Disconnecting to Stay Connected

A funny this happened yesterday. . .I forgot to bring my phone to work.  After realizing that it was, indeed, safe at home and not lost or stolen, something interesting happened.  I focused on what I was doing!  Weird, huh?

Keep in mind, I teach preschool and I never access my phone while I am with my students.  But, I will often check my e-mail or text messages on breaks or during my planning period to make sure that the world is still revolving and that none of my family members are sick, injured or desperately need me in some other way.  Surely, they need to have access to me 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, right?  I’m almost positive that if I don’t check my e-mail the world might just stop turning on it’s axis, right?  Turns out, I was wrong! 

During the eight hours I was away from my phone, no disasters struck, no injuries or illnesses spontaneously cropped up and the earth (as far as I am aware) kept spinning at its normal speed.  Far from being distressed by this change of routine, I was actually a bit relieved to not be so accessible for just a few hours.   It even felt luxurious to know that all I had to think about was what was in front of me at that very moment.  I was fully present in the moment, at least for a little while.  I guess you could say that I felt more connected by disconnecting.

I’m starting to suspect that I’m a little ADD.  So, having access to the internet and e-mail at all times is not exactly a good idea.  It actually encourages me to take more mental detours.  After all, it’s so easy to google the name of the song whose one line is going through your head over and over again.  Nevermind the fact that you really should be doing the dishes or making dinner.  The world wide web is calling!

Along the same lines, I’ve noticed that my e-mail inbox is overrun with distracting e-mails.  These are e-mails from businesses that, at one point, I thought I wanted to have a long-term e-mail relationship with.  Well, I hate to say it but I’m sending notice to all of you e-mails that distract me from answering the e-mails from people I actually KNOW.  I’m breaking up with you.  Really, it’s not you.  It’s me.  No, we can’t remain friends.  It’s time for a clean break.  After all, we need different things.  You need me to buy lots of stuff from you and I need you to leave me alone.  I’m sure you’ll find another potential customer who will take your coupons and sales ads.  But it’s time I disconnected from you to stay connected with actual people.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love all the access that technology has brought me.  I love staying connected with friends and family and keeping tabs on all the things that happen outside of my bubble.  But, at some point, I lost control of the technology and the technology began controlling me.  I realize that I can’t live off the grid.  Nor do I want to.  But I will be declaring certain periods of my days and weeks as e-mail/cell phone/internet free. 

Who’s with me?

Oh, and yes, I do see the irony in the fact that I’m complaining about technology on a blog.  Don’t even go there, people!


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