A few years ago, a friend and I read an article in the New York Times challenging readers to take a “digital vacation” away from their communications devices. If you’re anything like most Americans today, you’re glued to at least a cell phone, but probably quite more, like a smartphone or iPad. Permanently connected and infinitely accessible, we’re tethered to networks that bring use closer to friends, family and strangers despite barriers of distance or social obligation. For many of us, we marvel at the possibilities and appreciate the moments that connect us with those whom we treasure most. Increasingly, though, and for many that are tethered to the workplace by Blackberry and email, it’s really just a pain.
Dave and I were terribly unsuccessful in our attempts to eliminate communications devices from our lives every Sunday, lasting only a month before just giving up. Oddly, it wasn’t because we needed to reach out to others, it was because we felt the pressure to be plugged in was simply too great. We were missing out on something, we were sure of it. What if friends wanted to go out? What if there was a breaking news story that we weren’t even remotely involved in but obviously HAD to know about? Were we letting friends down by not being available all the time? I think we were pretty surprised at the feelings raised by this challenge.