The first Friday of March is designated as the National Day of Unplugging. These "National Days" are fun to follow to see what people have passions about. Most people don't give them much thought unless they are about something important like National Doughnut Day or National Talk Like a Pirate Day, you know, the really important stuff. National Day of Unplugging is something worth picking up.
Wrap your mind around this; there are around 7.8 billion people in the world. Five billion people own cell phones, and 3 billion of those are smartphones. There is an unfathomable number of cell phones out there, not even calculating tablets, laptop computers, desktop computers, and televisions. It is estimated that people are on their phones over 5 hours a day and check them about 58 times in that period. Now add the time we work on computers and relax in front of our marvelous flat-screen, high-definition televisions. Looking at the data, many people spend more than half of their lives plugged into modern technology.
Henry David Thoreau gave caution about complicating our lives with technology 175 years ago. He said, "Our lives are frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify." The railroad was the tech advance of his time. His observation was, "We do not ride upon the railroad. It rides upon us." Thoreau thought technology's purpose was to make our lives easier; however, he observed that when we are overly dependent upon it, we become servants to technology. It appears there has always been a struggle between our humanity and technology. It's a sticky wicket indeed. This balancing makes the National Day of Unplugging such a great idea to reconnect to the analog world.
This weekend is a great time to start. Ditch your FOMO. Let everyone know you will not be checking your voicemail, email, or social media for the weekend. Turn off the wi-fi, and digital data on your phone, then put it out of arms reach. Keep the television dark, and the computers powered down. Next, do something like going for a walk, redecorate a room, write in a journal, read a book, or dust off your sketchbook. It may seem a little self-serving, but hey, building a puzzle together with some friends or family would certainly fit the unplugging ideal, too, just a suggestion. Do whatever you want, except for plugging back in because that would defeat the whole purpose. Most importantly, breathe deep and try something different and unique. You will be amazed by your ability to recharge and regenerate without any electricity.
Come Monday morning; you will be ready to engage in your day-to-day with increased vigor. Your spirit and body will have a freshness you may have been missing. We encourage you to take advantage of the National Day of Unplugging this year. If not this weekend, plan one soon, even if you have to leave home. Unplugging is vital for us to get re-grounded and to remember what it means to be human and to connect with our environment. Oh, and did I mention that building a puzzle is a great way to go analog? Well, it is.