September 5, 2011

On plugs and wires and the things that truly connect us.

 hear no evil...

Friday I cold-turkey removed myself from blogging, Twitter, & Facebook for three days. At first I planned to keep a journal of all the things I would have tweeted or said but couldn't because of the hiatus. The only thing I wrote down was the fact that I made two purchases in a row that were exact dollar amounts- I spent $8 even at Walgreen's and Culver's lunch was $11 even. That's what I thought about Tweeting. Really. Dumb.

I realized that not only had I been feeling like my mind and spirit had been overwhelmed with un-needed Internet "toxins" of useless information, I have been polluting the stream and feeds more often than not as well.

We've been going on daily walks for exercise to get me away from the computer. The fact that I need to give myself a break from screentime and it means I go outside is pretty funny-awesome if you think about it. So, we walked to the splash pad and library again. And from my chair in the children's area, by the wooden dollhouse and train set, I recall looking up at the windows above the bookshelves. And noticing the approaching-autumnal clouds outside. I am pretty sure had I been "plugged in" I would have had my phone in hand and would never have looked out those windows. Because in fact, I'd never noticed them until that day.

And Ivy jabbered away at the next table. She read herself a book, in her own words of course. And I probably would have seen that as a chance to chill out -whew she's busied herself, so I can get something done! But instead I just watched her without her knowing. My face hurt from smiling. And I ached for the other things I've missed in place of "me time" that really was more like "waste of time."

I didn't keep a journal like I thought I would. But I did have a bit of a writer's block removed. I felt more creative and let words ride the flow. I couldn't wait to plunk it out on my computer. That was another interesting factoid. I've often used Twitter and Facebook as a crutch to help me with things to write about but am now seeing that is just synthetic. Inside a big bubble, no less.

True, not every moment I spend on Twitter and Facebook is for naught. Some of it is good and fun and totally worth it. But I was finding myself loitering around a point where I wasn't able to decipher which was which, you know?

I am surprised that I wished I had made my hiatus last longer. I thought I would be ready to post by the time Monday saw 12 a.m. But here it is late at night and almost Tuesday. I honestly think I might "roughly" plan to refrain from Twitter and Facebook on the weekends meaning I'm going to just pencil that in and not decide anything permanent now and all but... the re-entry after a couple days off is niiiice. It feels like things fit a bit better again. I can see clearly. I didn't get nearly as much done as I thought I would with this little experiment, but I think that I realized that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. I don't see unplugging completely as the answer. Maybe just turning down the volume once in a while will do.

A stop and smell the roses and don't tweet about it every time you do it kind of thing. Is it not just as beautiful if no one else knows it happened? Some things- many things- everyday things are better left just felt and unsaid. It will tell you a whole lot more later on.

Hallmark is compensating me for participating in the Life Is A Special Occasion campaign, but encouraged me to write about anything I wanted in the theme of inspiration. It would be awesome if you'd sign up for their promotional emails (you might even see me in there!) by following this link. I am partnering with Hallmark to spotlight Life Is A Special Occasion  for the rest of this year. As always, all content and opinions expressed are my own.


  1. What a great way to spend a weekend - I'm considering doing the same on the weekends.


  2. I've already told you I LOVE your photos right? Also, your cute kids. Also, you.

    I definitely agree with you on stepping away. I've done a lot of unplugged weekends recently. The world apparently keeps spinning. :-) xo

  3. You know how I feel. I barely check twitter and Facebook on the weekends. I like it better that way. And kudos to you on the campaign!

  4. I've been thinking of instituting weekend online hiatuses too. I think it was when I was trying to schedule some dedicated "school" time with my three year old (now penciled in between 6:30-7:30pm) after a full day of work and dinner, before studying for my masters degree and his bedtime, that would still leave time for household duties and 45 minutes for my thrice-weekly three mile run/personal time at the gym. Actually, no, it was right after I caught myself googling "where to buy 5-hour wnergy in bulk." Costco has it... fYI.

  5. Stepping back is a good thing. Everybody does not have to know every little thing that is going on in your life. Glad you enjoyed your unplugged time. Can't wait to hear more about it.

  6. Off topic, but I hope you don't mind that I've borrowed (stolen? copied?) your idea of photographing your four kids on the 4th of each month. I just did my first such post and linked back to your blog. Imitation is the finest form of flattery, right? I hope you agree! : )

  7. Love this. I loved my break too. I am going to do it more often. Just like breaks away from Mommying are good for us, so are breaks from the online world.

  8. Hehe it's 12:15am and here I am online. I get nervous if I don't keep up with every blog post and every tweet. I guess it's sort of an addiction but it keeps me connected when I'm stuck in the house alone with the babies almost constantly. Plus, I can nurse and tweet at the same time. That makes it ok, right?

  9. Gosh, you are brave! Don't think I could ever fully "unplug" for a day!

  10. I've been very sporadic on blogging, tweeting and updating these past few months. It's been interesting. Six months ago I would have pitied anyone who wasn't constantly plugged in, because they were missing out on so much. Now, I realize how much I've been missing out on. I am pretty much unplugged on weekends, and it's been nice.

  11. a few months ago we went more then just unplugged we went 1 week "off the grid" no power, no running water, no modern convinience, and I LOVED it, and wanted to stay there and live like this longer!!!

    I felt more creative, so did our little one. Yes things were different and the work harder (try washing laundry with no laundry machine and warming water over the fire!!!) but we were free for all the stimulations that distracts us from living "fully"!!!!

    will you try to go unplugged again, and for how long???

  12. Ps I love the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" pictures with you little ones :-)

  13. I like to take a weekend here and there and just completely unplug. I am barely online on weekends as it is and I've been laughing every Monday when I log back on for work and Klout tells me that my score has gone down. That's okay, Klout. I had more fun with my family than sharing and connecting. So bite me, Klout. ;)

  14. That pic is The Awesome! I'm in love with it.

    And YES, to what you've said here. I'm on the same page...or screen. heh. There is not an all or nothing or too much or too little to how I do me time anymore. I guess I'm just content with the times I quietly go quiet. Which is more and more. Who knows what that means. It just is.


  15. That is simply the most awesome photo... I learnt your lesson about a year ago when I took a week of and we went to the middle of nowhere with no connectivity... I thought I would miss it but didn't notice it was gone!!! That my stats would plummet and no one would read my blog again ever... Stats didn't dip!!! Thought I would want to dash back and post post post... no it took me ages to get back into it - I enjoyed the heady freedom of a night off - still do and I take them from time to time... there does come a time when your blog really can exist without you from time to time... like kids they grow up!!!

  16. what perspective! I am planning to go on a blogging hiatus at the end of the month as a computer-free week, an anniversary gift to my husband, an effort to indicate that spending down time with the family comes first. reading this is definitely making me more excited. although I am sure I will miss the wondeful community of bloggers I keep in touch with through being "plugged-in"

  17. It's funny you should be writing about this. As Lil and I were purchasing embroidery floss the other day, I remembered how "back then" all I seemed to do was make bracelets. And read. And run and play. And bike. And and and...

    There was so much I DID because I wasn't continuously plugged into a box.

    I'm afraid Ellie is going to think it is utterly normal and good to be always on the computer. :oS I need to step back and enjoy the world around me, not focus so much on connecting to the outside world.

    That's what it truly is for me. I quit work and stayed home and now I have no adult conversation most of the time until B comes home.

    But, it's time to step back and cutback. Thank you for this post.

  18. This is exactly why I hedge about being more "professional." Getting paid to blog, or having commitments to meet on a timely basis would mean that I HAVE to be online which would mean that I WOULD be online way more than I already am. I often walk away from the computer and online world. It's just an outlet for me to talk with friends, but it limits where I can be and what I can do.

    I often have the best ideas in the world when I am out and about. I try to keep a tiny notepad in my purse to jot down 1 or 2 lines. Topic sentences, or main ideas of things I don't want to forget. Sometimes, that's all they ever are - just one liners. But other times, I find myself writing the best stuff because of that simple moment on a piece of paper...

  19. Yes! I need the same sabbath. And I plan to take one next week. Something about wires pulls us in and yet leaves an empty space where the pulling took place.
    Your words are beautiful and real. I am also trying to find rest in just being without telling everyone my thoughts and actions in a play by play on facebooks. Strangely it isn't easy at first. And that is scary to me.
    Love that I found your blog! :)

  20. I love this line: A stop and smell the roses and don't tweet about it every time you do it kind of thing.

    Love this, Steph. I know what you mean about waste of time disguised as me time. And the internet toxins....I think of it as mental crud.

    Miss you, friend.

  21. Your last paragraph REALLY spoke to me. The last 2 actually. I'm trying to do this some. I'm staring to leave my phone in the car when we go in places, etc. It's just all getting to be too much. Thanks for the inspiration, my friend.

    There's definitely a balance between all the documenting and social media stuff and just LIVING.

  22. I just love that photo of the kids!! I'm glad you had a nice hiatus- I've had a VERY long hiatus and now that Chris is in preschool and I have a couple hours every morning, I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things! :) And hooray for autumn!!


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