Word and Rhyme

Fiction Poetry Life

Scheduled Outage

pause_medium_3768714237In his poem So We’ll Go No More A Roving, Lord Byron (George Gordon) writes about the end of wandering about late into the night, “Though the heart be still as loving, And the moon be still as bright.” Byron is talking about how age brings on weariness. He was only twenty-nine, hardly worn out. But his letter to Thomas Moore, in which the poem appears, indicates he had been overindulging in the Venetian high life. Too much alcohol and too many women had taken a toll.

Modern Day Weariness

Today, whether we are twenty-nine or seventy-nine, we can probably relate to Byron’s great fatigue. Modern weariness, however, is often brought on by too much to do in too little time. Life in the twenty-first century moves at warp speed, giving us little space or room to breathe. On top of that, we are endlessly bombarded with information, information, information. Constantly staring into the screens of computers, cell phones, tablets and televisions, whether for work or during our down time, can lead to exhaustion.

My day job calls for sitting at the computer eight or nine hours straight. By the end of a workday, I’m sure I should give my eyes a rest from bright electronic displays, but I usually spend a good amount of time on my tablet or catching up on old Star Trek episodes with my husband. I used to read a lot more. Part of the reason for starting this blog and giving myself the task of writing regularly is to get back to those early loves of reading and writing. My husband has been extremely encouraging in this, even though it means I may not find out what happened to Captain Archer and his crew for many months to come.

Unplug to Unwind

In the poem, Byron writes about the sword outwearing its sheath: in other words, the steady and imminent approach of death. Clearly, he felt prematurely old. In the same way, are we hastening wrinkles, aching bones and a deflated mind through our overuse of electronics? Would we be doing our minds and bodies a favor by unplugging once in a while? As Byron put it, “the heart must pause to breathe.”

(Of course, if you all unplugged for good, I’d have no readership. So don’t unplug forever.)

Unlike “going off the grid,” unplugging is not a permanent state. It’s just a break, a mini vacation if you will. For an afternoon, a weekend, or each evening for a week (of even a month), put the smartphone and tablet in Do Not Disturb mode, disconnect your computer from the internet and turn off your smart television.

Without the distraction of electronic devices, you could find you have some extra time on your hands. And that might be a little scary. When’s the last time you had extra time? What can you possibly do with those spare hours? Here are a few ideas:

  • Spend time with loved ones.
  • Take a long, refreshing walk.
  • Try a new wine or bourbon and really savor it.
  • Attempt a new recipe.
  • Have an in-depth conversation with your kids.
  • Catch up on your sleep.
  • Read a good book.

What’s that sound you hear? Your own thoughts. Your own breathing.

A Little Help

Although we know it would be good for us, we may be reluctant to unplug. Well, there’s an app for that! It’s from Sabbath Manifesto. In their own words, “this app allows you to use your iPhone [or Droid] to tell your friends that you’ll be taking some time off from technology to unplug and refocus on what’s important.” It takes Do Not Disturb to the next level. And it’s free.

Modern life depends on being connected, tied as we are to the internet with our online banking and shopping, emailing, social networking and jobs that rely on all of the above. If your schedule just doesn’t allow for unplugging right now, consider putting it on your calendar. The National Day of Unplugging is March 7-8, 2014. You have months to plan for it.

Literature Cited: So We’ll Go No More A Roving
Lord Byron (George Gordon)
Year Published:

photo credit: adrian, acediscovery via photopin

If you’ve unplugged in the past, how did you go about doing it and how did it feel? If you’ve never unplugged, would you be willing to give it a try?


2 comments on “Scheduled Outage

  1. audrey
    December 17, 2013

    Balance is everything. If you could balance the ever-ending demands of technology with our inherent natural gifts like reading, gardening, painting, sewing, visiting one another one-on- one, etc. we could help relieve the weariness of too much “looking at a screen” activity and then perhaps one could compliment the other.

  2. Johanna Chambers
    December 17, 2013

    I agree, in the long run balance is key! If we can’t unplug on a regular basis, maybe we can scale back on the electronics for fifteen minutes here and there and engage in more tactile activities we enjoy, like the ones you mention above.

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