The other day, four-year-old Sierra seemed a little worn down, perhaps succumbing to a flu bug.
“Are you getting sick, Sierra?” her mother asked.
“I don’t know,” Sierra sighed with a shrug. “Maybe we should Google it.”
Google it? Google how you feel?
Ancient civilizations survived (mostly) just fine without such sophisticated tools as the internet. When they wanted to know the weather, they looked outside. To determine if it were the right time to bring in the harvest, they walked their fields and checked their crops. To find out if a mushroom were safe to eat, they ate it. If they lived, they ate another. If they died, well…. In other words, people didn’t interact in a virtual world, they engaged in a real one.
Two years ago I participated in a challenge designed to see if I had become too addicted to the instant gratification that the internet offers. The challenge: Go 24 hours without the internet! No texting, emailing, researching, Facebooking, blogging, shopping, cyber-stalking, etc.
Could you unplug for 24 hours (obviously, I don’t suggest participating on a workday)? Voluntarily unplugging is different from the time you had the flu or slipped into a coma for 24 hours. Or the time your computer died when you were on holiday in the Himalayas or backpacking in the middle of nowhere. Could you do it?
Not to brag, but I did it. In fact, I’ve done it several times over the last couple of years. And do you know something? It’s HARD. It’s almost as if the internet is addictive (duh). But after I got past the initial habit of reaching for a smart phone or keyboard, I rediscovered several simple pleasures that were not linked to computer screens or even electricity.
If you’ve unplugged for 24 hours or more, I’d love to hear how it felt and what you did instead. If you’re up for the challenge, I’d love to hear how it goes! Just don’t email me about it two hours in to being “off the grid!”