Unplug: no texts, no calls, no emails, no Twitter, no Instagram, no digital indulgence.
Well, I kind of like it. I really like it.
Just last weekend, we were star-light sailing in San Diego. Now, it’s 2am in the serene woods of Yosemite’s Curry Village, where we are lost both figuratively – – gazing at shooting stars – – and literally – – where the heck is our glam-packing “tent?” Our phones read “No Service,” so we have to find the check-in lodge based on good old-fashioned signs. We figured it out, collapsing into our canvased cabin with exhaustion and excitement. Only then did I realize I would miss my scheduled 8am call.It’s funny how dependent we are on technology. How convenient would Google Maps or a phone call be as we wandered and weaved through this bevy of Goliath trees.
But do we really “need” our phones?
It’s become a psychological reliance – – the regular, habitual glances at our mobile device. Are we addicted to iPhones and MacBooks? Do you wake up in the morning and check your IG, Facebook, and Tweets before your first cup of coffee or tea? It could be your profession is committed to social media or emails. It could be that you’re alone in your bed and silently seeking to connect to society, affirming that you aren’t left in this sometimes lonesome world.
No shame in the game. In our era and lifestyle, technology isn’t necessarily a “need,” but it is a practical solution – – a convenience.
Last time I checked, no one is bartering for wood and food: we’re all Venmo-ing for Uber rides or swiping left and right for new-age speed dating. So don’t feel guilty for slaving away to a technical dependence. However, the old saying goes that too much of anything is bad – – yes, even technology.
As I breathed in and fresh air filled my lungs, I felt a new freedom. Not just that “wow” feeling you get in the grand outdoors, but a freedom from my phone. No phone, no purse, no makeup, no pockets, no problem. There’s a real need to unplug and engage with where you are and who you are with right now. We can’t do that if we’re on our phones. We crave it — galaxy skies brighter than a cityscape at night, streams and waterfalls, color-changing leaves adorning our paths.
When I was little, my parents used to sing this song with me:
I went to the valley, but I didn’t go to stay.
Humble me, so I can do thy will.
My soul got happy so I stayed all day.
Humble me, so I can thy will.
That’s exactly what happens when Yosemite National Park welcomes our presence. Our soul gets happy and we are humbled. Because when we unplug, we realize how many things we don’t need, and we discern what we actually can’t live without: a light breeze and warm sun against our skin, a good sweat from a healthy body, and true, face to face conversations with people.