Unplug. Live a little.

It’s that time again:  The National Day of Unplugging is almost upon us.   Reboot, a Jewish creative community of “thought-leaders created The Sabbath Manifesto which includes 10 core principles and is modeled after the Slow Movement.  In 2010 they started the National Day asked people to take the pledge:  to unplug from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.  This year it takes place March 23-24.

I love this project.  It is a great reminder to slow down, stop texting and checking e-mail a million times.  I’ve talked  before about unplugging and how when I gave up my television my house was miraculously cleaner.  Now, television has seeped back into my life through my laptop and between Hulu and streaming Netflix I spend way too much time engaged with a thing instead of another person or my own thoughts.

A lot has changed for me since last year’s post on this topic.  I moved into the city and don’t live alone anymore.  I actually think this has altered my engagement with technology a bit.  I spend way less time on Facebook and actually hardly ever check it.  I also spend less time texting in the evening because the person I texted the most is now a few feet away.

One thing I worry about is that we’ll become one of those couples that sits next to each other on the couch, each engaged in our own laptop.  This rarely happens; but, I really want to make sure it never starts.

One of the things I noticed right away about Anya, on our first date, was that I never saw her phone.  I had gone on several dates where my date would check texts or lie their phone on the table, just in case.  I love the graphic at the top of this post.  If you click on it, it will take you to Uncommon Goods, where you can purchase the “phonekerchief” a handkerchief that actually blocks cell signals.  I think the charming thing about that sentiment is that while to some it may seem old fashioned, it comes down to just being focused and present when you are with others and there is nothing old fashioned about that.

I’m getting married this Summer (thanks Governor Cuomo!) and I had actually already decided that I would not be engaged with a phone on that day.  I’m also trying to find a little lake house near the orchard where we are getting married that we can rent for a week and just relax.  I’m a little bit amazed by the places that boast of high speed internet and satellite television.  I want peace and quiet and fun with Anya and our family and friends.  There will be no tweeting from the reception or the altar!

Give the National Day of Unplugging a shot.  It’s 24 hours.  Here’s my plan based on the ten principles.

  1. Avoid my laptop.  Only answer my phone if its my parents calling.  No email. No surfing. No TV or movie watching. Old school radio is fine.
  2. Hangout with Anya and a friend.  Snuggle and walk with Henry.
  3. Walk with Henry and finally get to the Y for some swimming.  Cook great meals.
  4. Besides Henry’s walks, hanging on the coffee shop patio and reading sounds great.
  5. I have no plans for commerce other than perhaps that coffee on the patio!
  6. Candles are a fine idea.  I’m not a candle person; but, Anya was definitely gotten me on track with candles.
  7. Not much of a drinker.  Perhaps some tea on the front stoop.
  8. I have pretty much refused to get into any habit that involves me eating while watching movies/tv; so, a nice home cooked meal with Anya happens pretty frequently and will happen again this Friday.
  9. Finding silence can sometimes be hard in Bed-Stuy.  We tossed around the idea of getting up early on Saturday and heading to the beach.  I’m sure to find some silence there.
  10. I’ll think on this one:  give back.  I’m sure I can figure out a creative way to meet this challenge.

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