As a kid, I was lucky to live close to my grandparents. Every afternoon I looked forward to riding home in my grandpa’s truck, and I owe my embroidery skills to my grandma. They lived simply, and our relationship had a serious impact on the way I live now. When I first began planning what life on my own would be like, I knew a few things for sure.
1. There would be a cat involved, somehow, named Meatloaf. I’m not really sure why – I never
had meatloaf as a kid, and I only know one Meat Loaf song.
2. I would live far enough away from my parents that visiting them would feel like a fun trip,
but not so far away that I couldn’t come over with laundry when I’m running low on
3. There would be no TV. Ditto Internet.
So far, I’ve accomplished two of the three. Spoiler alert: I still don’t have a fuzzy little Meatloaf running around! But I don’t have the Internet, and I don’t have TV…and I love it. Here’s why–I spend all day on a college campus, running back and forth between an office, some classrooms, and a tutoring center. I’m in constant contact with students working on papers, I’m always doing research, and I can almost always feel the buzz of technology around me when I’m there. At home, it’s a different story. There’s no urgency, there are no deadlines. I feel free to do the things I love, like make collages and listen to jazz. I call it my Lo-Fi lifestyle, and it’s pretty easy to do! Here are a few ways to get the feeling without totally pulling the plug on technology.
1. Set a cut-off time for work. Many of us work from home, and it can be hard to set boundaries. Even more of us work someplace else and come home to do more work! Give yourself business hours, and stick to them; once you hit closing time, give your brain a rest!
2. Unplug the television. Seriously. Give yourself a challenge by committing to at least one week of no television. Try going for a walk instead, or visit your local library. Getting out into the world around you is often as entertaining – you just have to put yourself out there.
3. Host a dinner party and invite guests to provide entertainment. You know those old-timey, Jane Austen-esque movies, where men and women would sing or recite poetry or verse they’d written? Well, invite your friends over, have them bring along a favorite book or piece of music, and have them perform! I’ve had friends act out parts of television shows I haven’t seen–it’s always a hoot! Plus, it invites people to make themselves a little vulnerable, which makes relationships stronger.
4. Choose one day out of the week to avoid the Internet. It sounds hard, I know. It is! Or at least, it was at first. The nice thing about avoiding the Internet for a little while is that it gives you the chance to encounter information in new ways. Turn on the radio or ask a friend to tell you what’s new in the world while you share a cup of tea. The nice thing about the Internet is that it doesn’t mind a little alone time!
5. Buy a typewriter – and use it. This one sounds goofy, but I mean it. Typewriters are almost always available at a local thrift shop, and ribbons – if you need them replaced – are an easy find on eBay. Try your hand at a little cheesy poetry, or write letters to your sister. Joining the snail mail revolution is an added bonus to this step. Everyone loves to get a letter, and maybe you’ll get one in return! At the very least, you’ll hone some typing skills.
Tuning into the frequency of the world around us – the one beyond our smartphones and our laptops – is important. It’s a way to check in with ourselves, to see how we’re living and what might need a tweak or two. It might not be a round-the-clock choice for everyone, but it’s good in small doses, too. Kind of like Meat Loaf.
What are you favorite ways to unplug?
Related: 6 Ways to Create a Work Sanctuary
Get more like this—Subscribe to our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!
Photo: Kristin Kaz