I've been off the grid because we went on vacation last week to Maine and New Hampshire where I unplugged (well, mostly...I did have my phone with me for text messaging a friend who was having a hard time while we were away) and didn't look at a computer, the news, TV, etc. for four whole days.
It was heaven.
Not that I don't love my blog and FB and all of the other technological wonders that make life easier.
But I am a person who, before I got married, didn't actually own a computer. Or a television. I listened to the radio at home, did my e-mail correspondence at work or headed to my college library to use the computer lab after work, and when I was feeling the need for entertainment I took a book to my favorite coffee house where I would hang out and watch the world go by for a few hours...sometimes by myself, but more often than not with coffee house friends who would sidle up to my table.
Who needed technology to have a good life?
Now, of course, I'm married to Mr. Techno Guy and am surrounded by technology - all of which I have come to greatly appreciate, although none of it would I have were it left up to me.
A few years ago Chris comes home with a box under his arm and says with a huge grin, "I bought myself a birthday present."
"How much is THAT going to cost us each month?" I ask him, annoyed at yet another new piece of technology in our home and at the additional monthly expense. I mean, for God's sake, we already have a perfectly good VCR that is in great working condition! What the heck do we need with a DVR???
Chris ignores my annoyance and cheerfully gets us set up with the DVR.
I grumble about it for days (mostly to myself, but sometimes not...)
But then I discover the joy of watching a favorite show as it's recording while simultaneously recording another favorite show.
How did we ever survive with just a VCR player????
And so now I am addicted to our DVR.
Same goes with WiFi.
You would think the world was coming to an end the way I carry on when Chris announces that we need WiFi. What??? How much is that going cost us? Why is this necessary???
And who is now at this very moment sitting in the living room on her laptop utilizing the dreaded and totally unnecessary Wifi? Who is the person in the house that uses her computer in the bedroom, in the kitchen, on the deck?
Yep. That would be me.
I L-O-V-E having WiFi...how it allows me to not be tethered to a desk when I use my computer.
Which brings me to the computer itself. I always had a desktop system, but when I decided to go back for Round 2 of grad school, Chris suggests that I get a laptop. I argue about the expense and all of the reasons that it's unnecessary, but we go to look at Mac Books and sure enough I leave the store with one (and a beaming husband) and now, of course, I can't imagine going back to a desk top system.
I'm very slow- even reluctant - to accept new technology, but when I finally do I generally embrace it.
Still, that doesn't mean that I'm unwilling to live without it, particularly when we travel.
So, last weekend while we were hiking Mount Willard in the White Mountains and searching out as many waterfalls as we could find, I didn't miss the computer, the TV or the DVR at all. Even though I had my iPhone with me, I didn't bother to get online to check FB or my blog. Although I did get online a few times to look up things related to Maine and New Hampshire - mostly to check the weather for the next day so we could plot and plan our activities accordingly.
If I had to give up my computer and all of my life's current technological conveniences.. .I'd miss the online friends and visitors I've met through my blog, the ability to instant message with friends far away, reading my favorite blogs with the regularity that I do now, and the ability to record and watch a variety of television entertainment.
But last weekend reminded me of a time when I didn't rely so much on technology.
When I didn't feel the need to be tied to a computer or the TV.
Four days of being unplugged.
It was lovely.
This vacation made me realize that I need to unplug more. And not just when I'm on vacation. As much as I love blogging and Facebooking and e-mailing and all of the other technology stuff that I do, it truly is a great thing for one's mental health to sometimes just shut down and focus on being in the present moment.