A Day Offline

If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that I decided to spend last Saturday (Earth Day) entirely off my personal technology. No phone, no laptop… and I don’t have an Apple watch, but if I did, I would’ve ditched that too.

As it happened, I picked up an extra shift that day, so staying busy at the restaurant all afternoon made this process both easier and more pointless. Easier, because I don’t have my phone around me for working hours anyway. Pointless, because as a maitre d’ I do half my work on an iPad anyway.

So, was I truly screen-free for the day? No. To do so would've required me to skip work. But I didn’t go on the internet, I didn’t text anyone, and I didn’t access my camera or music account.

Here’s what happened:

  • The night I turned my phone off, there were several distressing noises outside my apartment. Typically this is the time I would consult the Citizen app on my phone, which helps quell my anxiety that whatever’s going on is being acknowledge and/or handled by the community. Without that coping mechanism, I have to admit I had a really restless few hours of sleep. I found that kind of ironic, considering my phone is usually what I blame for keeping me awake.
  • I arrived at work early (!!) because I had to guesstimate when my train would arrive, and in true Rachel fashion, I erred on the side of caution. This felt great. What did not feel so great was at the end of my double shift when I couldn’t consult my subway status app and had to transfer four times due to train outages I didn’t see coming. Longest trip home of my life. 
  • I READ. I actually finished the book I had started only a day before because I reverted back to this form of entertainment for both my lunch break and my commute both ways. I’m remembering now how I used to be such an avid reader.
  • I missed catching up with friends. Not being able to text people whenever I felt like it was something I didn’t realize I would miss in the span of 24-hours — but I did! It reminded me how grateful I am for texting because so many of my loved ones live across the country, and I scarcely have a chance to swap stories with them otherwise.
  • I found myself wanting to linger in the silence a little longer. At days end, when I permitted myself to some post-midnight scrolling, I found myself overwhelmed with the idea of reconnecting. I ended up finishing my book on the couch instead, and the next morning was spent fairly quietly as well. The social media posts I had planned for this week also fell by the wayside, and I can’t say I’m feeling much momentum to get back to them.

If you’ve never tried a digital detox or “offline day,” I highly recommend trying it! It’s astounding what you can learn about yourself and your relationship to technology, even just in the span of 24 hours.

No comments:

Post a Comment