Going Unplugged and Appreciating Moments

Overhead view of green leaf canopy against blue sky
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I snapped this pic on one of my walks in the park because I noticed how pretty the pattern of leaves was against the sky. Did whipping out my phone save the memory or keep me from savoring it?

No WiFi, Wah?

It’s ironic that I, as a person who retired as a technologist, who blogs, podcasts and otherwise integrates technology throughout my life, has been pondering on the value of being unplugged. Now, the reason I’m pondering right now isn’t Zen enlightenment, nor rocket science. I’m about to fly home for a visit with my family and I’m staying in a quest apartment at my mom’s retirement complex, that, believe it or not, DOESN’T HAVE FRICKIN’ WIFI! OH NO! I can’t believe the cold sweats this is causing. Can it be, that I, the cellphone user who often forgets to turn the phone on, who rarely checks for texts, let alone sends one, and rants on a regular basis about people going to dinner and spending time checking their devices vs. looking each other in the eye, is feeling the effects of missing WIFI cold turkey?

Yep that’s me all right. I have grown accustomed to the soothing dings of my iPad at night, and most of the items ON my trusty iPad need the dang internet to function. The day of fully downloaded games that play locally is kind of over. How can I LIVE without getting my bonuses? Without leveling up? Without checking email? (I know I’ll have my phone, but without my reading glasses it is USELESS to me, hence my love of my trusty, BIG iPad).

I won’t even be able to check my computer once I leave the airport. Sigh.

But is that a bad thing?

When Mark and I rode bikes in Ventura last time, we both snapped many cool videos and photos on our phones.

Laurie and Mark smiling close up

Mark and I at lunch along the new bike path by Ventura

But as we busily framed the view, together, yet apart, I noticed I felt a lack of connection. Where had the days gone when we tapped each other on the shoulder to say, “Look at THAT Hon!?”. Where was the simple hand holding as we gazed at the ocean? When did life become a series of opportunities to post to FB or Instagram?

Moments you forget

And what happens to the moments we DON’T post?

I got the idea for this blog topic partly by cleaning out the unused photos on my phone. The almost duplicates, like the smiling couple above (I used a similar one with Mark’s silly face for my last blog post photo). But the above photo is good too. It’s just a different moment.

Before selfies, I had to ask a stranger to snap our photo, or just know inside myself that we were smiling over something. In a way, I think this constant technology is keeping me from savoring memories as I used to. It puts a bit of a distance between me and what’s going on.

But on the plus side, snapping photos or recording thoughts as I do for the podcast captures some moments that might have slipped by unseen. For example:

multiple pots filled with pink and white annuals

Simple potted annual blooms seen during one of my Descanso Gardens walks

I saw these pots and found them pretty. Without the photo on my phone, would I have remembered them now? Probably not. But then, should I remember this moment framed in this way? Or should I perhaps have taken that moment as it was, in real time, in real life, and experienced it with all of my senses to imprint the moment in my mind, or to just let is slide through me as a hint of joy, not defined, not questioned, just enjoyed and appreciated?

Intuitive Life?

I’ve given up tracking calories, steps, even miles on my bike. I pretty much eat when I’m hungry now, or when something seems especially delicious, I move my body for fun and because it feels good. But I notice, I am starting to see my life as a series of photo opportunities. It feels WEIRD to hike and not record. WEIRD not to tell the world what song I’m listening to. WEIRD not to snap photos and videos along the path.

Even bike riding, I tend to take photos when I stop.

LA bike path - yellow flowers and trees one side, hard concrete and power lines on the other

I took this on one of our bike rides on the LA River bike path. I liked the juxtaposition of the flowers and the industrial here.

I used to just rest, drink water, and enjoy the feelings of the day.

Appreciate the Opportunities

Ok, I began this blog post to think about being forced to live without WIFI. But I’m starting to see the opportunity in leaving my technology at home. It might be time to savor the old fashioned way, and build some memories without documenting them in real time. Maybe writing or recording later would add nostalgia as well as letting me share time with my family more fully, as it happens.

I’ll be away from the web site and most social media until late next week, but I will reply to questions and comments when I return.
Comments box:

16 thoughts on “Going Unplugged and Appreciating Moments

  1. Dawny

    I hope you have a happy FANTABULOUS time dear Laurie, you deserve the BEST =-)

    Im so thankful and appreciative of you and all you do

    you’ll be soooo close to me.. lol.. i’ll relish in the thought lol

    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Yep, I thought of you often this trip, and hope that next time interested Washingtonians can get together – for a day of fun- maybe Northwest Trek or something like that. I’ll check in with you guys next time I plan my trip home to see if it’s feasible. xoxoxoxox

  2. Stéfanie

    Take care on your family trip!
    Be aware of the withdrawal symptoms, like irritability. I know I have them when I am far from wifi for a while….
    I am a little out of the loop lately. I should write a little more on here but my attention span is lessen lately. As you know I am dealing with my own food struggles and my mood is so-so. I know I shouldn’t isolate but it’s the only thing I feel like doing. It will pass, as it always does. Xx

    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      I know this was written days and days ago Mon Amie, but I’m hoping you are feeling better and have forgiven yourself for any “non perfection” you may perceive. I know what you mean about attention span. I think, like overtraining, over communication online can rob us of focus and energy. I’m learning that myself and trying to balance it with my ‘offline life’ better. I love how we BCs have connected via technology, and feel our explorations, camaraderie, and our willingness to share our true feelings are all positive. But when it starts to overshadow (for me anyway) keeping my house tolerably clean, making time to see friends in life, from singing practice, from paying attention to my relationship with Mark, then I have to wonder what I’m not wanting to face. That’s what I’m learning. Just as I can eat one cookie for flavor and enjoyment OR I can gobble an entire box for stress or denial, I can use technology and social media to enhance my life by making connections, or I can use social media as a distraction or another measure to beat myself up with when I don’t meet my own expectations. Trying to get better. I see some all or nothing thinking around this topic for me, and I am working through it. Thanks for stopping by, especially on a day you didn’t feel like it. It makes me feel so supported. I’m glad this media let me connect with you Mon Amie xoxoxoxoxoxox

  3. Cheryl

    I sit and watch kids snapping one picture after another and sometimes wonder if they will ever wake up and wonder where their life went. While they’re putting it on hold to pose for those selfies, they’re not making eye contact with their friends or hearing what they’re saying. To me it’s a questionable trade off.

    I’ve been reading ChristB’s blog at WP. He is Buddhist and has just come home from being in England staying alone at his mom’s house while she was passing away in a nursing home. (He lives in Australia.) As he described his time there without all the modern distractions I could feel myself relaxing.

    Now sitting here HL tells me he wants to buy these electrical outlet plates for the hallway and other places that have night lights built into the bottom of them so they shine down on the floor. My first reaction was, Gawd! More little lights at night. They all drive me crazy. Even something tiny like that.

    I’m all for giving up my techy devices for a week just to see if my bloomin’ blood pressure goes down.

    I hope you’ll use this time to be fully present, as you said, with your family. Don’t miss any of it because you’re a very different person since you were home last. I will be waiting to see how things go. Better or worse…

    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      I hope you’ll use this time to be fully present, as you said, with your family. Don’t miss any of it because you’re a very different person since you were home last. I will be waiting to see how things go. Better or worse…

      This was a VERY encouraging thought for me as I took off to visit my family and friends back home. Thanks so much for it. I was very glad I limited my social media and computer time in Washington. It was helpful and let me connect both with my own feelings and with those I went to see. I’ll talk about it on Day 103 once I can get the opportunity to record. Today, priority one was replying to comments and emails and reconnecting with you BCs in writing. I’ll see if I have time after therapy today to record. Maybe. But even though I feel a bit of pressure from myself, I’m letting it go. The show is part of my life, it isn’t the main priority of my life. As such, I need to be balanced in my thoughts and my work with it. Hard one, that. Maybe people pleasing is on the way out. 😉

  4. Cassie

    I am finding it very hard to remember “The time before my devices”. I used to be able to sit and read a paper book all day, or walk and work out without listening to podcasts or Audible books. I think I do it now to drown out the voice in my head that tells me I’m not young enough, skinny enough, good enough. Which is the lesser of the evils? I can’t tell my inner critic to shut the “F” up if I keep sticking technology in my ears and saying…la la la… I can’t heeear you.
    Hugs and more hugs for giving me another nut to crack. I can’t tell you how much $$ I think you’re insightful thoughts are saving me on therapy, Laurie.

    1. Cheryl

      Oh, I do so like that imagery of putting fingers in ears. Isn’t that JUST the way it feels.

      “I think I do it now to drown out the voice in my head…” That happened for me even before devices. I used to try and drown out those voices by reading every diet book that came along. At least while I was reading, that part of me would shut up. What she needed was a smack in the mouth!

    2. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      I think I do it now to drown out the voice in my head that tells me I’m not young enough, skinny enough, good enough. Which is the lesser of the evils? I can’t tell my inner critic to shut the “F” up if I keep sticking technology in my ears and saying…la la la… I can’t heeear you.

      Cassie, you are SOOoooo eloquent here! This is my issue exactly, I try to distract myself in any way I can from those negative voices and feelings. Food was but my primary method. I have others. Right now, junk TV is my go to, and social media can be a distraction too. I also have to force myself to hike without music at times. The soundtrack of my life keeps my thoughts at bay some times. Other times music helps me process. I think that what brings positive feelings is good. If we need a short break and choose watching a silly show or to surf the web to do this, it’s all good. If we find ourselves lost and come out of a “trance” wondering where the time has gone, not so good. It is becoming tough for me as I identify these distraction behaviors one by one, because that makes it more apparent that dealing with these voices, thoughts and feelings are needed for me to move ahead with building an authentic life based on what’s important to me vs. me running from my life. Kind of the approach of running toward something vs. away. Brava for reaching out here and sharing your feelings. That is opposite of a “la la la la” moment. It is brave. xoxoxoxoxoxox

      1. Cassie

        Thank you! You’ve been missed. I’m so impressed and awed by your ability to step outside your comfort zone and reveal yourself for any of us who may still be big sissies, and afraid to be our authentic selves in the world. You are much appreciated for your thought provoking, insightful comments. Are there pictures of the new hairdos on Instagram? As a stylist, I’m always curious.

        1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

          Sorry I didn’t take a photo when it was first blown out and looking sharp. Pretty much a touch-up this time of my usual. Lani, my stylist cut my bangs WAY to short for me. I love to pull them back, SHE loves me to have them ala Jennifer Aniston. I admit it looks nice, but I HATE BANGS IN MY FACE! So I posted a pic from today for you on IG with the hated hairband on it. Can’t really judge a style when the customer just won’t cooperate 😉

  5. Dawny

    I veered away from the books/listens quite a bit. I still have a couple few faves tho. I have a lot of traffic ‘coulda/shoulda/woulda’ noise in my head BLEH I totally relate and understand.

    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Yep, unplugged felt weird, but I realized being connected via technology IS a distracting behavior for me at times. Right now, I’m using the blog to connect. Sometimes I use social media to feel inspired or to learn something new, such as voice acting technique, but when I find myself comparing my life to others’ or mindlessly clicking links I know it is a binge just like I did with food before. It’s interesting for me now to notice ALL of the coping and distance behaviors I have cultivated. Hang in there gal! xoxoxox


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