Monday, May 21, 2012

Make a Change Monday - Reconnecting by Disconnecting

By the time you read this, I will literally be winging my way across the world for a MUCH needed, long anticipated, hastily planned three week trip to Europe with my husband Don. We have got to be the only two people I know who "hastily plan" a trip like this, but when we realized six weeks ago that we both had THREE WHOLE WEEKS when neither of us had anywhere to be for work (thank you Xyron, HSN and the US Army) - we decided to take a leap of faith. I hope the results will be magical!

yup - FOUR suitcases. Ready to go!

I have to admit though, I've had anxiety. Things are VERY busy at work for me - and I have spent the last two weeks or so making lists, planning ahead, scrambling to get things finished, and trying to figure out how I could work during our vacation.  How much access would I have to the internet?  What about cell phone service? I thought this was completely ok...until I read this article:

It was especially appropriate since just two days prior I had been sitting in the airport on my way home from a business trip and noticed a mother and her two children - her five-ish year old daughter (Savannah) and a toddler - waiting at my gate. The mother was texting on her phone, the toddler was watching a video on some sort of tablet, and Savannah was playing with a Nintendo DS. At first I just found it interesting in a "well - I guess that's one way to keep your kids quiet" way, but then a little bird landed on the arm rest of the seat just a few feet away from Savannah. It had probably come through the open door leading out to the runway, and it wasn't anything special, but Savannah was THRILLED. She looked up and I caught her eye and we both grinned, then she turned to her mom, pointed to the bird and said "Mommy! Mommy!" - without skipping a beat, without even raising her eyes off her screen, the mom growled "Savannah - can't you see I'm on my phone?" The look in Savannah's eyes was heartbreaking. The grandmotherly woman sitting next to me and I tried to engage Savannah and talk about the bird with her, but the moment of wonder and excitement was lost.

When I first read the article I thought it didn't "apply" to me because we don't have kids. Literally five minutes after finishing the article I was on our cell phone provider's website trying to figure out my options for service overseas - and then it hit me.  Why does this only apply to our relationships with children?  Why not our relationships with everyone in our lives? I waited and prayed and cried through nine deployments wanting nothing more than to have Don home with me, and now I have a chance to have three weeks of him all to myself and I'm thinking about work.  I am lucky enough to be going to places and seeing things that some people wait their whole lives to see and I am wondering if I'll have access to the internet. I seriously needed to re-think my priorities.

I know none of us want to THINK we are like Savannah's mom - but many of us are. We are friends who go out to lunch but won't put our phones away and check them constantly throughout the meal. We are strangers who have the chance to strike up a conversation and make someone's day - at our kids' soccer games, the dentist office, in line at the supermarket - but we are too busy texting or checking our FB pages. We talk on the phone while checking out at a store, ordering drive thru, riding in the car with our kids. We are missing out on the people and places and every day moments that make life worth living.

So - Don and I have made the decision to disconnect for the next three weeks so we can reconnect with each other.  We won't disappear phone works in Europe so if there is an emergency - if our folks need us, or our dog sitter, or our offices, they can reach us - but we won't be calling work and we won't be frantically checking our emails, and I'm not going to worry about this blog.  The new Xyron DT is going to do some guest blogging and I may share a few photos about our trip along the way - but otherwise I feel pretty good about a little radio silence. Well - to be honest - it is totally stressing me out at the moment, but that just proves to me even more that I need to do it.  I need a little time to take a deep breath and just BE.

So I wish for you a wonderful few weeks. Enjoy the end of the school year, the beginning of summer, the start of the bounty that is fresh strawberries and peaches and sweet corn and tomatoes and watermelon. Invite your co-workers over for a cookout, meet your neighbors at the local pool. Disconnect from whatever device you are reading this this on and reconnect with the people who make up the stories of your life. Don and I will be doing the same, and if I ever get too stressed out or feel like I should be doing something else, I am going to think of Savannah and her bird.  I'm going to find my sense of wonder again.

See you in June my friends!


  1. Have a great time Beth!!! Enjoy your vacation with your husband. Life is to short, you are here one day and could be gone the next. So enjoy this vacation to the fullest. I am sure it is well deserved!!!

  2. Good for you, I think this is something more people need to do these days. Enjoy all the wonderous things that you cannot see or feel or hear in a cell phone or laptop. Like the look of love in your husbands eyes, the feeling of warmth in his embrace and hear the love and laughter in his voice. Enjoy all the sights and sounds around you as well. these are things people have forgotten to enjoy, life at its simplest. Have a wonderful trip together.May your love grow stronger than ever on this journey.

  3. Absolutely!!! Best thing to motto is love the one you are with.
    Somebody posted a game recently about going out with friends...pile all your cellphones on the table and the first one to reach for the phone has to pay the tab.
    I do have to carry mine when on call, but only reach for it to verify the caller. Now, if I could just do something about the TVs in every restaurant....oh wait...I'd have to talk to the Mr. then!



  4. Have a great time my dear friend!! Be safe and enjoy your time together.

    Hugz, Kim

  5. Have a wonderful time!! Hopefully, you won't read this until your trip is over. Being disconnected is great. Did it myself last year on a cruise for my 30th wedding anniversary. Savannah and her mom are a great reminder.

  6. Awesome! Htown and just be a tourist. I have to admit, we're both pretty excited! ave a wonderful time, you really are blessed to be given 3 weeks with your hubby to reconnect. With school coming to an end I was signing my son up for a summer rec program and then I told him (age 12) that one day a week, no summer rec, him and I would drive into the nearest to the nearest town and just be tourists for the day. I have to admit, we're both pretty excited! See you in June :)

  7. I am excited to hear about and see photos from your trip. I am sure you two are having a WONDERFUL time!! Yea for breaking free from technology for a bit!!!

  8. Have an awesome time hunny, sounds perfect.
    huge hugs Lou xxx

  9. Have a wonderful time. Spending time with our loved ones is the foundation for our scrapbooking and crafts. So happy you have this chance to spend so much time making great memories to craft.

  10. Enjoy your well-deserved time off with your husband! Theres nothing like a trip like this! It's great for the body and soul and oh the memories you'll have!!!! When you return, I'll be on vacation with my hubby in Hawaii, so "see" you in July! Bon Voyage!!!

  11. Thank you for your message about disconnecting and reconnecting, Beth. I think we all need to take this message to heart.

    Have a wonderful trip and enjoy each moment together.

  12. Beth, you are doing the right thing. Nothing is more important than family - NOTHING! You probably will not read this until you return, but we do need to set priorities and let all the electronics stop interrupting our lives.

    Best wishes and have a wonderul time reconnecting with your hubby!


    Carmen L