On Being Unplugged

So for Reasons, I decided to spend this last weekend unplugged. The rules were no cell, and no cheating by using my computer or iPad to check email, Twitter, texts, Instagram, etc. Netflix and Spotify were allowed (I’m not that strong).  From Friday night to Sunday evening, I would live off the grid, ala the 2000s and early 2010s.

Friday night was fine. I was ready to go to bed when I turned my phone over. It wasn’t too bed. But Saturday; well, Saturday taught me somethings.

I woke up Saturday, hot and tired. I had no idea what time it was and no idea what the temperature in my room was. Should I get up? I had no idea. Was it 7:30, 9. or 12? I decided to get up. Normally, I scroll through my social media first thing in the morning. But without a phone, I just got up.

But without social media distracting me first thing, I managed to start reading and got about 4 solid, uninterrupted hours in. So the first lesson of being unplugged: productivity goes up. Which I knew. But there it is.

After lunch it was time to run the weekend errands. And that was when I learned my second lesson: I spend a lot of time doing things I find boring. While we were at Lowe’s and Home Depot, I kept looking down for my phone. You don’t realize how often you do boring things until you have to pay attention.

By the end of Saturday, I was kind of cranky. While I had enjoyed my morning, I felt bored most of the afternoon. And I wasn’t a super fan of interacting with people without my phone to escape to. And I was still tired.

So I wasn’t too optimistic that Sunday would be that great as I went to bed Saturday night. I took a PM pain med and conked out.

But Sunday! Sunday!

I woke Sunday, feeling refreshed. Again, no cell so no idea about time or temp, but this time, I knew what to expect. I came out, had a nice breakfast, and then set up to read a fun book.

We had the usual quiet morning, had lunch, read, and then went swimming. But this is when I noticed the third lesson of the unplugged weekend: when you aren’t constantly checking your phone and seeing the time, you don’t feel anxious to get everything in.

I normally feel upset that I didn’t do every thing on my to-do list. I’ll get alot done, but still feel unproductive. But when you aren’t checking it constantly, you can focus more on what your doing and enjoy the activity more, instead of looking a head to the next to-do item.

By Sunday night,  I was kind of sad that being unplugged was over. And when I first turned my phone, the stress came rushing back. I had so many notifications! I’m an impatient person so I feel the need to check everything as they come in. But this unplugged weekend showed me that I need to step away more often to enjoy life.


Harry Potter Comes to a Stage Near You (But Only If You Live In London)

I have been meaning to write about this for a month, but busy is the life I lead. J. K. Rowling recently announced that she would be making a continuation (not a prequel) of the Harry Potter story through a stage play.

My first reaction was one of joy and anger. Joy because I grew up with this series. And I do mean grew up. Not to give away my age or anything, but the first book published when I was in the 4th grade, the last one when I was in 12th, and the last film the year of my college graduation in 2007. Harry Potter book ended my childhood.

But here’s the thing: I was a child living in poverty. We didn’t have money to go to plays. We barely had the money to cover food. But when those books came out, my mom made sure I had one.  To me, Harry Potter was a escape from my world. And it would surprise me one bit to learn that my situation was true for a lot for kids. So it really angered me to see this development. Movies, books, tangible mediums are easily accessible and pay for themselves over time as you use them. A West End stage play can only be experienced  once. The price is fixed. SO how will millions of readers, who may not have the money to see the play, or fly to England, enjoy the continuing story of Harry?

Harry Potter doesn’t belong just to Rowling anymore; he belongs to us all, and using theater as her story medium really excludes people from that shared collective story.