I was extremely lucky to spend Thanksgiving with my parents this year. With my husband deployed, it’s been a rough year and it was a much needed trip to my childhood home. After work on Wednesday, I started the two-hour trek from Manhattan to the Newark airport, pushing through hundreds of people with duffelbags and rolling luggage on the street and train stations. I decided to take public transportation, which proved to be a bit of a challenge, but needless to say, I made it to my gate on time!
Throughout my journey, I saw families gathered around together, but glued to their mobile devices or tablets. As we were waiting for our trains to arrive, we’re all complete oblivious to each other and even within each family, people weren’t interacting. People’s obsession with their electronic devices didn’t stop as I was waiting at the airport. Electronic charging stations were scattered along the concourses and people flocked around them like vultures- as one person left the station, another person swooped in and took their place.
I’m just as guilty. I Facebooked when I got to the airport, proclaiming that I finally arrived and am excited to go home. And of course, I flocked to a charging station to charge my phone, to guarantee I’d have enough juice to last my 4-hour plane ride.
There is nothing wrong with being connected. It really helps with communicating altogether for me, especially with my husband overseas and my family more than a thousand miles away. With that said, time with my parents in person is so precious because of the distance – and now that it’s confirmed that my husband and I will be stationed in Virginia, I’m still going to be far! When I finally arrived in my hometown and hugged them, I made sure to step away from my phone as much as possible.
The next day was Thanksgiving. We spent the morning together and then walked around the town before we ate dinner. I was just with my parents, laughing, enjoying their company and talking about life. I didn’t spend more than one minute on Facebook, just enough to share a photo taken of my family to greet my friends a very happy Thanksgiving. Also, I didn’t check my email at all the whole weekend (which yielded hundreds for me to look at on Monday, but SO worth it).
It was a perfect weekend away from the Internet, work and reality. I only charged my phone once in the whole weekend (I know, shocking!). I can’t tell you how refreshed I feel now and I’m very much looking forward to my next “socially silent night” or day unplugged with family and friends!
Now that the holidays are in full swing, I suggest dedicating some time away from the Internet to spend the time with loved ones! It’s a very liberating experience!