There is a certain sense, somewhere between terror and exhilaration, that assails me each time I drive up to my brother’s cabin in Montana. The cabin is nestled on rolling hills overlooking a lake, with an absolutely stunning view of Chief Mountain. Arguably the nicest view in my world and certainly in my top 3 ‘happy places’.
So why the terror? The exhilaration? Quite simply because there is no cell service or wifi at the cabin. None. Nada. The devices we bring with us, connecting us to our network of social goings on, become nothing more than clunky timepieces for the time we are there.
It’s exhilarating! And it’s terrifying. And I love it all the more because of that.
What started out as a convenience, being able to keep in contact with my family, has become somewhat of an addiction. I carry my phone with me everywhere. Any simple or silly question I have is instantly answered as I open google and thumb type my search. My social network rarely goes more than a few hours without me jumping in to catch up. And what is called a ‘phone’ is very rarely used as such.
It isn’t until I am in a place where the device I have grown addicted to is useless that I understand the depth of that dependency. And I realize, during those blissful weekends at the cabin that the stress of being in constant contact is an underlying anxiety that has become a normal part of my day to day life.
A few days ago I talked about getting back on track, and the 3 C’s that will help me with that. One of those 3 C’s was Cut the Crap. The device that has become glued to my hand, drawing my attention away from everything (and everyone) else, has got to go. Don’t get me wrong… I won’t be chucking it into the river like some scene in a movie, walking away with inspiring music playing in the background as I victoriously raise my fists in the air. No. I need to keep the phone, if only to maintain communication with my teenager. She speaks fluent text, and I don’t want to miss out on that.
But… I will be shutting it off. A lot. I realized recently that during the winter months, when the cabin is not accessible, I really miss those technology vacations. It isn’t so much that the view at Duck Lake is spectacular (which it is). It is that I am actually looking up and seeing something other than the dancing pixels on my iThing. I wonder what wonders await if I try looking up in my day to day life.
Please believe me when I tell you in the next few months that I am not ignoring you, my phone is. The important things in life are not ‘things’. And my device is a ‘thing’ I intend to close the drawer on as often as possible.
The prospect is terrifying.