Back before Thanksgiving, I wrote a piece detailing how I needed a break, just one single day of no Internet, no phone, no computer and as close to no technology as I could possibly get. The plan was to turn my phones off prior to midnight the day before Thanksgiving and not touch them until the same time the next night.
I was determined to follow through. I wanted a break, even if it meant I couldn't look up the answers to everything ever on demand. I wanted a day without notifications, a day of silence. And I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.
Realistically, I could. I can.
But as much as I want to disconnect in favor of paying more attention to my friends and family on such important and limited days spent together, it isn't logical – at least not a full disconnect. And, in case my Thanksgiving tweets didn't give it away, my phones and tablets stayed on for the entirety of Thanksgiving day.
Aside from my mother, who lives in the same region of North Carolina as I do, my closest family member is an hour and a half away. It's not a terribly long trip – I make it quite regularly. But when I ponder a total disconnect, several thoughts plague my mind. "What if I'm in an accident on my way to visit? What if someone else is in an accident and they need to get in touch with me?" I also worry about work and whether the boss man might send me an email.
I love the silence and time away from the Internet just as much as I love being here, writing and interacting with readers. But time away is eerie; it instills a gut-wrenching feeling of what if.
That's why I'm not even going to try to disconnect next week. I will spend the second half of Christmas Eve with my family and all of Christmas Day hanging out, eating, watching movies and other shenanigans. But I'm not leaving my smartphones behind. They will be right there with me, either in my hands or pockets.
It's not worth the hassle, and it's not worth trying to avoid considering it's all my family will likely talk about with me. "Are there cases available for my phone? Does it have an update? How do I update it? What apps should I download?" The usual.
If my family isn't worried about disconnecting, why should I be? Perhaps we can play Letterpress or Words With Friends with one another from across the room. Or maybe we'll tweet each other at the dinner table. (I kid. I kid.)
But as long as my family grows more and more tech savvy and as long as I'm conscious of my mobile activity and it doesn't get in the way of family time, staying connected will be a non-issue. Rather than just thinking about checking my phone and all the missed notifications, I can just check. Chances are, no one will know the difference since their noses will probably be buried in their own phone, too.
Will you or your family be disconnecting for the holidays ahead? Or will you stay connected together? Will you all be tweeting and sending your family photos to Instagram or Facebook?