The Simply Unplugged Life

Photo courtesy of Vogue Italy

If you checked out the blog Friday you noticed my verb for the weekend was #UNPLUG. That’s what I did over the weekend, except my phone. That was just in case of emergencies. A single traveling lady like myself can’t completely go off the grid without folks knowing I arrived to my destination safe and sound.

My train left Philadelphia’s Amtrak 30th Street Station early Friday morning, and so Thursday night I left my sweet little flat in Media, PA and headed into the city for dinner and an overnight at Magda’s. We headed to Sabrina’s over on 34th and Powelton. I hadn’t been in what felt like forever and she had been never.  We placed our orders, for me a bunless turkey burger with spinach, sun dried tomatoes, cheese, tomato, lettuce and sweet potato fries and she ordered the Tuscan chicken sandwich and Parmesan fries.  Not long after Manny took our orders Magda asked if I was ready for my weekend getaway. Sipping my water I just nodded. “I could tell. Something about our last few conversations said you were at your fill.” I stopped sipping. I didn’t think it was that bad. I thought I was doing well keeping things together, getting ready for the upcoming semester, traveling for work and play and planning to travel again for work, relationship maintenance, etc. etc. “I guess you’re right,” I managed to mumble and then gave a half smile. I didn’t want her to think she offended me. She hadn’t. Surprised me was more like it. I was surprised she’d seen that my cup was running over before I had.

Our food came and we devoured it in a non vulture one or two finger licks swapped fries from each other’s plates ladylike way. We walked back over to her place, only after stopping at Starbucks to get warm beverages on an unusually cool August night, continued conversation until my medicine kicked in and I was knocked out. Early Friday I arose, printed my itinerary and was off to the train station ad before I knew it in my hotel room in on 17th street, NW, Washington DC.

Photo courtesy of Annie Leibovitz

The next 48 hours were perhaps the most needed and perfect 48 hours I’ve ever gifted myself. I spent a lot of time praying, meditating, reading, and writing. I also ventured out of my cozy quarters, visiting museums and in complete awe of the creativity of human beings, and sitting in the park right across the street from my hotel. I say there one night with my frozen yogurt, people watching, smiling, and greeting people as they walked by, soaking in the diversity and the many languages I heard, humbled as I stared up at a growing dark sky with tree branches swaying trying with all their might to tickle it.

As I made my way back to my little Quaker town of Media, I couldn’t help but feel a few things. The first was replenished. I felt me coming back. The slow still quietness, the reflection, the phone not ringing, absence of social media updating and reading left me renewed and relaxed.

The second was thankful. i was thankful for the time away as it truly allowed me to see how certain bad lifestyle habits were trying to creep back in my life. I needed a reality check. And in the quietness I had time to really tune into what had me at full capacity. I noticed for example, in part due to travel, that I was falling out of my habit of Sabbath. Because I felt short on time I was slowly allowing things to spill over into a day that I had used to use as my day to unplug and recharge on a weekly basis. I also noticed I was neglecting making time to physically connect with friends. I was talking on the phone, g-chatting, texting, etc. But that’s not the same as physically gathering and I know that I need to physically see and connect with the people in my life. Me hitting my fill was like that faux full feeling you get called gas or bloating. You know what I’m talking about. You’re not full because you’ve feasted on something nourishing, you feasted on something that got your stomach to stop talking but that was about it. I was feeling full but not with things that I know are nourishing and meaningful to me.

Photo courtesy of Tim Walker for Vogue UK July 2005 

The third thing I felt was desire. More specifically was the desire to share with friends, family, and you, the importance of taking time to unplug. I can’t emphasize enough what time away from the hustle and bustle of your life can do for you. I can’t stress how unplugging is actually how you can recharge, Sounds kind of crazy right? I mean whenever we need to charge something we plug in, but when it comes to recharging ourselves so we can LIVE, it’s all about unplugging.

If you can I totally recommend getting away to unplug. Sometimes unplugging in a familiar space  backfires. We become easily distracted by “little things”  that “need to be done” and “will only take a minute.”  Not to mention when we’re home unplugging, family and fiends are still inclined to “stop by” for a “quick visit.” 
Yeah, no one stopped by for a quick visit while I as in DC. 

But if you can’t get away, try some small things like

  • Social media free Saturdays and/or Sundays. 
  • Ask friends and family not to call or text after a certain hour unless it’s a)an emergency or b) there is a time zone difference. No need to ruin along distance relationship cause I recommended unplugging. 
  • Prepare meals for the day a day or so before so you decrease the amount of time you spend cooking/cleaning 
  • Give yourself sixty minutes alone. It can be in the bathroom, at the park, on a hike, in the cafe section of Barnes and Noble, or on your back porch. 
I know the week is just starting and I am already asking you to rethink your week and consider taking it slow and unplugging. But…I wouldn’t tell you about anything that I didn’t really think would add to the richness of a simply LIVEd life. Pinky promise. xxoo

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