In my ongoing effort to de-clutter my life, I’ve decided to unplug a bit. I’m giving up cable, my smart phone, and- if I can find a 12 step program for it- Facebook. I know two people who aren’t going to be happy about phases one and two: my kids are all about TV and playing games on my phone. So, my cutting back on Facebook is a concession to them. (Oh- did I say “giving up”? I meant “cutting back”.) They can’t believe anyone could have as many friends as I do… and, come to think of it, they’re probably right.
But, oh, there will be much gnashing of the teeth when they can’t come home and plop down in front of the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, or HBO. Wait- HBO?!
Oh, NO! What am I going to do without my beloved HBO? With the occasional exception of a Kardashian fix on E!, I almost exclusively pay my million dollar a month cable bill so that I can keep up with HBO’s original programming. True Blood, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Boardwalk Empire, Bored to Death, heck- even Enlightened- I love them all! At least I know how the kids are going to feel; they won’t know who won Disney’s NBT and I won’t know if Russell Edgington is coming back to Bon Temps.
Giving up my smart phone shouldn’t be as hard on them, even though they are constantly asking to use it, but going back to a call-and-text phone is going to take a while for me to get used to. The number one thing I will miss is- well, right- Facebook. But, running a close second will be the ability to Google things at the drop of a hat. Granted, usually I’m Googling just to prove to someone else that I am absolutely right about something, but that’s no small thing. It feels really good to be right!
I’m also going to miss the navigation function. What’s the point of Googling the best Cajun food in New Orleans if you can’t find your way to it? There’s something really great about being guided to your destination by a slightly demanding, slightly British-sounding, disembodied voice.
And, lastly, I’m going to miss having the ability to take pictures with my phone and immediately post them to- um- Facebook. Although, truly, not being able to do that is probably a blessing in disguise- for me and my pre-adolescents.
Yes, it’s going to be a bit of a rough road to serenity. We’re all going to suffer some withdrawal. And, the fact that their dad isn’t likely to follow my lead means that I might hear a lot more, “I wish I were at Dad’s tonight” than I usually do. But, it’s worth a try.
I know that a lot of this probably has to do with my middle-aged yearning for a simpler time: a time when one had to lift her music playing device onto her shoulder and walk down the street, ear pressed to speaker, sharing her music with unsuspecting friends and countrymen. I long for a time when social networking meant reading a note passed in Social Studies, checking a box, and then passing it on to a different friend in Algebra.
But, I think there is something more than nostalgia going on here. I really think we will be happier if we aren’t so tuned in all the time. The happiest times the kids and I have together are when we are just talking, or playing Apples to Apples, or coloring pictures, or folding laundry. (Okay, maybe that last thing is wishful thinking on my part.) I know they really just want my time and attention and when I’m too distracted by emails or text messages, they resort to their device of choice: TV, iPod, Nintendo DS. Hopefully, if all of us tune out the outside world a little more, we can pay closer attention to each other!
So, keep us in your thoughts, readers. And, if you have any experience with unplugging, please share it in the comments! I’ll send a carrier pigeon with my blog post next week to let you know how it’s going!
(This post was originally published on the Charleston Daily Mail’s Mommyhood blog.)