Unplug

Yesterday, it was 72 degrees. In February. In North Carolina. Of course, if it’s that beautiful in FEBRUARY, I will absolutely be spending the whole entire day outside. Usually, February brings a lot of snow and freezing temperatures, so any chance I get to be outside, I will gladly take it.

Sitting outside made me think about how little I actually get to do this. It’s rare for me to be able to be outside and just sit and write without my phone buzzing, Spotify music playing and TV blaring in the background. It’s so peaceful. Just me and my thoughts.

We’re constantly glued to our devices and distracted by so much stimulation that we often forget to be present. We rely on them for everything. When we were little, we didn’t have to worry about texting back our friends every second or check to see how many likes our Instagram pictures got. I played outside until the sun went down and didn’t care about much except for the moment I was in. I was present and enjoyed the company around me. My mom practically had to beg me to come inside.

Now, I’m lucky if I get to spend 15 minutes without my phone or my laptop. I’m convinced that we’re so stuck on technology that we would suffer without it. We use our phones literally every day, to the point where they are involved with everything we do. I felt this first-hand when both my laptop and phone crashed in the same week during my sophomore year — right in the middle of midterms. As bad as it sounds, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was so used to having my phone and so used to managing my whole entire life on my laptop that I kind of forgot how to do things without them.

After realizing that it would be a week before I got either back, I sucked it up and found other ways to do life. Soon enough, I realized and appreciated the benefits to unplugging my technology. I wasn’t distracted in class by social media or friends’ texts. Instead, I had to take notes by hand and listen to what the professor was saying because I didn’t have anything else to distract me. When I hung out with friends, I didn’t look at my phone to fill in conversation lulls. I was more present with my friends and wanted to have intentional, engaging conversations with them. And above all, I just felt better about myself. I wasn’t comparing myself and my life to my friends on Instagram, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything (aka no FOMO) because I couldn’t see what other people were doing, and I was managing my time a lot better.

I do believe that technology has amazing benefits and I absolutely will continue to use it regularly. But, I don’t want to develop an unhealthy attachment to it and I don’t want it to control my life. I want to be responsible with my usage of it and I encourage you to do the same. Even better, after reading this, put your phone or laptop away for 10 minutes, an hour, whatever. Turn it on silent, shut it off and put in in your bag. Resist the urge to look at it when you’re bored. Take today to destress and just unplug.

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