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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Monday, July 7, 2008

How I Celebrated Independence Day

Okay, I know the 4th of July is all about celebrating America but this year I decided to celebrate something else: peace and quiet.

I sent my family on vacation Thursday night with out me. Yes, I do that sometimes. Then, by Friday morning I had turned off every electronic device I could get my hands on. I was declaring my independence from technology for the weekend. No computers, no phones, no stereos or tvs, no alarm clocks, I didn't even cook or go any where. The only things I didn't shut off were the fridge and the hot water heater (I'm not a barbarian you know).

All in all it was bliss. Yes, I think I spent too much time working on housework rather than enjoying my peace as much as I should, but I really did have a good time. If you ever get the chance. I highly recommend it.

The only problem was when my family came home Sunday night the little bit of chaos was a little over-whelming. It really wasn't bad but I was just not used to it any more. It took me a few hours to be really happy they were home again. ;) Of course, almost immediately after walking in the door my teenage daughter "just had to" check her email... then the fact that the computer was on and just sitting there was once again created a magnetism I couldn't ignore. I was eventually sucked in with needing to check my mail as well and it was all downhill from there.

There was also that small nagging of guilt at knowing that there were messages on the answering machine that were probably people needing stuff and refusing to find out what it was. I'd turned off all the phone ringers, but forgotten to shut off the answering machine. It was painful but also very gratifying to be able to tell myself that neither number could have been someone calling me for a true emergency and odds were whatever they needed someone else could help them just as well as I could. Still, my pathetic martyrdom's brain felt like I was letting the world down by refusing to interact for a weekend. Thankfully, I was able to talk myself back out of such nonsense in due time. I needed that time and I'm glad I took it, whether the rest of the world understands or not.

I have to admit that I did cheat a few times over the weekend. Here's a summary:
Spilled bath salts on my bedroom carpet, used the vacuum to get them up.
Got frustrated that my hands can't write as fast as my brain can create new material and broke out my mini-computer for an evening of frantic story plot typing.
Used the blender to make a smoothie as I needed to use up an ingredient before the end of the weekend.
Talked on the phone to my children twice and my husband once.
Used one lamp instead of a candle at bedtime the first night after discovering that my husband had rudely taken all of the lighters in the house with them on the camping trip.

I know it seems weird and maybe even impossible in your mind, but that was part of the reason I did it. I just wanted to see if I could. Turns out that for the most part I was happier than I've been in a while. Go ahead, challenge yourself sometime. See if you can put aside all those modern "conveniences" that so conveniently take over our lives, just for a day or two and see how you feel.

1 comment:

Hmachine said...

I love it. we missed you on the trip, but I'm glad you had a weekend to yourself. That would be SOOOO nice!!!! :) I love the way you write, it definitely keeps me reading. . . . and I don't think I could go without electronics for a weekend. . . not sure if I could make it a day. it would be an interesting experiment though. :)