I recently spent seven days on a deserted island with just my husband. No children, no family, no friends, no cellphones, no iPhone, no blackberry, no computers, no internet, no TV. No work projects that make us feel guilty that we said we would do but don’t. This is the 6th year we have done this, we try to do it every year but with work and four kids, sometimes we just can’t swing it. We walked, we read, we paddled around in the water, my husband played his guitar. We did some light snorkeling. When we walked, we talked. About our kids – we have four 22,19,14 and 12, all of whom need something different from us. About our jobs – we work together and we work constantly- about our health, about our disappointments and dreams. How we are different today that we were 6 months or a year ago. How we are growing, how we would like to grow. We always have a few epiphanies. This year I realized that I had let my work dictate my schedule and that my health is suffering because of it. Now, some folks don’t have a choice in this area, but I specifically built my life so that I would, so it is completely my own doing. How is it possible that I had not seen this? I needed some distance.
The jury is out on the topic of what this modern 24/7 connectedness is doing to our brains. I am quite certain it is making us smarter in a lot of ways, and that my children’s brains will literally be wired differently from my own. But I do know this for sure: taking seven days to completely unplug is one of the healthiest things you can do to refresh yourself and get some perspective. If you are married, doing it with your spouse will result in a healthier marriage. You don’t have to go anyplace fancy or expensive. It is really hard to get coverage for work and kids but it is so worth it. Nobody died because I didn’t answer my phone for seven days. No, a four day weekend won’t do it. If you give yourself permission, and save up vacation days, you can actually do it.