Yesterday I took advice from the #30DaysWild newsletter and participated in #GoGadgetFree. I don't have an iPhone or any gadgets like that, but I pretty much live on my PC. I work on it, I game, I manage my shop, I waste time; pretty much everything I do is computer-based, and when I'm not on the computer, I'm using a games console either to - you guessed it - play games or watch DVDs, usually as background noise while filling orders from my shop.
So on one hand, with no smartphone and no internet on my laptop, leaving the house ultimately means leaving everything behind, but on the other hand, I still have a lot to do in prep for my exhibit, my Mutiple Sclerosis charity raffle that starts on Wednesday, planning for my next book and so on that leaving the house isn't much of an option at this point, even on weekends when it's not fully my responsibility to look after my mum anymore.
But I did it. I stepped away from the PC (even despite World of Warcraft's recent patch), I left my shop, and aside from anything that could be done on paper, I left my book, too. I watched no TV, no music, nothing. I just sat down with my watercolour paints and put a little more work into the raffle, I wrote out and developed ideas for my next book, I even replaced Ripped In 30 with some strength and HIIT workouts from magazines, which, I admit, were far less fun without music.
I have tried things like this before and never has it gone this well. Yes, I did feel like I was missing out. I get extra exercise by running up and down the stairs to check on the PC - checking messages, sales, double-checking orders and researching things - and a number of times I dashed to the PC only to find it switched off. So I wrote down everything I wanted to look up so I could do it this morning instead and then returned to what I was doing.
And for the most part I did enjoy it, but I think it was, in part, because not using gadgets is novel now, rather than the other way around. And while that is sad, it's the way the world works. I like my background noise while I work, even if it's just Stargate which I've seen a thousand times - I spend my time while that's on shouting at Jackson, until about season 6 when he suddenly develops a sense of humour and, from season 8 onwards, shouting at Colonel Mitchell instead. Or Avatar when I shout at Katara or Korra depending on which Avatar I'm watching.
And I like having the internet immediately on hand to look up anything I might need to know whenever I need to know it (no iPhone, but, like I said, I'm at home all the time). For example, the square bits on top of castle walls are called merlons. If not for the internet I think that is a fact that would have niggled at and eluded me for a very long time because, unless you know exactly where to look or the librarian happens to have knowledge on such things, finding that kind of information would have been a real trial.
And, let's face it, I like video games. I like to throw the world away and step into a new one, even if in one world people salute me and in others they spit at me. Because it's harmless fun that allows you to either switch off your brain or increase its activity depending on what you choose to do, and I love it - as long as there's some element of fantasy or science fiction!
If you didn't #GoGadgetFree this weekend, try it soon. It's summer so there's plenty to do outside to get into nature and have fun without technology! Take a day to become more aware of the world around you. Even if it doesn't stretch beyond a family picnic in your back garden.