One complaint that I hear popping up more and more frequently, a habit crying out for change, is the negative intrusion of technology into our lives.
I’m not talking about the miracle of GPS, which guides me directly to my destination in a strange city after dark. Or online chats that allow me to hold regular meetings with colleagues in other states and other countries. Or my iPhone, which allows me to search for critical information while I’m away from my office. But for every benefit that technology brings, there is also a possibility for that same technology to crowd out things that matter more — nurturing friendships, time to think, reconnecting with nature, enjoying an uninterrupted meal. Some complain that they can’t converse with a friend without that person giving half their attention to tweeting on their smart phone. Others lament that they can never really relax, since email interrupts their evenings and weekends now.
Enter the National Day of Unplugging, from sundown tonight until sundown tomorrow. An invention of the Reboot crew as part of its Sabbath Manifesto, National Day of Unplugging is a step toward creating a less anxious and more meaningful life in the midst of daily stress.
The thoughtful people at Sabbath Manifesto emphasize that their effort is not about following someone else’s rules for how to use your time. Rather, it is an attempt to recover ancient traditions that create helpful boundaries, protecting meaningful things in our lives.
If technology has crept into larger and longer parts of your life, if you’re connected so much you no longer notice the distraction, if technology has become your drug of choice, or if you’d just like to shake up your technology habits a bit, join the National Day of Unplugging.
Beginning tonight, make other plans. Devote the whole day to face-to-face relationships. Write a letter. Take a walk. Daydream. See you on Sunday!