It’s Friday, 4:15pm and I send a couple final texts to say “I’m off, love you”. One long hold on my phone’s power button and it begins. A weekend without my phone or my computer. A weekend without the social networking addictions, the constant need to check my email or post an Instagram of what I’d doing/seeing/eating at that moment. It felt a little weird at first, and there was a few times I reached for my phone (which I left at home) wanting to check the time or even text my friends that there was a subway delay and I might be late. No could do, I had to trust that I’d make it there and find their car in a rush hour Kiss and Ride stop. I did. And off we went, each minute we drove got me further away from being connected, or did it?
In Belleville, we meet up with the rest of our friends, to grab a quick bite and groceries for the weekend. We then pile back into our cars, loads of (un)healthy cottage food, and we’re on our way. We arrive “home” in less than 2 hours. Claiming our beds for the weekend, unpacking food, we share a few laughs, a game of cards and settle in for the night. I didn’t announce to the world that I had arrived, I didn’t tweet, or update a status or post a photo. And life went on.
We wake up each the morning, put on a pot of coffee, boil water for tea and take turns making breakfasts. Days are spent reading, making friendship bracelets, knitting, writing, playing hackysack, canoeing, kayaking and a bit of swimming – we each did our own things a lot of the time. Meals are cooked and shared together. And there is always time for a few board/card games. We have drinks, but not with any intent to get wasted, it isn’t about having a wild party weekend.
I do a bit of Yoga, looking out onto the water. I feel perfectly comfortable just sitting in a room with another person, each of us reading, pausing occasionally to share a story or comment on a song that is playing. There is a whole lot of nothingness and yet everythingness all at the same time. I think about how some people might feel bored, restless, wanting to do “something”. But for me, I don’t feel any of that. I am perfectly content with so little. In fact, I could use a few more days of it.
Music is playing for most of our waking hours – from iPod playlists to old vinyl records, including a good laugh over Sesame Street tunes. We wonder whether a generation younger than us would be able to spend as many hours the way we did. Sitting around, listening to music, no phones, no internet, no YouTube (and not for a lack of connection – this was all by choice). There was a sweet nostalgia to it all that I feel some people might not understand.
Lost in the beautiful simplicity, we leave the cottage two hours later than we thought we would. No complaints there.
I arrive home, alone, my cat softly meowing a welcome. My heart sinks a little as I look around, my home full of stuff that I’ve accumulated in my 32 years on this earth, and yet somehow, empty. I look out my window, city lights, new construction rising high. I miss the pitch black night, the cicadas singing me to sleep. After a somewhat rocky couple of months, these few days were, without a doubt, the best I could have asked for. I am so grateful for my friends and to mother nature, for making me feel so alive and so, so very connected.
I turn on my phone and as if waking up from a wonderful dream, I’m shifted back into a “reality” that somehow feels far from real.