Now that I’ve been working from home for a bit over a month at a full-time job, I’ve gotten into a new habit each work day that has become one of my favorite times of day. Each day after I finish work, I log off, close the computer, get Sally and we go for a walk. When I used to commute by bus, the bus ride was my in between time and now the walk with Sally has become my in between time. I break from work and get my thoughts into what is next or I just space out if that is the way I feel that day. But there is one thing I do with this time that makes it so key. I don’t take my phone. I take no devices with me. It is me, the dog and a key to the house. That’s it. I used to take my phone and take pictures, but then one day I decided not to and I discovered the joys of 20-30 minutes of complete disconnection. It is wonderful.
Now I want to say that I don’t dislike technology, obviously I am far from that with what I do for a living, but I do love to get away from it. I also realize that I have choices and I do not have to answer the phone, check my email and twitter; I can just leave the devices alone, but that is harder for me to do. When I leave the house without the device, it happens much more naturally. I also don’t listen to music on these walks. It is just me and the sounds of the neighborhood. Perhaps kids are playing or dogs barking, bycicles wiz by us on the bike route and cars park as people get home from work. There is the distant sound of the higher speed traffic, but it is a slight drone. For the most part our walks are quiet and calm, given that the weather isn’t insane. It is this quiet disconnection that I love so much.
In fact, I’ve extended it to when I go to my yoga classes at my neighborhood studio, I don’t take my phone then either. It is close to 2 hours of quiet and in many ways I feel that’s what yoga is all about, taking time to focus on the moment and be with myself. I’ve simply extended it for my 10 minute walk to the studio and back to give myself even more space.
All of this has made me think of when I was a little girl and we only had a phone and no answering machine or call waiting. Life went on in those days and the news still got to people who needed to hear something, maybe it was slower, maybe it was delayed, but being unreachable didn’t ruin life. I think in many ways, I am trying to recreate a bit of that for myself. Take away the need to keep up, to gobble up information as fast as possible, knowing that if something really crucial happens it will make its way to me. And I admit that I worry when a mother gives her son rules for his iPhone usage and it becomes an internet sensation. Many of the rules are common sense, which we all should follow. Do people really not know how to use technology to their advantage and not be rude anymore? I think that’s why I walk away from the devices and technology for at least a portion of my day, every day.