In less than a week, I’m flying out to New England to hang out with my fiancée’s family and do things like sight-see, continuously dip lobster in bowls of melted butter, and get Dunkin Donuts every morning for breakfast (and lunch, and maybe dinner, whatever). I am also incredibly anxious. And it’s not because I have to take a nine-hour flight to get there (although planes also make me anxious), and it’s not because my parents and my fiancée’s parents are going to be together under the same roof for ten days straight (let’s not even talk about this). It’s because this means I will have to leave my laptop at home, and avoid using my phone at all costs. Yes, everyone: I suffer from extreme separation anxiety from the Internet.
That’s what happens when your jobs are practically all virtual. I’m a writer, so I spend 90% of my life on the Internet, where I research and deconstruct everything from jogger pants to feminism in Game of Thrones. I also get to teach college freshmen how to write, so this usually means answering a lot of e-mails without Internet-screaming, “JUST LOOK AT YOUR SYLLABUS THE ANSWER IS PROBABLY THERE.” I am always checking my e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr because the world MIGHT crash and burn if I’m not aware of an important re-tweet, typo, or the latest photo of Blue Ivy in her designer bib. So yeah, the thought of leaving all that behind while I soak up the East Coast sunshine (my fiancée just laughed at me when I typed “sunshine” because apparently it’s not known for that) and embody the “worry free” girl who has unplugged herself from the Internet makes me tremendously nervous.
But I have to embody this girl. For at least one week out of the year, ALL of us need to unplug. Regardless of your career, there are so many of us who are permanently online. We check our Facebook at work, we scroll through Kelly Oxford’s hilarious Twitter feed while we’re supposed to be inputting data, we “like” Lauren Conrad’s Instagrams of her perfect shellac manicure, we hate-stalk our frenemies from college, secretly hoping they are miserable. We check and re-check our e-mail inboxes every fifteen minutes. We are convinced there is something that happened every single second of the day and we feel the need to be a part of it. If we don’t hit the “refresh” button, how much will we possibly miss and consequently lose?