Could You Unplug for 24 Hours?

Could You Unplug for 24 Hours?
Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/

Could you unplug for 24 hours? No, this is not a rhetorical question. I’m completely serious.

A few days ago, my friend Anthony posted a story from Fox Chicago¬†about something called the National Day of Unplugging. Without knowing anymore than it meant taking a pledge to turn off all electronic devices for 24-hours from sundown on Friday, March 7th through sundown on Saturday, March 8th, I said “Sign me up!”

No. I had not thought about what that really means. In fact, my initial thought was that it simply meant not using my cell phone for 24 hours. Simple, I thought. I can do that. I’ve got iMessages on my laptop to stay in touch with my friends on iPhones and I can communicate with my mom via Facebook. No. Big. Deal.

It wasn’t until a day later when I realized that the National Day of Unplugging is about more than just my cell phone. It’s about my iPhone, my laptop, and iPod. Clearly, I hadn’t fully thought about what I’d gotten myself into.

The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized this made sense and I felt more committed to taking this 24-hour pledge. The National Day of Unplugging comes from The Sabbath Manifesto which is derived from the ancient practice of reserving one day per week to rest, relax, spend time with loved ones, reflect, and worship. My familiarity with this concept comes from The Book of Genesis and the Ten Commandments found in Exodus. I have friends who do this every week and I really admire the commitment they’ve made to this practice.

I’ve talked about the National Day of Unplugging to some friends this week and without hesitation, the reaction is the same: “But you don’t have a landline phone. How will you go completely offline? What if there’s an emergency?” Again, I hadn’t thought about this, but I found there is a very simple solution. Actually, there are two simple solutions.

First, my iPhone has a nifty feature called “Do Not Disturb.” It can be found in Settings. Do Not Disturb turns off all notifications during hours I set every day. I currently use it from 10:00 p.m. through 6:30a.m. daily, but today I’ll turn it on just before sundown and turn it off just after sundown tomorrow. When using Do Not Disturb, I can choose to receive call notifications from my Favorites, which includes a couple of members of my immediate family and my inner circle of friends. Yes, I know that I have three immediate family members and I’m going to enjoy letting them figure out which two are in my favorites and who didn’t make the cut. If there’s a true emergency, I will be able to be reached.

Second, for the 24 hours starting at dusk today, my brother Dave is in charge of all emergencies. I’m confident that he’ll be just fine and able to handle anything that comes his way.

So how will I spend the next 24 hours? That’s easy:

  • I’m going to do laundry
  • I’ll give Sammy and Zoey some extra love
  • I’m going to try oil pulling (New Experience #192)
  • I may read a book
  • I’ll probably do some spring cleaning at my house
  • If I get the spring cleaning done, I’ll put together my futon (New Experience #138)
  • I’m going to sleep for 8 hours
  • I may swim

It’s only 24 hours, so I don’t want to be too ambitious with how I’ll spend my time.

I’ll be back on Saturday night or Sunday morning to let you know how I survived. And if you don’t hear from me by Sunday afternoon, please send a rescue party.

Will you join me for the National Day of Unplugging? What could you do if you did?

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    Jessica Gardner

    A native of Chicago's Northwest Suburbs and resident of the North Shore, Little Merry Sunshine comes by her name honestly. The story goes that as a child, she was always so happy that she even slept with a smile on her face. Her mom nicknamed her Little Merry Sunshine. It stuck, along with her insatiable desire to focus on the good in the world and to leave it a little better than she found it. She does this by sharing her passions and dreams, what inspires her, and maybe you too, and furthering the discussion about how we can listen to our better angels. You can reach her at LittleMerrySunshineCN[at]WowWay[dot]com.

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