Thursday, October 16, 2014

Disconnected. What Being Offline Reminded Me

Life without blogging, or social media, or even cell phone service. Yes it can be done!

Imagine how we lived without it. But recent moments have reminded me just how truly dependent we have become on those technologies.

I took an unplanned pause from blogging recently due to a major, unplanned project at work (read: ebola crisis communications). I told my kids that "Mommy has homework to learn about a yucky disease." My unscheduled moments were spent learning everything I could about the disease and developing a communications plan that was a flu epidemic plan on steroids. And I hadn't even touched the employee no-show issues before I left for fall break. So far, we'd been blessed to not have a case in the Midwest.

Disconnected: What being offline reminded meWhile blogging admittedly takes time to do, what I didn't anticipate was the drop in my "social" social media use, too. Instead of checking out my friends' latest escapades and connecting with them online, I refocused my attention to the social media use of work. And I learned it's tough disconnecting completely once you've trained your brain that way. On Fall Break, I sent the disaster coordinator and media manager a text about the second ebola patient, to which I was reprimanded to go back to vacation. And here, I thought a 48-hour media blackout on my part was completely remarkable.

It's taken me some time to re-adjust to a life without relying on the Internet and my smart phone. On day 3, we got a group text on an update on a crisis. Immediately I responded with "What do I need to monitor." And I am so glad I was re-reminded to unplug and go back on vacation.

It wasn't until day 5 until I could get on Facebook - to post some of my kids' pictures - without having the gut reaction of "There's activity on the work page; I need to check it" as I react multiple times a day. I am blessed to work with colleagues who are more than capable of filling in on customer service and other concerns in my absence, and I need to trust them.

My moment of realization, though, was on our return trip home. My husband, a loyal Royals fan for decades, was tracking Game 4 on his ESPN app while I drove. KC was one out away from the World Series. And Sprint service cut out. For a long 30-minute drive, my husband sadly stared at the red X at the top of the bars and waited. No text updates from his parents. No way to call them. Nothing but wonder.

And that's when it hit me. Just a few short years ago, we would have caught the scores on the radio when they came on, or saw the headlines later. Or, like my 6-year-old does each morning, ask another person "Did we win? What was the score?"

We don't always have to be recording the moment, or getting an app to track the moment. Sometimes, we can just connect with the moment. Just us. In person. Enjoying it all with our senses.

1 comment:

Brittany at Equipping Godly Women said...

It's too bad those unplugged moments are too few and far between--for all of us :(