Saturday, February 13, 2016

Where's the downtime?

Is it too much to ask for a week of downtime where the phone doesn't ring, the emails never come and the mail doesn't show up?  Seven full days where you don't get text messages.  Seven nights where you can eat an apple for dinner or a full cake and there will be no repercussions.

No panicked phone calls when you don't answer after the first ring, followed by every phone in your house ringing because you haven't answered the first call.

You know why this doesn't happen?  It's because we are adults.  And we have responsibilities.  We are responsible for ourselves. For our spouse, our kids, our pets.  We have to answer our boss because it's our job and when we don't answer we get questioned.  We have to reply to emails and texts because we are now a society that finds it necessary to respond almost instantaneously.

There is something to be said for living off the grid, and not having 24/7 communication. I'm not saying it would be perfect, because frankly, I need my internet.  I need my cell phone.  I need movies and access to a millions books that I can download.  My kids need their video games and access to their phones.  My husband loves looking through Craigslist and watching ridiculous videos.

The other night, when were on our way to the cottage, my husbands phone rang while he was outside the truck.  I ignored it because I was trying to pull dinner together (fast food...I don't recommend it).  Then my phone rang, but it was on silent.  When get got back in the truck, his phone rang again.  And the panic on the other end was 'where were you??'   Remember the days when your phone rang at home and you had no idea who was on the other line?  It was like Russian roulette... It could be your sister, or your father, or someone looking for your fourth cousin twice removed.  You could travel 200 miles and not have contact with the world.

When you left your parents house, you would hear mom say "call me when I get there, so I know you are safe."  Now, I find myself even saying that to my mom when she would leave our house...or I would call all on my own.

I have our oldest text when he goes from his school to his girlfriends school.  I have our  youngest check in if he is going to be late.

I think about what it was like when we were growing up and we just needed to make sure we were home when the street lights went on...and if you weren't your ass would be grass.  As an adult, we now feel the need to be connected 24/7/365.    We leave our cell phones on and next to our beds in case something happens to an aging parent.  We check on our kids when they aren't home, just to make sure they are ok.  We jump when our boss says jump.  We answer emails right away.

Life's too short to be on command all the time.  You need to take time for yourself.  Even if it means you can't take a seven day vacation where nothing else matters.  Maybe it's as simple just not picking up the phone and forgetting to check your mail.  Maybe it's time to skip being an adult even for an afternoon.  Go outside and make a snow angel.  Play hooky one day on your own and see that movie you've been dying to see.  Don't forget to get that tub of popcorn you won't need to share.  Tell your boss no.  Then when it's all done, and you need to be an adult again, you can do it with a smile on your face, while thinking 'screw you'!

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