Thursday, December 26, 2013

Techless Ten COMPLETE!

The first (and probably last) ever Techless Ten Challenge here on Aspiring Ashley is now finished!! I cannot tell you how happy I am about that! This has been a very tough and loooooong Ten Days Without Technology.

Before I get into the good stuff, let me apologize for the lack of posts during this challenge. You might be surprised to know that it's very difficult to post by proxy. Especially when you're working opposite hours from your designated poster. Also, my brother works retail, and this challenge happened to fall over the Christmas season madness. He was barely home to rest, let alone do much else. I had given him another post, but it seems he wasn't able to get it up. Sorry about that, readers! If I ever do this again (though that's highly unlikely), I'll make Blogger my one exception so I can post myself.

Going without phone, computer, and TV for ten days is, in fact, just as crazy as it sounds. While maintaing a normal work schedule and Christmas social life, Christmas shopping, and observing early bedtimes, I read the longest Harry Potter book (900 pages) and another normal-length book (190 pages). I also spent a lot of time just sitting on the couch or table and staring into space. I did not, however, get so bored I cleaned. I planned to use some of my free time for cleaning, but my house is super cold, so snuggling under a blanket and going to Hogwarts was a much more alluring activity.

You don't realize how much you use the phone and computer for until you go without them for ten days. The TV part wasn't too bad. Especially since I had the rule that I could watch if invited to join someone, which happened a few nights. But going without my phone and internet was so hard! People would be talking about the latest weather or news or Facebook gossip and I was completely clueless. Can't tell you how many times someone would say, "Did you hear about....oh, wait...."

Didn't know about the whole Target identity theft thing until I had already shopped there twice. Couldn't look up movie times when the family decided we'd all go. Had to get a battery in my old watch, since I usually just use my phone. Same with flashlights and alarm clocks. If I had a question or a fleeting thought, I couldn't just Google it. Didn't know what the weather was going to be for the next day. Had no way of contacting friends if I wanted to tell them something. Had to print a hardcopy of my calendar, since I usually use my phone. Couldn't document the mundane things of life with an artfully edited photo. No TV in the background while I made crafts, just silence.

The biggest complaint was the convenience factor. Staving off boredom with a little powerful device became impossible. While I was sewing Christmas gifts, it was just me and my brain. No entertaining show in the background. Instead of looking up a med real quick on my phone at the medcart, I had to go dig out the actual drug book and hope it was in there. Couldn't text my dad to ask him to bring home ice or whatever on his way home. Nothing to do while on lunch break, or standing in lines. Just me and non-technological means of entertainment.

The second facet of the challenge was the feeling of being disconnected. With my family, I see them every day, so I didn't feel too disconnected there, unless I was out and wanted to ask them something. But not being able to talk to my friends was tough. Not being able to share the events of the day, or something silly that happened that only they would understand is something uncommon in today's world. We're so used to instant communication, to the ability to immediately convey what's happening or what we're thinking with the world, that to take that away is very strange. Especially when you realize that ten years ago, cell phones were just starting to become popular. I didn't even get my first one 'til about nine years ago! Before that, if I was out there was no contacting home, unless I was at a friends house and used their land line (ha, remember those?). Yet today, it's odd if you don't have a cell phone. We're so over connected it's crazy!

Then, there's the whole reason I did this. Not just for bragging rights or so everyone could call me crazy, but to help children on the other side of the world find connection with people who love them. So their voices could be heard and their little hearts can find peace. The Kealey Family is heading to Thailand in approximately one week to work with kids who have been victims of human trafficking, or who are risk of being trafficked. I gave up my connections for ten days to connect this awesome family with these kids. Have you donated yet? If not, click here to make a difference.

I know that I am a bit addicted to my phone and the internet, but I made it through this challenge! Walking away from it, I am going to try to make a more conscious effort to put the technology down more often and focus on the now. In some ways, it was nice to be unplugged. Knowing that if anyone really needed me, they'd find a way to make it happen. Not feeling the need to check out what was happening on Facebook. By the end of the experiment, I had finally stopped having that mini panic attack when I didn't feel my phone in my pocket.

So while I'm glad I did this challenge, I am also so glad it's over! Going without technology for ten days was insanely difficult, but definitely worth it to help fund connection for the kids of ZOE.

This challenge was inspired by Daniel Ryan Day and his new book Ten Days Without, which is now available. I'll be posting the review hopefully tomorrow, definitely over the weekend.

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