away their devices for an entire day and this made a huge difference. They were less stressed and even resorted to using a simple alarm clock instead of their phone for an alarm in the morning.

To me, this was pretty powerful. The inclusion of technology has shown a huge change in people’s habits. We automatically look to our phone when we’re bored or put in an awkward situation. Although we can only speculate the long term results technology dependence, I think the message is simple.

In the end, will the technology that we utilized throughout our life, matter? Does it really matter now? 

I’m not saying to get rid of technology, but I’m rather presenting the idea of being intentional with your time. Use some of it on technology. Set the alarm on your phone to limit how much time you spend surfing the web, then take a step outside.

Go for a walk outside, (Snowshoe!) chat with a friend in-person, or read a book without looking at your phone. Remind yourself of your childhood, of those times playing outside. There weren’t too many cares then.

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I know this all may sound a bit strange and I get it. I’m definitely a tech-savvy (sometimes) millennial. I still love my phone as much as the next twenty-something. However, I also have these rich memories of my childhood and how wonderful it was to be outside absorbed by more than a device. I know the world will be okay if I leave aside my phone for a moment.

So go catch that sunset and appreciate the simple moments. It’s always good to do!

Are there any ways you take time to do this each day?

caitlin

 

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