Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Disconnected, yet Connected to the Ones Who Matter Most

I've obviously been on a bit of an Internet fast, some of it self-imposed and some of it through circumstances. We took a two-week trip to visit my family and camped along the way. While I brought my lap-top with me, most places didn't have wireless, and when we did have it, I just realized I would rather make the most of my time with my family.

Some things I noticed while being disconnected from the world wide web:
  • Social media creates clutter. It is amazing how quickly my inbox fills with junk! As we talk about clearing the clutter from our homes, social media creates a huge amount of clutter that I don't think we're aware of on a daily basis. But when you step away from it for nearly 20 days, and come back to hundreds of messages--mostly status updates and notifications from Facebook (and I can't imagine if I was on Twitter)--you realize how massively it all adds up. All of this requires an investment of daily maintenance to keep it from piling up. Is it really worth it? Do I really need to know that an acquaintance is drinking lemonade down by the river on a 100-degree day? (not a real update). 
  • Those moments when we just pop on the computer real quick--what is the motivation behind that? Are we a little bit bored? Are we looking for a little spark to liven things up in a monotonous day? What would we do in that moment if we didn't have the Internet to turn to? Would that be a better use of our time? Would our children appreciate a moment with Mom? (Yes).
  • Slowing down, and taking those moments to fully engage with my kids, brought us all closer in a way. Getting away from the busy daily routine gave me some time to appreciate and enjoy my children more. I wasn't nagging them, ahem, reminding them, to clean up their breakfast plates and take them to the dishwasher, do their chores, pick up their clothes... We just had fun together. And while vacation is downtime, in the even more downtime moments, I wasn't turning to the computer, I was turning to them. (By the way, I notice some of the problem behaviors we've been dealing with are vastly improved. I think in large part, it's due to the extra attention they received). 
  • After the first few days of breaking that magnetic draw to the computer, I find I really didn't miss it. When I could get on the Internet, I didn't really want to anymore. I had witnessed all of the positive effects of not being plugged in.
So while I was disconnected from friends' status-updates, blog posts, online news and more, I was connected to the ones who matter most: my family members. Now that we're home, I'm trying to keep in the forefront of my mind: disconnect to connect. I'm grateful for the time away to realize this lesson.

Sharing with:
Women Living Well
We are that Family
Heavenly Homemakers
Raising Homemakers