Screen Free Friday - Actually Awesome!

Aug 25, 2017

Credit Heather Curlee-Novak

We often tell ourselves stories that are not actually in the least bit true.  I tell myself I am laid back. (Actually, Not. True.)  I say I'm easy going(Nope. Actually, Quite Controlling.) I say we choose as a family to be unbusy.  And…that is partially true.   I still feel too busy.  

I'm trying meditation; the calm.com app is free and splendid.  My daughters are less spazzy when they are doing even five-minute meditations.  I'm trying to exercise.  I use essential oils from the health food store to be mellower.  I'm trying to get to sleep earlier...but actually...  I found myself reaching for my smart phone all the time.   As I started taking inventory of my time and tried to figure out how to get more out of my days with less in my days, I decided to fast.  

Fasting sounds weird.  It is usually a medical term where you don't eat or drink before tests or surgery.  For the religious among us, fasting from food can be a spiritual process too.   I will occasionally fast for spiritual reasons, avoiding food for a short period of time in order to focus on prayer.  (Usually I just pray the time passes because all I think about is Cheetos and Diet Coke.) It's practically Un-American to intentionally go without something...anything!  I get some side eye when the topic comes up because depriving oneself on purpose feels...like deprivation.

I decided to take a random Friday as a Sabbath day of rest and retreat. I chose to fast technology by turning my cellphone 'off' and throwing a darling rooster apron from the Farmer's Market over my desktop computer.  I posted my landline digits on Facebook for anyone interested and explained I would cease to exist for the day.  Then I waited. I waited to see a total personal transformation.  I waited to see what disaster would happen while I was out of pocket, out of touch. 

Seven things happened.  Seven times I lamented the lack of technology.  

8:00 AM I couldn't text my neighbor to borrow something.  I'd have to walk or drive to her house...or in this case I waited till the next day & then texted her.

8:10 AM I couldn't take a picture of my awesome Lipsense lipstick combination and post it.  I wonder how the world is still spinning.

9:00 AM I couldn't check the weather!  I actually dug out the paper phonebook and called Time & Temperature. (Remember that?)  It couldn't give me the hourly weather though, so I was unsure of when it could rain.  I called my husband and he expressed disdain that I would put my tech free burden on him.  He said I'd have to get my weather report the old fashioned way...but I reminded him the TV was included in my fast.  He said the weather should be fine until mid afternoon.

9:08 AM My friend called the landline to offer me her CSA for the week.  We ended up TALKING.  I felt like June Cleaver, sipping my coffee and having a telephone conversation.  It was delightful and refreshing.  If I'd had my smartphone on, it would have been two texts instead of wonderful conversation.  

9:25 AM I worried my appointment might be late or need to check in with me.... then I resolved to just turn my phone on if she was 15 minutes late.  She wasn't.  She was right on time.

10:15 AM I wondered about the weather again.   I didn't call my husband, but I wondered. And I couldn't meditate.  My meditation is firmly tied to the app on my iPad.  I just did some thoughtful meditation and breathing the old fashioned way.  It was great, actually.

10:25 AM There was an emergency where I needed to watch my friend's daughter, so I did turn my phone on, kept it on silent, and when the girl's dad called to pick her up (4:00 pm) he used my land line anyway, to honor my fast!

I ended my tech fast that evening to watch a movie with my family.  My laundry was actually finished.  The house was clean, and I'd read a magazine the day it came in the mail. I felt more relaxed, satisfied and accomplished than usual.  It was like playing hooky from the world and I relished the peace of a simpler day.  I was more aware of my dependence and addiction to technology and vowed to make fasting from technology a regular occurrence   Do you want to try your own fast? I'm doing it again next week, actually...