Having spent a wonderful time in the mountains of Glacier National Park and then plunging straight into back to school has given me little chance to go online or interact via social media. In fact while we were in Glacier there was, for over a week, literally no service. No cell phone. No internet. Nada. And you know what – after the initial frustrations (for instance no blog post two weeks ago from me!) – it felt amazing.
My boys didn’t ask for iPad time (in fact we had deliberately told them no electronics), my husband wasn’t checking his work email slavishly, and I wasn’t feeling compelled to engage in any kind of social media activity. It was liberating! There was just us, nature and a few good books. What else could you ask for in a holiday?
I used the opportunity to think about my latest WIP and jot down notes (longhand) in the small notebook I brought. I introduced my 10 year old twins to the joys of Agatha Christie (Murder on the Orient Express). We hiked, chatted, played UNO and made S’mores…And none of us really missed being electronically ‘connected’ to the world. Yet, it was surprising how quickly upon our return we soon fell back into our old ways. Emails. Texts. Facebook notifications. News alerts and more. Suddenly we were surrounded by the ‘noise’ of our usual highly connected lives.
For me, at least, it was disquieting how quickly that noise became background once more, and I lost that sense of focus and stillness that I’d felt while being ‘off the grid’. So the challenge for me now, after the ‘back to school’ dust has settled, is to try and reclaim this inner rather than outer focus – but I’m not really sure how. I guess I could artificially induce disconnectedness by switching off the wifi or I could just rely on willpower not to check anything online while I’m working on my computer (a difficult proposition as anyone facing the blank page will know – oh how, easy it is just to procrastinate with a quick check of ‘news’ on the internet!)…but it feels like it’s hard to escape the constant barrage of ‘pings’ and ‘rings’ as every device I own signals for my attention.
Do you find, like me, that being disconnected from the electronic world can be a liberating experience or is it too hard to pull away? How (if at all) do you try and ‘switch off’ the noise? Do you deliberately takes steps to try and disconnect? Or can you (unlike me) keep your focus despite the ‘noise’ around you?