I spent this past week at a cottage. There was no wifi and you could get one bar of cell service if you walked up the road. Now, I certainly don’t dislike technology, but I do know that I spend WAY too much time on my laptop and phone. I spend the necessary amount of time on my summer school assignments, but then if I’m bored the first platform I turn to is Youtube or Netflix.
I think knowing when to step away from a screen is an important lesson to learn especially now that school (and much of our social interaction) is completely online.
During my week without wifi–though I need to mention that I did check my phone in the mornings because I had to keep up with a few admin tasks– I discovered a few things.
At first, I was bored. Like SUPER bored. I’d brought a bunch of books and art supplies but all I felt like doing was opening up my laptop! I didn’t do that though. I started with a journal entry to complain about my boredom. The act of physically writing helped as a gateway into my week of hands-on activities. I started drawing and designing pages in my art journal–I made spreads that I actually thought out rather than just doodled. I literally spent an entire day painting the red stitching on my winter boots with black acrylic (the result was worth it).
Second, I became angry at myself for not relaxing in the ways that I wanted to relax. Or being productive in the ways I wanted to be productive. I’d planned on reading five books (which was definitely too ambitious) and I’d only read small bits by the first three days. I hadn’t gone swimming in the river at all, and I’d hardly gotten any writing done. But then I realized, though this might seem quite clear to others, that I shouldn’t be making a to-do list for a cottage vacation. I should be choosing my schedule based on what I felt like doing in the moment and not worrying about accomplishing tasks.
So, in a turn of events, I started reading in the mornings. I highly recommend Educated by Tara Westover. I went for many, many walks up the road. I jumped on the trampoline where I used to spend hours and hours (I was surprised by the rush of excitement and pure happiness I felt just to be jumping on it). And I managed to switch up my daily routine. I did not open my laptop first thing in the morning and I did not impulsively check my emails. That’s all I ever wanted.
When you step away from technology you get the chance to make time for activities you wouldn’t normally do (or spend so much time on). I’m sure some people have the discipline to disconnect easily, however I needed the complete lack of internet to get me to reflect on how I really wanted to be spending my last few days of summer vacation.