Blogger’s Choice: Disconnecting

By Lysa Salsbury

It seems particularly apt that I (probably the least techy of all the SAWTT bloggers) would follow Brenda (in my mind, Supreme Queen of Tech) with a post about how to get away from technology over the summer. My formerly 10-month position is transitioning to 12-month next year, which leaves me with only one month this summer, instead of two, to truly empty my mind of All Things Work and Get Away From It All. And get away from it all I will, goshdarnit. It’s already pretty easy, I have to confess—after all, unlike most professionals my age, I have no smart phone, no iPad, no cable or satellite TV, only one home computer that I share with my husband, a Logitech Squeezebox that I would have a hard time living without (this might have to be the exception to my tech-free summer), and an iPod Touch that my son has appropriated to watch Netflix and play Angry Birds. But I do rely on steady doses of technology-enabled support on a daily basis, so not falling back on technology is going to be a challenge, even for me.

So here’s how I plan to do it. Lysa’s Guide for Living (Temporarily) Without Technology:

1)      Read newspapers. Much as I grouse about the lack of national and international news in our small local newspapers, I will consume my news in print form every morning instead of online. I will actually listen to Morning Edition on NPR instead of using it as wake-up background noise.

2)      Consult real cookbooks. I’ll actually look in my huge library of cookbooks for recipes and culinary tips instead of falling back on browsing Epicurious or Chow. That pristine copy of The Joy of Cooking that my in-laws gave us for our wedding 20 years ago might actually see some action this summer.

3)      Write real letters. On paper. The kind you stamp and mail. I plan to use the summer to catch up on overdue correspondence with old friends, and write letters instead of just emailing. Letter writing is such an undervalued, almost lost, art. I deeply value and treasure each and every handwritten missive I receive these days. They’re so few and far between.

4)      Call instead of text. I’m as much of a fan as the next person for a quick text instead of a phone call, but sometimes the text conversation gets awfully lengthy and I find myself wondering if it wouldn’t just be a whole lot quicker (not to mention more personal) to use the phone for the primary purpose for which it is intended…

5)      Limit Facebook use. Facebook, argh. That’s a tricky one. A transplant to the U.S. from my native England, it’s how I keep in touch with family goings-on back home. That one’s up for some deliberation still. My mother demands weekly anecdotes and photo updates of her grandchildren.

6)      Read for pleasure. I don’t have a Kindle or a Nook or any other kind of e-reader device, so I’m looking forward to delving into some paperbacks I’ve been saving for the summer. On my To Read list: Half the Sky, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (currently halfway through it, can’t put it down), and my colleagues are strangely compelled by the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, so I guess I’ll check that out, too.

7)      No TV. I will not watch movies at home or DVDs of primetime shows, not even to exercise to.

8)      Designate family tech-free time. Tom and I have been trying for a long time to have regular designated times where everyone in the house has to do something together that doesn’t involve technology. Common activities include playing a silly game, going for a bike ride on the Latah Trail, cooking a big meal together, or hiking with the dog up at Idler’s Rest.

9)      Play music. We plan to spend a lot more time this summer playing music together, and less time downloading music on iTunes.

10)   I. Will. Not. Check. My. Work. Email.

So there you have it. Ten Simple Steps to Enjoying a Technology-Free Life. Think I can do it? Stay tuned…

Blogger’s Choice: Disconnecting