Why I’m unplugging for a whole month — yikes!

August 22, 2013 · 19 comments

in Inspiration, Journalism how-to's, Making art

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Time to tame my laptop and iPhone…I’ve decided to unplug for the next four weeks. What a scary thought: no Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or the constant checking of email. In the process, I hope to create a more intimate life and explore the meaning of privacy.

At the end of 2012, I unplugged for the first time, for two whole weeks. That initial experiment was scary. Thankfully, everything turned out wonderful. I ended up decluttering my bedroom. I also quit Words with Friends, an addictive mobile phone app that I still miss (a little bit).

But that was so 2012. In the last 18 months, our Internet-driven world has changed tremendously, moving light years ahead.

Back then, I would make dinner for my teen daughter and her buddies and watch them eat with one eye — and one swiping index finger — glued to their iPhones. Back then, I thought to myself, oh, the excesses of the young.

Now, the pace of life has accelerated to the point where middle-aged folks like me behave in the same way. During dinner or drinks, we’ve got our mobile devices out too, checking texts, emails and phone messages.

This is just the new reality, especially for people with full-time jobs or major projects. Been there, done that — and will probably go back to it again in a month.

Still, for the next four weeks, quiet time will be valuable. What would it mean for me to stop sharing publicly? Can I exist without an audience? Haha!

I love social media, especially now, when there are so many exciting options. When I unplugged 18 months ago, there was no Vine; Pinterest was still sort of a fringe passion. In 2013, they’ve both become part of the landscape.

Meanwhile, LinkedIn has grown increasingly important as a personal marketing and job-hunting outlet. And at this point, everyone knows about Twitter. I’ve also discovered that even the fanciest restaurants don’t seem to care anymore when diners pull out their iPhones to snap pictures. As for the gorilla in the room, Facebook is everywhere and expanding.

So….being a creative person and entrepreneur, I need answers. How do I integrate all these jazzy tools to brand myself and enhance my quality of life? The first step is to….step away.

This is how the dictionary defines “privacy:”

The quality or state of being apart from company or observation : seclusion. 

 Freedom from unauthorized intrusion. 

And these are the dictionary definitions for the word “intimate:”

The state of being intimate : familiarity (a state of close relationship, absence of ceremony). 

Something of a private nature.

My new adventure is a quest for 21st century definitions of intimacy and privacy. The game plan is simple. I have a 24-hour window to withdraw from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The blackout begins in earnest by the weekend. Then, over the next four weeks, I will strive to limit email interactions to once a night and maybe a spot check mid-day. 

During this period of unplugging, I will be juggling a to-do list that includes: 

  • Sending my daughter off to college.
  • Getting handyman to build a shelf over my new refrigerator.
  • Sewing new living room curtains.
  • Finishing a second rewrite of my book manuscript.
  • Start teaching two, and possibly three fall journalism courses.
  • Cleaning the wood-burning stove and ordering firewood.
  • Tinkering with the design of my blog.

If any of you want to reach me, you have my email address, which is right here on the website. Maybe you’d also like to subscribe to my blog so we can reconnect in September in a new, even better way. (And if you do subscribe, please remember to confirm your subscription in the follow-up email you get from me!).

What will you be doing over the next few weeks? I hope you all enjoy the end of the summer. This is such a precious time for us to recharge for the fall. See you soon! xo

Update on Oct. 6, 2013: I’m still alive! But there’s been more to figure out than I realized. Will return in the next few weeks. Meantime, I hope you’ll subscribe to my blog so that I can let you know exactly when I’m back. Miss you!

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orange flower heartIf you’re interested in unplugging, you might like two of my earlier posts…

Dec. 24, 2012: Why I’m unplugging for the next two weeks

Jan. 7, 2013: 5 ways to unplug from electronics & social media & reconnect with your life

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