Technology…we love it. We can’t live without it. We forget what it is like to not have it. 20-somethings have never known times unplugged. Oh how much harder it was to figure out where your friends were going out and to actually have to call someone to ask them out. 40-somethings do remember. I’ve gotten a lot of perspective on the pros and cons of being constantly connected and our predilection for texting from those who built relationships with friends and lovers in pre-digital era times. Here is what some 40-somethings have to say:
“Texting is great for communication, but don’t confuse that with discussion.”
“It’s easy to say I love you on text.”
“Texting in new relationships can be confusing and confounding… but texting can add mystery, fun and anticipation to a existing relationship.”
And then there is the phenomenon known as Facebook. Some decree it is the ruination of real world connection. Others find support from old friends and new alike.
For one woman, technology became the sign she found “the one.” An artist, barely aware of Facebook, she thought technology would always be a deal-breaker. Then she reconnected with a college crush, now a mergers and acquisitions attorney who couldn’t make a move without his blackberry.
“He can’t be away from it for 5 minutes. With anyone else it would have been a deal breaker. It’s really weird. It doesn’t bother me the way it used to bother me. Yeah it’s kind of annoying but we talk about it. When you are happy the deal-breakers don’t matter.”
Then there is the married mom of twins who had to laugh when her hubby sent her this text message, after going back and forth on text over the day’s schedule and upcoming obligations: “lets talk live today”
“It kind of made me laugh that in these times you would need to make a point to speak live to your spouse during the day. We normally talk live and spend time many times during the day but it seemed indicative of todays realities.”
So what do you do when you are more devoted to your device than your loved one? Is your smart phone getting a lot more touch and feeling than your partner?. Perhaps it’s time to turn off.
Lately I’ve heard more people taking tech time outs. From weekends vacations from technology at home to hotels offering literal vacations sans connection. The Four Seasons in Costa Rica is giving guests the option to surrender their cell phones for 24 hours. Their disconnect to reconnect program with Uncommon offers customized timeouts and a guide to 24 things you can do without technology. Ahh — sunsets, paddle-boarding, reading by the pool, dinner uninterrupted, a chess game, wildlife adventures. Sounds amazing. They focus on these breaks being just the tonic you need to reconnect with lovers, friends or family – or even with yourself!
Uncommon cell phone covers
So after going online to plan that trip to Costa Rica, it got me thinking…what I would do with 24 hours of no technology? Okay – let’s make that seven. Why? Because I like the number seven and because I do live in NYC and – I took my own vacation from tech last weekend that added up to about seven hours. Here are seven things I did completely disconnected (that didn’t involve me paying someone else to pamper me a la a facial, massage or pilates session). How about you?
1. Read the paper before the day begins… at the breakfast table, cup of coffee in hand and no email angst. It will wait! I have just recently tried to do this more often before work. It reminds me of growing up when my Mom actually did make us breakfast every day and we ate together as a whole family before rushing off to school or work. A luxury in today’s world but worth getting up 30 minutes early for.
2. Walk down the block in NYC and notice the buildings and people around me rather than bump into strangers– smile at strangers.
3. Go buy fresh flowers. Carry home feeling romantic and mysterious. Get home and arrange. Smell. Close eyes. Pretend you are in Costa Rica.
4. Make a photo album. Sometimes I go old school and actually make a physical album. I always end up perusing my old ones when I make he new ones which is also fun.
5. Have a glass of wine and read a book on my couch. It’s so easy to reach for that remote . . .but sometimes I just say no. I love reading so why re-watch that Girls episode or get some Revenge, when I can dig into Anna Karenina (an update I’m on page 300 of 800). Surprisingly I find the problems of the Russian aristocracy are much the same as both these shows.
6. Make Christmas ornament with old magazind decoupage glue. Yes I did do this last weekend. I love mixing typography and imagery. This was for a tree-trimming party for a cocktail loving bunch. Tip – plastic martini glasses do exist for making cocktails on the go and make for a light ornament.
7. Made pesto from the super secret recipe that my sexy and savvy Italian hair stylist and friend gave me. It lives up to the promise that it was the absolute best but I am not allowed to share. This one he gave me for uni pasta (yes that would be sea urchin) I am allowed to share. It takes about 10 minutes…and it tastes like penne alla vodka for those of you who are afraid of this strange sounding sushi staple. Plus it makes you feel like you are a gourmet chef.
Big piece of garlic
Red pepper flake
Del monte tomato paste
Italian parsley – to taste
De Cecco linguine
Sea urchin (1 tray per 2 people was the suggestion. I used ½ tray and it seemed plenty)
Cook pasta for one minute earlier than time on box.
Mix parsley, oil and a little tomato paste in a skillet– enough to make it pink.
Add in cooked pasta, and then uni and stir for one minute.
Restored and ready to connect.