Thanksgiving, November 22, is one week away tomorrow, and it can't get here soon enough.
All month long, my Facebook News Feed has been filled with the various things all my friends and family are thankful for. I could list all the things I'm thankful for, too, but it would be a long, boring list of all the mundane things I'm happy to have in my life. But this Thanksgiving, there is one thing I couldn't be more thankful for: Thanksgiving Day, a day I plan to turn off all my phones and tablets for a full 24 hours.
Don't get me wrong, I'm ready for turkey, stuffing, beets and all the other seasonal foods. And I'm excited to kick back with some close friends and family, share stories, play games and relax.
In years past, I have taken all of this for granted, viewed it as time that I could spend elsewhere doing other things that I enjoy. I imagine most of that is because I have always spent a lot of time around my family – every Sunday was essentially Thanksgiving when I was growing up.
A few years ago, though, I moved out and away to a new city and an extremely busy lifestyle. C'est la vie, right?
Yet now I couldn't be more grateful or thankful when I get the time to spend with my family or friends without the constant pressure and stress of work. I love the work I do – I couldn't imagine a better, more exciting or more enjoyable position to be in, professionally. Seriously, those of you who comment on, read and follow my work make make it some of the most enjoyable work possible, and much of the time it doesn't even feel like work.
But I am to the point where I spend most of every day behind a computer or staring into a smartphone or tablet display, looking up things, reading, tweeting, looking at Facebook or watching some sort of YouTube video. Even my free time has become filled with reading comments on my own articles, looking for new things to write and thinking about phones. And the time I do get to spend with my family and friends usually turns into me checking my phone, answering their questions about various tech-related things or fixing their computers.
Everyone needs a break at some point or another, and I try to fully disconnect each and every weekend … to no avail. I have to keep my phone around in the event someone needs me or the boss emails me something important for Monday – especially for an upcoming flight or trip. And, I get out and do more fun stuff on the weekends, which means I'm probably using my phone to look up information about wherever I am and what I'm doing – looking up movie times, restaurants, bars or something to that effect.
Weekend disconnects have become a pipe dream. And I'm okay with that. I cope by simply cutting my weekend phone usage to the bare minimum.
That said, I need a total disconnect. If only for one day, I want 24 full hours without the Internet, without a single phone or tablet. I want a full day with no tweeting, no Facebook, no text messaging and no calling, only face-to-face communication and the chance to soak up all the bits of life I've come to take for granted over years of having my face glued to a display 24/7.
It's not going to be easy. As usual, I know everyone will ask me which phone they should buy or some arbitrary technology questions. And, innately, I will even be thinking about reaching for my phone every few minutes, which is just as bad as actually using my phone and sort of defeats the purpose. But I'm determined to do it, to go a full day with no Internet or phone, which will make the first time in as long as I can remember that I will go a day without being connected or, likewise, without a phone.
Either way, I look forward to it. And I can't wait for just one day away from everything online.
Will you, too, be disconnecting next week for Thanksgiving? What about other festivities this holiday season? Will you go for a full-on disconnect, leaving your phone stowed away somewhere? Or will you take it more lightly, just curbing your usage in favor of family time?