Last month I took a break from a lot of the technology that I use every day as a writer and as someone who loves technology as much as the next guy or gal. During that time I kept a journal of how things were going. I thought you might find some of my observations interesting. I’ve kept this very brief and as you read it you’ll get an idea of what a 30-day digital detox can feel like. Again, this is a very personal experience, you someone else’s might be completely different.
I’ve enjoyed my first technology free day. I haven’t missed anything other than my favorite computer game, which, for some reason, I have wanted to play several times today. I’ve noticed I’m more talkative with my family. I did have to send one text canceling an appointment tomorrow.
I finished the book, A River in the Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea. It only took me 3 days of reading it aloud to my husband during “downtime.” Reading aloud has taken the place of Netflix before bed. He has remarked that he is really enjoying me reading to him. He always has, but he’s surprised that it’s taken the sting out of missing our nightly Netflix routine. I’m also reading, The Girl with the Pearl Earring on my own.
As originally planned, we’ve been watching one show/night on Netflix. Dan, of course, chose NCIS (his favorite). This morning, we were rehashing a major plot twist/cliffhanger that happened in last night’s episode. It was a lot of fun to consider different possibilities. We don’t normally do that. I think not jumping to the next show right away has allowed what we’ve seen to rattle around in our brains a while longer.
Last night, my husband wasn’t feeling very well. He cashed in a coupon for a “Netflix Marathon” (3 shows). I woke up a little early so we could drop the van off at the mechanic. I’m exhausted! I cheated once today and did an internet search to see how long it should take for Dan’s antibiotic to work. I got my answer without having to go to more than one site. Then I searched for information on lung masses and again found what I needed on one site. I’ve been very productive during the past few days. I’m concerned about tomorrow’s scan results.
After getting news that my husband’s cancer was progressing, again, I broke the rules and looked up the new chemotherapy online. I only looked at 2 sites, one for each drug. I think that was great restraint, though I would have liked to look up more information, I know the site I checked is the best and any further investigation is unnecessary. He wasn’t feeling well. He felt bad about missing his prayer meeting. We watched our Netflix shows again, much to his glee. I’ve been having a hard time concentrating with all of this going on. Still, I got a lot done today, considering.
I decided that a daily journal for this wasn’t necessary. Instead, I’ll check in every few days with my observations. Until this morning, I have been doing a lot of deep work. I have the book Facing Cancer as a Parent ready to be formatted and then, read by a few select readers. I think part of my problem this morning is the depression I feel at the moment due to Dan’s worsening health. It didn’t help that I just finished editing the section about dealing with death in the book.
Speaking of books, I finished reading Red Chips of Paint to Dan and we are now starting a new series.
By far, the thing I have missed most during this time is my video game. This is especially true when I am having a difficult day with my kids or with my husband’s cancer and I just want to escape. My video game is the best escape I can think of. I know that escapism isn’t necessarily a healthy way to deal with your problems, but the fact remains, I miss my video game. Yet I have not succumbed to the temptation.
I have however given in to my husband and we have been watching 2 shows each night rather than the originally agreed upon one show. I think two is where I’ll keep it after the experiment is done, too. We completed reading another book together and I’ve read two more on my own. I am also ready to send my book on parenting with cancer to my beta readers.
I’ve noticed that I have gotten a little sloppy in some of my digital “guidelines.” A couple of times, I have looked something up and have found myself quickly distracted. I have also checked my email today more than I wanted—maybe 5 times rather than the 2 I had vowed to stick to. The email thing was work-related, so it is legitimate (but it was also unnecessary).
I will be glad when the month is done and I can play my video game. Out of everything I have minimized or given up completely, that is the one thing I miss to the core. I think I will continue to check my email as little as possible. I will minimize social media as well. I feel far more peaceful since giving that up. Though I’m certain my blog stats have taken a hit. It’s especially bad for my new site, Facing Cancer with Grace.
I gave up a day early. I got an email telling me that Dan is featured in a Facebook ad for the drug he’s been on for 2 years. We’ve been waiting for quite some time to see the fruits of our trip to Virginia, so I had to take a peek. Once I did, it was all downhill. All, except for my video game. How’s that for irony? The thing I missed the most is the one thing I didn’t fudge on. Even with some blurring of the lines, I feel very good about how this month went. I’ve learned many ways to manage technology better than I had been, previously. I’ve read a ton of books! I should tally them up. I have become more engaged in eliminating multi-tasking. It’s been a great learning process.
What are YOUR thoughts?
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I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.
My book Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, is available at Amazon.com.
I also blog about living with cancer at, Facing Cancer with Grace.