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American novelist Anne Lamott once said, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” If you’ve ever unplugged before, turned off your cellphone, walked away from a laptop, and left the iPad at home, you’ll know it can feel a little uneasy at first to be so disconnected when we are so used to having everything at our fingertips. However, it’s also liberating, and the best part is that it will be okay—everything will be right there waiting for us when we decide to plug back in.
On March 3, we observe the National Day of Unplugging—a day set aside to honor the beauty of taking a break from technology and the screen. It kicks off an entire 24-hour period, from sunup to sundown, without any phones, computers, tablets, smartwatches, or televisions. This year, March 3 falls on a Friday, so for many of us, unplugging may be difficult when technology is essential in most of our careers.
However, I’m not here asking you to turn off your phone, computer, and television for a full day. Instead, I encourage us all, me included, to take some time for ourselves and, every now and then, just for a few hours here and there, to simply unplug. One of my favorite memories took place during the pandemic lockdown. Our internet had gone out, and the kids were lost on what to do without their phones and tablets to access social media. As a result, they spent the day outdoors and, in the evening, played board games, enjoying quality time with each other.
Today, technology makes our lives easier at work, allows us to catch up with friends and family we haven’t seen in years, and connects us with the world. It’s amazing to video chat with family around the world, purchase an item online in minutes, and work remotely if we wish and are able to.
As we age and begin looking back on our memories and experiences, it’s not the time spent on social media that matters; instead, what matters most are the adventures we took, the interactions with our loved ones, and the laughs we shared. One of the qualities in my clients I admire most is that they are intentional. They know what is important in life and value planning to ensure their loved ones will be well taken care of for many years to come. Unplugging here and there is just one more way to be intentional. Take time to collect those moments and share in those memories that matter most.