July 14, 2015

Pulling the Plug

As you read this, I’ll be in the midst of a week’s vacation at a northwoods camp my family and I attend every year. I’ll have my scrapbooking supplies spread out in our simple-but-not-too-rustic cabin, and I’ll almost surely be humming some tune or another as I crop and arrange six months’ worth of family photos. In between scrapping sessions, I’ll take a book down to the lake, hike some trails, perhaps climb “Big Rock,” and relish good conversation with the camp staff. My girls will be immersed in the camp experience with others their age, and my husband – though serving as the camp’s missionary speaker – will make plenty of time for swimming, canoeing, and tromping through the woods before dawn.

And we’ll all be unplugged.

The camp is rural but not off-grid. I could access the Internet at will to keep up with world news, my Facebook friends’ activities, and traffic to my website. But I won’t.

Instead, I choose every year to go on a technology fast during our vacation. And I never regret it – not even for a moment.

Every so often I see calls – advertised (ironically enough) on Facebook – for folks to purposely unplug for a week or more. I obviously appreciate the sentiment because I know the value of time away from technology. But I dislike the notion of going along with someone else’s timeline. In part, that’s because the event promoters’ chosen dates don’t necessarily work for me on a practical level. But it’s also because I have a strong conviction about the need to take personal responsibility. Thus, I don’t want to be told I should fast from technology with everyone else during a particular week because “someone” decided it; that puts me in a position of following someone else rather than making a conscious choice for myself. The distinction might seem small, but it’s quite important.

So you won’t find me encouraging you to turn off your tech for the duration of my vacation after finishing this article. However, I highly encourage you to choose for yourself some time to regularly unplug, whether for a particular week (or more), a certain day each week, or specific times each day. You decide. But do it. Involve your spouse and children as well – and stick to it.

Are you breaking out in a cold sweat at the thought? Are you arguing with the screen you’re reading this on, insisting that you can’t possibly “afford” to take any sort of break? If so, that’s actually clear evidence that you’re in definite need of one. Technology is a wonderful tool. But feeling compulsively tied to it is a sure symptom of unhealthy addiction.

Look at your calendars. Talk with your family. Decide and plan ahead. And then pull the plug. You won’t be sorry.

Photo Credit: Lake Lundgren Bible Camp


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