Monday, April 18, 2016

I went technology free for an entire weekend, here's what happened...

In a world, filled with darkness and desperation, imagine yourself walking in the night being followed by the sounds of fear, only to be constantly reminded that if you hadn't given up your phone, you'd be safe in a cuddly bed, warm, watching Netflix. You regret every decision leading up to this moment and just when you think things couldn't get any roll out of bed, because you were just having a nightmare.

On Friday I mentioned how I was going to challenge myself to go technology free for the entire weekend. At first I really didn't think much of it and I went to bed thinking this would be easy. I even thought up a bunch of ideas that my son and I could do tech free. I woke up Saturday raring to go with high hopes, but I was very wrong.

After I woke up groggy, I went to make myself a pot of cofffee and immediately grabbed my phone. In the midst of typing in my password to begin checking emails and social media, I saw in bright bold letters on my whiteboard "NO TECHNOLOGY!". Drat you constantly accurate DIY calendar. Why must you mock me so? I put my phone down and proceeded to make our breakfast phone free. A few moments later, I sat down on the couch preparing to watch "Good Mythical Morning", but was again reminded I couldn't. We opted to go for a walk to the local park. During our walk, I reached for my phone - which I left at home - 3 times and when we got to the park, I reached another 2. Throughout the day I grabbed or reached for my phone a total of 27 other times. Yes, I kept a notepad with me to tally it all up. At the end of the day I was upset at myself, because I couldn't go a few minutes without wanting to stare at some sort of meaningless screen. 

On Saturday while we were at the park, a few moments passed by while my son was playing on the jungle gym and I saw the first glimpse of what I was missing. He would make really silly faces during his "pretend time". I would normally grab my phone to take a picture, but I wouldn't actually soak in the moment right there. I would only snap it to reminisce later. That's when things started to take off in my mind. I wanted to really live in the "now" and instead of snapping pictures, I wanted to record them in my memory. Now, I did take a regular camera (not my phone) when we went out to a special event on Sunday, but that was only to take really cool photos. For example, my son held a parrot and it was adorable. Check back on Wednesday for an entire recap of our Sunday as it has something to do with my "Anxiety Fear Challenge". (See the prequel to the challenges HERE.) On Saturday I didn't whip out the real camera or my phone camera, which is why there aren't pictures of the food or park. I just took pictures today of what we did on Saturday. (Lego's, plants, etc.)

When we went back home, we showered and got to the good stuff. We busted out the Minecraft Lego's, built a little town, and re-enacted moments from his virtual world. We also did arts and crafts - where we built a "grocery store" for his little Shopkin's, had his characters go shopping, read some of his favorite books, learned a few new Spanish phrases, made a new garden with flowers and carrots, AND tried a few new recipes of my son's choice from one of our cookbooks. (My inner child flourished.) I couldn't believe how much I had learned just doing those simple things in one Saturday. I listened to his stories and saw this light inside of him that I hadn't noticed. The way his eyes sparkle when he tells a story and gets to a particular part that he thoroughly enjoyed. He speaks with such volume and details everything with a vocabulary I wasn't fully aware he had. I was able to ask questions and actually partake in the role play with my full attention. It was just as freeing as I had hoped. He had an increase of involvement with me, because he didn't pause while I was on the phone. I learned that my son is truly empathetic, kind, friendly, and generous, far beyond what I already knew. I learned that my son's real world, is much more important than the online world. By putting down the technology, we found some really cool things at the event, we found a $1 on the playground, I learned a deeper side to my son, we found out together that we really enjoy learning Spanish, and we had the chance to enjoy each other whole-heartedly. 

This entire experience has given me the opportunity to really sit back and empower myself with self awareness. I've grasped a better understanding of just how much I use technology and how much I don't need it. When today rolled around, I didn't wake up and run to my phone. I didn't check Facebook or wonder what was going on. To be frank, I didn't care. I didn't care what was happening with so and so on Instagram. I didn't care whether or not I had received an email or not. I didn't care, because I knew that my son was the only one who can make me deeply, truly happy. 

Now I won't be throwing caution to the wind and abandoning all technology to live in the wilderness completely cut off, but I do know that it will no longer be this huge "ball and chain" stuck to me. It was difficult (Again, check out my blog post on Wednesday) and I definitely reached for my phone more than I would've liked, but I expected it. I knew that I couldn't just quit without a challenge or two....or thirty. I wanted to check the weather, know what time it was, see the news, check on my friends, monitor Instagram. I really did. Now that I have the opportunity to, I don't have the need nearly as much. My life long challenge is to put the phone down and just listen, because sometimes being half available causes you to miss out on the most important key features of your life. Like I've always said, it's the little things.

Life isn't to be taken so darn seriously people. We are humans that need culture, diversity, humor, and just a good time. With our eyeballs attached to a text about how someone just watched a documentary about a guy who never ever bathes, how in the world to expect to see the spectacular show called "life" going on right in front of you? I guarantee if you keep your head up long enough, you'll see hysterical stuff happen right before your very eyes, along with sadness, conflict, and DRAMA! We all love watching drama, don't deny it. 

The tone of this post is serious/funny, because honestly I feel like this whole thing is seriously funny. We are walking into poles and getting hit by cars, because YouTube is too addicting. Try to just put it down an hour and see how many poles you DON'T hit. 

Hopefully this will inspire you to check out the world offline. Keep on rocking you beautiful people!

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