I ended the call and immediately broke out in a little panic sweat. Odd, I thought at the time. That should have been the first indication I made a mistake. Surely, I could find the time, I chuckled to myself. It’s not like I was asked to do something harmful, right? I had only agreed to give up my electronic tether to the world for a day and describe the stress-free feeling. I’m not an Apple zombie! This will just add to my already reasonably healthy lifestyle, I thought. Who knows, maybe I could even start electronic-free days as a routine. Easy!
Well, not so easy for me as it turns out. I’m a scheduler by nature, so the first thing I did was to go to the calendar to find a possible opening. I couldn’t unplug on a day that I run because the thought of doing cardio without music was abhorrent. I couldn’t do it on a work day because I use an in-home office and have to be connected in order to do my job. A weekend wouldn’t work because all the kids had summer activities going on in different places and needed me to be connected for them.
So, it was going to have to be the upcoming beach vacation. That was the only option. We were scheduled to be in Europe anyway, and didn’t need to run up a big phone bill or drag a laptop to the beach. The husband would be with me, so I wouldn’t need to check in at home. I found a good book and waited for a truly stressless vacation to begin.
Each day of the trip I woke up saying this would be the one. However, the stress of unplugging built as I failed day after day.
First, I needed to find out how to get to the beaches and other places we wanted to visit, so I used GPS. Then, we wanted to document the sightseeing, so I used the phone’s camera. Finding places to eat and shop called for internet searches. Asking directions demanded a translate app. Converting currency to know what we were spending led me to a different app. We wanted to schedule a tour, so we needed to access websites. See the pattern? The entire trip, I was stressed more and more each day trying to find a way to unplug.
So, I failed the assignment in spectacular fashion. Obviously, my life is enmeshed in a way that unplugging now actually adds stress. Am I a poster child for the Apple zombie apocalypse? Maybe, but knowing I have access to information, sharing experiences, connecting with others, and easing my work life actually lessens the stress I have. I am unfortunately old enough to remember days without all this connectivity and we got along fine, of course. Or, we thought we did at least. Given the choice, however, I’ll stay connected. Zombieland here I come.