How many times have you been talking to someone face-to-face and can’t hold back the urge to check your phone instead of giving your full attention to the person in front of you? When was the last time you had a phone call where all you did was talk; you didn’t check your email or look at an internet site while on the phone? Why do we automatically look at our smart phone when we see someone else looking at their Droid or iPhone? It’s an automatic response that has become a bad habit.

I remember a district supervisor at one of my first jobs saying that although she traveled for work, she would never own a cellular phone because she didn’t want to be available to everyone at any time (I would bet that she has a cell phone by now). I held that same ideal for a long time and was among the last of my friends with a smart phone. But one day I was trying to find a meeting and realized that without an internet connection for my computer or a smart phone, I didn’t have the information at hand. That was it. No longer than a week later, I gave in and bought my first smart phone. I was hooked and look at me now. I can order my Starbucks on my phone before I get to the shop; speak to my phone, which will send the message via text to my husband; check my children’s grades on the online grading system at their school; share my grocery list with any one in my contact list; submit my weekly timesheet; and find my favorite Pinterest recipes all on my phone!

And just five years since I “plugged in”, I’m trying to reclaim some of my time by breaking the urge to be available 24/7. Have we evolved or regressed? I think we’re more knowledgeable about our global community, but less in tune with those in the same room with us. There are countless articles in support of unplugging from the internet and quite a few that are in opposition to that stance. From my perspective, balance is important to a healthy life and disconnecting every once in a while is part of how I want to maintain that equilibrium. I challenge you to put down your phone for an afternoon and do something that requires no batteries or power outlets. There’s a whole world out there to explore!