I took 24 hours offline from Friday at sundown through Saturday at sunset. I didn’t use my phone, I didn’t text, I didn’t log onto a computer, and all the while I didn’t enter a single network. I didn’t blog, tweet, Facebook, or LinkIn. I was genuinely unplugged without entering the wilderness. I was at home in Seattle devoid of my devices on my second annual digital sabbath.
I went shopping for a friend’s birthday gift by myself, the quiet liberating. I went to a baby shower, I played baseball with the boys outside, I cleaned up the back yard. And while the sun shone in Seattle on Saturday afternoon, F and I cuddled on the driveway. We laid down on the pavement and looked up at the sky. We didn’t talk much and even with the paucity of words, the moment takes up a big part of my long-term memory. Little F returned twice to join me on that hard surface, grabbing for my hand amidst the concrete. Presence is very soft no matter how hard the earth below you.
No beeps, dings, or directories distracted. It was a day much slower than the rest.
The lesson is simple of course. Twenty four hours without distraction are exceptionally bright. The loss from being disconnected online is overwhelmingly surpassed by the gains acquired with being present offline. And although it’s easy for many of you, this unplugged time is an utter luxury for me in the time of exceptional connectivity and work online.
There’s nothing I would do to reverse my time offline. It was rich and it’s solidified the need to establish a new goal to make time for a more frequent digital sabbatical. I want to seek solace routinely from the deluge of content, information, exceptional wisdom, and friendship I gain while online and return to the spaces without distraction that house the same things.
Join me? Will you take earnest 24-hour periods of time without technology, too? Do you think your kids will notice?