Life “Unplugged”

I recently read a blog post by Dr. James Frankel, managing director of SoundTree. Dr. Frankel discussed his experiences going to an “unplugged” concert, and how although the music was all performed without any electronic help (amplification, instruments, etc.), about everything else that occurred in his life that night had an electronic aspect to it, from the purchase of the tickets to creating dinner plans. It got me thinking about what life would be like “unplugged.”

We spend so much time glued to our electronics-computers, iPods, cell phones-that sometimes we miss the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of life. So many of us are so always plugged in that there isn’t a minute we’re not communicating with someone, usually electronically. So I got to thinking-would there be a noticeable difference in my life if I committed to taking a certain amount of time each day and having “unplugged” time?

By “unplugged” time I don’t mean just not using electronics. I mean literally unplugging them. Computer in the off position, iPod turned off and in the drawer, cell phone turned completely off (not just on silent). Thinking about it at first, I think to myself, “what would I do with myself?!” Then I come up with a few things I’ve been meaning to do for a while but haven’t gotten the opportunity to, because I always get distracted by a text message, Twitter update, or Facebook notification:

  • Read more articles from my Poppy’s book, Mosaic
  • Read articles from the dozens of music education journals I’ve received over the past year
  • Catch up on reading for some of my classes
  • Work out, in some way (walking, running, lifting weights, shooting a basketball… SOMETHING to get me off my lazy butt!)
  • Practice! (What a concept?!)

And the list goes on and on. So here’s my goal: thirty minutes a day, five days a week. My initial idea was to do thirty minutes every day, but after thinking about it and talking it over with a friend, I realized that it’s better to start smaller and work my way up. My ending goal will be something to the effect of a one-hour block each day, which may require some modifications to my schedule, but I’m going to try to make it work. For now, though, I’m going to start small, and during the school week.

I will, of course, keep you posted with updates on the progress of my journey into the land of the unplugged with (electronic) blog posts every so often! 🙂

Wish me luck!

7 thoughts on “Life “Unplugged”

  1. I've always thought it was interesting that you (you in particular and also a more general “you all”) have picked up and grown dependent on all these things so quickly. Good luck on the “unplugging,” and I think you'll do fine, but I don't entirely understand why so many people are so addicted to this stuff. A couple weekends ago I messed up my computer and it couldn't boot to Windows. It took me a couple of days to fix it, and I was more annoyed about not being able to finish my lab than about not being able to check my emai/facebook/etc, and that was more of a necessity than an internal “need” to use my computer. Why is it that unplugging is a hard thing to do for so many people?

  2. That's a really good question, David, and one that I have asked myself a lot, lately. This question, in fact, of why it's so hard to “unplug,” is what caused me to try this experiment. I have gotten so dependent on these things because I have always liked staying connected and knowing what's going on. What better way to stay updated on what's going on in your circles than by social media? There reaches a point, though, where it becomes overly consuming, and those times merit a step back, like I'm taking with this.

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. Good luck, Andy. Although it is fantastic to be so “connected” to all of our “networks” there is a need for some personal time. Even right now as I type this comment from my iPhone, I am awake later than I wanted to be because I cannot get myself to go to bed before doing my ritualistic Facebook/Twitted/school email/Gmail/Google Reader check. Although I am not going to commit to the same goals you set, I am going to try one thing next week – leave my iPhone in the office during the day. We'll see how I do. I am sure I will feel “naked” with out it, but it will be nice to not worry and wonder what is in the email I just received when my belt vibrated. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. I've been thinking a lot about this, too, Andy. I'm making a conscious effort NOT to check Twitter, Facebook, etc for periods of the day when I concentrate on exercising, practicing, or just having a real-life conversation with the people in my own house. I think I'll log off now (again!) to get some more accomplished! (After I check your podcast…)

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