It has been a few weeks since a few of my friends and I left Vancouver Island for a weekend away, a weekend where we spent much of our time “off the grid”. There were definitely moments when wanting my phone to connect to a network, any network, drove my thoughts. These thoughts, often were fleeting, lasting no longer than a minute or so. It was a weekend I will treasure for many years to come, for many reasons beyond living off the grid. You can actually read a little bit about this specific weekend over at hermit mode.
I anticipated that over these past weeks, since that wonderful weekend, that my desire and yearning to live off the grid would fade. The opposite in fact has happened. I find myself wanting to solely escape to nature on a more regular basis, to spend time with my own thoughts and admiring the beauty that mother nature offers us.
I find myself wanting to turn my mobile phone off and ignoring my emails. I also had the urge to disconnect my television and cable, until a friend told me about a netflix series that would be of interest to me. So, now, after days of pondering and on the day when many are seeking to connect with their loved ones to celebrate Valentine’s Day, I am seeking ways to stay connected to a few and temporarily disconnect from others.
Disconnecting is not about running away from friendships, ending connections, nor disengaging with the cyber world for an extended period of time. While it may appear that way initially, “hiding on the grid” is about focusing on my research, dedicating time to completing the projects I have committed myself too, processing, evaluating and redefining different components of my world, and looking inwards as I become witness to my daily growth, focus on moving from a state of health to healthy, and playing outside a little more.
The question I am ultimately left with, is where do I draw the line. Do I simply take on the position that some peoples, without being malice, messages are not responded to immediately? Do I become even more picky about the people I spend quality time with? Do I structure the amount of time I am willing to spend responding to emails that are not volunteer or career driven? Is it fair to pick who, what, where, and when I want to be “on the grid” and when I want to “hide”? What about those friends that do not read this post and understand my stance, do I risk losing friendships in hopes that my own health (mental, emotional, spiritual primarily) improves during this experiment? Can I actually hide on the grid or has society created a complex entanglement that leaves each of us wildly exposed, on the grid at all times, and easily searchable?
I have no definite answers to any of the questions above or those unshared questions that accompany these questions. What I do know is that I am ready to try this experiment. I am ready to delay messages to others, to connect when it feels right for me, and to focus inward and on my research and health. With a little selfish time, a lot of academic drive, and the risk of losing connections, this may be the perfect day to put such a practice into place. Bare with me, if you choose.