From Where I Sit – Unplug

In the coming days we all face a crucial decision: how to celebrate March 7th this year? A quick Google search gives us a few solid options. Carnivores may choose to celebrate National Crown Roast of Pork Day (yes, really) with homage to the other white meat.

Corporate types may look for special events to mark either Employee Appreciation Day or Salesperson Day. Celebrations will be held Friday. Or ignored altogether.

In case none of these ideas grab you or apply to you there is one more option. It’s way harder to do than pop a piece of meat in the oven. But the payoff should be infinitely more satisfying than even the tastiest protein to a hungry man.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take the Unplug Pledge to become part of the National Day of Unplugging project. Beginning at sundown on March 7th and ending at sundown March 8th it is a twenty-four hour technology fast.

A quick look at the website shows what countless have chosen to do when they forsake the seductive but crippling hold of technology on our lives. There are the expected R words: renew, reflect, reconnect, read, and relax. Still others want to explore NYC, knit, cook, sing, sleep, hike, or bike. The genius of this idea is that we can each fill out our own ending: I unplug to __________.

Who among us hasn’t fallen into the trap of checking and sending emails, surfing the net, texting or playing games on our phones at all times of the day and night every single day of the week? How much of our new vocabulary centres on words that either didn’t previously exist or meant something totally different? Tweet, post, blog, hashtag, friend, like, instagram, and follow are just some. Today the blue light of our devices is a factor in the growing insomnia epidemic.

This initiative is tied to the Sabbath Manifesto, which harkens back to the “olden days” when our parents and grandparents kept the Sabbath holy by refraining from work. It was a day for worship, family, and friends?a day of rest.

The blurring of work and play is creating no shortage of problems. Not least among them is the false sense of connection we labour under. Many people cannot hold up their end of a face-to-face conversation if you paid them. The numbers of inarticulate people, who can’t explain a concept, defend an idea or tell a simple story is scary. Or the idea that we’ve got friends we could actually call on when more than a “Like” is needed. Hah.

So the gauntlet has been dropped. Are you and I willing and able to unplug for twenty-four hours? To power off our phones, iPads, laptops, and iPods and look up to see the world of possibilities out there? I’m going to try. Because pork never was my favourite meat, from where I sit.

Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.