There are times in our lives that we need to completely unplug. This has been one of those times for me.
It started unintentionally. Gary & I celebrated our 32 anniversary this week, and, as we like to do, we planned a little get away. Since we only have three good legs between us, we decided a cruise would be just the thing. A week of doing absolutely nothing that we didn’t want to do. Reading, eating, sleeping, shopping, sight-seeing, you get the drift – just two old folks cruising the high seas. Gary even brought blue socks to wear with his shorts and tennis shoes. I didn’t let him, of course. There are still some lines I won’t let him cross.
After getting on board, we realized our cell phones had no service and wi-fi wasn’t complimentary. We bought a small package so that we could check our e-mail occasionally, then we turned off all our devices. Complete silence. Absolute bliss. No checking e-mails and messages constantly, no Facebook updates, no pipeline to the outside world. Just us, some great books, tropical weather, and the soothing feel of the ocean as it passed beneath us. Heaven on earth. I forgot how great it feels to just unplug.
How did we get to the point of needing constant communication? Did we forget how to just tune into our own thoughts, how to talk face to face and just enjoy quiet times in each other’s company or with our own thoughts? Is that why there is so much unhappiness in the world, because we’ve forgotten how to communicate or how to be still? We’ve taken something that was meant to be a convenience and turned it into our basic means of communication. Conversation has become a lost art.
We spent the morning on our balcony, overlooking the beautiful island of Grand Cayman. As we watched the flurry of activity in the bay below us, dive boats picking up divers, helicopters taking off with tourists for a bird’s eye view of the island, cattle boats ferrying cruisers back and forth to the dock, we reminisced about some of our favorite trips and dreamed of the places we have yet to see. So many of my favorite memories were made on trips near and far. The first time I went scuba diving in blue water and found my home away from home; the first time I saw a manta ray glide majestically toward me with no fear, only curiosity; the helicopter tour we took in Kona that took us from fiery volcanos to lush forests and valleys dotted with cascading waterfalls. None of those memories were made in front of a computer screen.
I hope when we get back to real life that I can make a better effort at connecting with the people in my life. Coffee with friends, long conversations over a shared meal, face to face meetings that establish bonds and cement relationships. I enjoy the convenience of keeping up with family and friends via social media, but I want the warmth of personal contact, as well. We can’t allow our lives to be taken over by technology. Technology should enhance our lives, not consume us.
As the new year draws near, and I reflect on my goals and plans, I think that stepping away from technology will be among them. Not completely, of course, but I don’t want to be swallowed up by it anymore. As for this week, after I post this, I’m shutting down all my devices again and probably won’t check messages until we arrive home on Sunday. So, if you don’t hear from me until then, you’ll know I’m enjoying blissful, stress-free radio silence.
Life is a gift of adventure, meant to be lived unplugged.