Join the National Day of Unplugging
In my Twitter timeline I repeatedly stumbled upon the National Day of Unplugging. It's a project of Reboot, an organization that affirms the value of Jewish traditions and creates new ways for people to make them their own.
I found that quite interesting, as just the other day I had listened to an interview with philosopher Alain de Botton.
Rather than mocking religions, agnostics and atheists should instead steal from them – because they’re packed with good ideas on how we might live and arrange our societies"
- Alain de Botton
He argues that instead of celebrating holidays that have lost their meaning in a secularized world, people should create new holidays that give them a sense of rhythm and community, something that is meaningful to them.
When I realized that the National Day of Unplugging was just around the corner, I spontaneously decided to join. I always wanted to do this and never found a good starting point. So I embraced the opportunity and planned to start on Friday at 18:00 and finish at Saturday at the same time.
Here's how the events unfolded
Fri 17:57: Turning off the computer and putting my phone away. Ready to go. Happy to report my daughter is joining me!
Fri 18:03: My daughter suddenly realized that watching TV is not really in line with unplugging. "This unplugging day is a stupid idea" - and she's off. I'm going to have a lie down.
Fri 18:35: Actually quite nice to have a lie down without a reason. I'm looking out of the window and watch the trees and sky.
Fri 19:10: Getting a bit bored, so I get up and check what the family is up to.
Fri 19:15: Daughter is ready to play, so I'm getting the Cuboro marble run boxes - something we haven't played in a long time. It's actually a toy for nerdy dads, but I haven't told her that yet. But I guess she already knows.
Fri 20:30: Time really flew by and now it's time for bed.
Fri 21:10: Everyone's in bed, myself included. A bit early, but why not.
Fri 21:11: I realize that I usually start the weekend by listening to the Mayo and Kermode Film Review podcast - I totally forgot about this when I decided to join the unplugging day. But I guess it can wait for another day. With nothing to do now, I'm amazed to have more "free time". I decide to do nothing and slowly doze off peacefully.
Sat 6:35: Awake after a really good night's sleep. Getting some more sleep than usual was not on my agenda, but it feels great!
Sat 6:45: Usually I would now check the weather on my phone. Today I actually have to look out of the window. I'm feeling a little stupid.
Sat 9:00: My wife left for her yoga classes, and the daughter and I return to the Cuboro toys - playtime!
Sat 10:00: I realize I wanted to print all the invoices for the tax returns today. Another thing that must wait till tomorrow.
Sat 11:30: Time for some early lunch, as the daughter is about to visit her friend. I walk her there, mother of her friend wonders why I hadn't replied to her text messages.
Sat 11:31: All of a sudden I'm alone.
Sat 12:00: With nothing really to do at home, I'm going to ride my bike for an hour or two.
Sat 13:00: I feel pretty energized and have finished two minor climbs without breaking into a sweat. But now it's starting to rain. Heavily.
Sat 13:30: Back home, but I'm a little wet and really cold. I wouldn't have gone out if I could have checked the weather radar - but now I'm back, and have enjoyed the ride, even with a bit of rain.
Sat 14:00: After a hot shower I'm back in the game - now I'm off to do some shopping. It somehow feels good to have something "useful" to do. Am I more scared of boredom as I thought I was?
Sat 14:15: I just realized that my shopping is more modest today than usual - is that an effect of unplugging?
Sat 14:30: Back home. Normally I would text my wife to ask how she was doing and when she would be home. Not today.
Sat 14:40: I start preparing some dough for pizza. Kneading dough is actually pretty close to massaging. I'm starting to wonder what will by in my inbox tonight. I fear it will be ridiculously insignificant stuff. Why do I care?
Sat 15:45: Done with the pizza preparations. I realize that unplugging day is over in 2.5 hours. A walk in the park.
Sat 15:55: Two more hours to go. With no one in the house and rain pouring heavily, I would usually watch a film. Now I find myself a little bored. Where is this urge to do something coming from? It's the goddamn weekend! Well, I'm going to have another lie down.
Sat 16:45: Parents of daughter's friend are calling me. On the land line. That's new. I answer and realize the phone doesn't work. I can hear them, they can't hear me. Apparently we don't use this phone. Ever.
Sat 17:00: Daughter is back, and she brought her friend. Wondering if my wife texted me. One hour to go.
Sat 17:10: I'm getting pizza ready, and I'm opening a modest bottle of wine.
Sat 17:45: Dinner is ready! Now celebrating the National Unplugging Day!
Sat 18:03: It's over. Now I'm getting ready to watch the football highlights on TV.
Sat 18:15: My inbox has a few interesting things in it, but nothing overwhelming. My wife has texted me - unsurprisingly everything it's ok. I didn't miss a thing. Again, I'm feeling a little stupid.
Although it's only been 24 hours, I learned a lot about myself
I should not evade boredom - I should seek it deliberately more often. When I'm bored, I get thousands of ideas that would be worth doing. That's nice. Maybe boredom is the ying to creativity's yang.
Unplugging as a catalyst
I failed at establishing a regular exercise routine. I should combine exercising and unplugging. With nothing to do in the digital realm, I have plenty of time and motivation to exercise.
I had a really good night's sleep. That's something I didn't expect. For this alone unplugging is worth doing.
I didn't miss a thing
Nothing significant is going on anyways. It's the weekend! I don't really need to be available. Maybe unplugging can become a regular thing.