Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for Yesteryear: My (Slightly Scary) Time Travel Experiment

Growing up in Virginia, I got my driver's license the day I turned sixteen. I'm not saying it was the best idea ever, but I was itching to get behind the wheel of my Geo tracker and drive (or sputter, I should say) off into the sunset.

A few weeks after getting my license, I was handed a clunky rectangle-shaped object. It was rather large and if I'm remembering correctly, it had a retractable antenna. It was a cell phone, my parents said, and I was to keep it in my car in case of an emergency. I tossed it into my glove compartment and didn't give it a second thought. As I'm typing this, I'm realizing the battery probably died a couple days after I received it, so it wouldn't have been too helpful in an emergency anyway. Oh, well.

The point is, I didn't have it with me at all times. I didn't know my number. I'm not sure if I even knew how to turn it on. Perhaps I'm becoming a bit of a curmudgeon, but my heart has been feeling burdened recently by the fact that today's teens don't get to spend much time looking up at the world around them. They don't get to experience the awkward anxiousness that comes from having to ask a girl's parents if she can come to the phone. They don't get to do a lot of talking and listening, because they have to do a lot of typing and reading just to keep up with the status quo. They don't get an escape from the constant chatter; don't get to be alone with their thoughts - and they've never known things any other way.

This got me thinking about how I have known things another way. I remember what it was like to not be constantly connected, and yet I find myself forgetting to look up at the world around me. I find myself forgetting to listen; forgetting to study the faces of the people I love. I'm feeling drained by this lately, so I've issued myself a challenge:

I am committing to-

Hang on. It is a little scary to even put these words out there. Ok. Whew. I can do this.

I am committing to completely turning off my iPhone for an entire weekend. 

Deep breaths. It's going to be ok, Courtney.

I'm turning back the clock a few years. I don't have a specific reason for issuing this challenge, other than I have a feeling there's something to learn from this; something to be gained from unchaining myself in this way.

So there it is. I'm publicly committing to turning off my phone Friday at 5pm until whenever I wake up Monday morning. I'll check back in with a blog update next week on my strange journey to the past. If I come back at all, that is. ;)


  1. Great post, Courtney. Of course, I had LOTS longer in the unplugged era than you, but since I began building a base for my writing, I've become as addicted as the next techie. I am trying to become aware of the overkill moments. I leave my phone at home when we go to church or on social outings, and I'm trying to wean myself off checking my messages quite as often. I admire your efforts to reconnect on a face-to-face basis, and I look forward to reading about how it went.

  2. Great challenge Courtney! MR N and I turn off our cell phones every Friday at 5 pm and don't turn them back on until Monday morning at 8 am. We also leave all the technology at home when we vacation. It feels so lovely to unplug and just be in the moment. You'll see life in a whole new way, I promise! :-) MRS N