I was traveling recently for a girls’ weekend and I looked around the gate area as I waited for my flight and everyone’s eyes were on their screen. There’s no question that technology is valuable. We are connected. We know what’s happening in the world and in an instant we know if there’s a problem. . If there is an emergency, we are available. We will never miss a beat.
But if we are honest with each other – especially you that came before Generation Z - you must crave the silence and moments where you aren’t on edge waiting for that beep. Recently I forgot my cell phone when I left the house and I panicked. What if I were to break down? What if the school called? And then I realized the world goes on without me. We’ve survived hundreds of years, multiple generations without this technology and we’ve been ok. More than ok.
This past summer my family and I traveled to Norway. This isn’t something novel for us. My husband’s family is from Norway and my husband, Steve, has spent most of his summers in Norway in the towns of Alesund and Langevag. What was novel this summer was that we decided to spend some time with cousins in Sitter, a town in the boonies of Northern Norway. Before we left, I was careful to ask, “Will there be wifi?” and Steve was hesitant to give a firm answer. Finally he shared that there is no such thing as WiFi in this region of Norway, but that perhaps he could bring his work HotSpot, though it was not guaranteed to work. Immediate panic set in. How would I be in touch with clients? Stay on top of projects?
Three days in to the trip, I felt like a computer with a system that had been reset. My blood pressure slowed and I stopped anxiously and habitually checking my phone. On my morning hikes, instead of checking my text messages and emails, I spent time appreciating the morning mist and the sounds around me. As I hiked around the waterfalls or edge of the boat slips, I took a moment to marvel at the changing colors of the light and the shoreline. In the evenings, there was no longer a need to tie up loose ends with emails and phone calls. Instead, I admired the setting sun over our family picnic on the edge of the water and my children’s joyous faces.
Upon our return state side, I plugged right back in. As they say, old habits die-hard. I don’t begrudge our technology filled world, but looking back on our time in Sitter, I remember how good it felt to be tech-free and to be able to be truly present in the moment with my loved ones. We were unplugged and it was exactly what we needed.
Andrea is the owner of Andrea Masseide Design, a residential design firm. She’s married to Steve and together they are the proud parents of three beautiful kids. She looks forward to truly unplugging at least once a year, but is always aiming for more!