It’s Sunday and I just finished making pancakes for 4 pre-teen girls after a sleepover. All of you who know anything about me know that my kitchen in a no-phone zone.
So, it was no surprise that those 4 girls sat around the table in silence until I prompted a conversation. “How many aunts and uncles do you have and where do they live?”
Sure enough within a couple of seconds everyone was telling me about their families. That’s cool! At about 7pm last night the winds kicked up in Anthem and the power at my house went out. Again, 4 girls lost in the idea that their phones might die... Who had 50% - 18% - 30% and so on. They were basing the fun of the rest of the night on how long their phones would last. We lit a bunch of candles and turned on a few flash lights and silence...
At this point I am thinking I have to get a conversation started and so “Would you rather?” was started. In just a few minutes girls were giggling and answering silly questions. It was a lot of fun getting to know my daughters friends and a reminder of the power of living without technology. Not only did we not have technology we didn’t have electricity. It brought back memories of my own childhood and blackouts during hurricanes. I remember it was always exciting and kind of spooky as a kid when the power went out. They were fun times!
I spoke about this to some degree at Skip Cohen University Summer Session last week.
I think it’s important to take a break from technology and reconnect with people face to face. It was actually one of the best parts of being at Summer Session. Meeting people, having lunch, exchanging ideas, laughing together, taking candid pictures together and just getting know new friends.
Let this be a reminded to make an effort to disconnect a little bit each day, to have a space in your home that is “tech free”. We all want balance in life but we fail to have balance with these handheld computers that connect us with the world in an instant.
For me being balanced means quiet time. I know what you are thinking.... “the woman who runs at 100 miles an hour needs quiet time?” After teaching for three days I generally get home and shut down a little bit. Like everyone else I need to recharge my batteries. Growing up an only child I actually crave and want alone time.
Balance is a decision - it just doesn’t happen. People who live balanced lives work at it. Balance is planned and scheduled. Make a certain amount of time for email, social media, internet browsing and then turn it off. Make time to have uninterrupted dinner with your family - even if it can only happen one of two nights a week. Schedule weekends off to do fun things. Set aside time for work, play, relaxation, friends and family. Have another hobby or interest besides photography. I am a personal trainer because I love the gym and working out. Training a few mornings a week helps to keep me balanced and connected with people. Like the rest of the world I get unbalanced but I have techniques in place to help re-balance myself.
I traveled a lot this summer and feel way out of balance now... Time with my husband and family was limited, gym time was cut, my normal clean healthy eating was out the window and so today I’m planing how I will spend the next couple of weeks getting back in balance. Back to my normal workout schedule, cooking whole foods, running, yoga reading books, spending time with my family and friends and getting back to work. Create your own balance plan - try it for a couple of weeks and see if you feel better. I willing to bet you will.
In closing I want to say what an incredible experience Summer Session in Chicago was.
If you were there you know that on the last morning no one wanted to leave. Everyone stayed in their seats and just wanted more. I saw tears in the eyes of the attendees as they hugged and said their goodbyes. That right there is balance and connection.
Here is a fun little collage of this past week in Chicago at Skip Cohen University.