I think we all know – or at least have been told once or twice – that unplugging now and then is a good thing . Step away from the screens, the email, the Wi-Fi signal, and the 4G network and just… be. Be in the moment , be with your loved ones, be on your own without the constant net of technology. It sounds blissful, but being able to actually do it has proven virtually impossible in my real life. I think I’ve found the solution, however: I need to buy a watch.
I haven’t worn a watch in about five years, which is about how long I’ve owned an iPhone. My smart phone, which magically syncs up to the world clock, is more reliable than any hand-set watch I’d ever wear, and it never forgets to fall back or spring forward. This means, however, that I can’t leave my house without my phone, because I don’t have a back up timekeeper. A watch, I’m certain, would make it easier for me to finally unplug.
Although, I’m not sure what I’d do about emergencies. As a parent, it seems irresponsible to go anywhere without my cell phone. If I leave my kids behind I need to be able to be reached should something happen to them. If they are with me, I need to be able to call for help should something happen to them. Maybe I could unplug if I take my kids with me and buy a flare gun.
A watch and a flare gun are what I need to finally unplug.
Of course, I’d have to buy a map, too. I think they still sell them in gas stations; I haven’t bought one since before I wore a watch. I can find out where I am, where I’m going, and where the closest McDonalds or hospital is with swipe of the screen on my phone. But it would be no problem to buy a map, and I don’t need to be able to find fastfood while I’m unplugging.
So, a watch, a flare gun, and a map are all I need to finally unplug.
It’s starting to sound like I’m packing for a trek into the wilderness.
I don’t want to isolate myself from civilization; I just want to tone down the constant connectivity. I just want to be able to leave my house without feeling like I’m missing a limb if I leave my phone behind. I want to not feel compelled to check my email because I’m standing in line. I want to try finding my way by asking directions from a stranger and looking for familiar landmarks. But I’m not sure that level of simplicity is still possible in today’s high-tech world. I don’t even own a device that can just tell time or call home, and I can no longer imagine walking around without being able to perform at least those two basic functions.
I’m sure someone warned us this would happen. I’m not so sure what to do about it now.