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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Have You Ever Really Unplugged?

Only a generation ago, our parents left their jobs and drove home to their families at night. They had dinner, talked to their kids, and went to bed knowing they would have an uninterrupted night's sleep. If you needed to speak with someone, you picked up a phone and talked with them. You respected the dinner hour. You respected weekends. You respected vacations. There were times when good manners and a respect for someone's time with family demanded an impenetrable bubble that allowed them to simply be the husband, father, son, friend that gave them the reason for being.

With today's technology, the lines have blurred to the point of non-existence. Evenings, weekends, and vacations are no longer times of solace. Unwinding and catching a much-needed breath used to lie within the confines of a Saturday to Sunday, but now email, text messages, and phone calls penetrate that space where we used to breathe.

Yes, technology has allowed the freedom of "being home" more by allowing email and text messages to preclude the requirement of being in the office. We can now sit in PJ's and drink our coffee while fielding questions and addressing emails, but we sacrifice on the back side. Our evenings are never our own. Or Sunday mornings. Or vacations. The bubble has popped. The siren song of a life disconnected pulls us into a life of constant connect that, ironically, disconnects us from those we most want to be connected to.

Through Facebook, I know about what's going on with friends that I haven't seen in years. While I know less about my friends who live literally next door. I text my best friend rather than pick up the phone and speak to her. My mother-in-law learns about what her grandchildren do by looking at my Facebook page instead of seeing photographs in her inbox or hearing their voice on the phone telling of their latest adventures.

The past four days, the lake house we rented had no TV and slow cell service. So instead of watching a movie, we played board games and laughed and learned about one another. We sat on a dock and did nothing. We went on boat rides and enjoyed the beauty of what surrounded us. It was amazing.

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