The irony of a blog being called ‘I should log off’ has never been “lost” on us. As we traveled the world we always felt like we wanted to log off more often but couldn’t because we were so focused on our blog about logging off. It was our paradox.
Disconnecting and logging off….that’s why this book appealed to me so much.
I hate how connected I am and yet it still feels like such a necessity. When The Winter of our Disconnect arrived in the mail (a gift for completing an online survey) I dove right in. The book is a first person narrative of an American woman trying to raise her three kids in Australia. She is a journalist by trade and this figures strongly into her desire to cut loose and disconnect, as well as the challenges she faces.
The author realizes the need for disconnecting and sets out ground rules for 6 months of electric free living. The means, cutting all electricity. Cold showers, no phones and no Internet. She receives both blank stares and accolades from her friends and family. Her children feel differently at the start and, once they actually understand what is happening, aren’t at all too pleased with it. They are permitted to use electricity outside of the house and they use this time to email and send messages but inside the house they are suddenly forced to behave….as a family.
The author’s son makes the largest change. Without his game system he suddenly feels the need to dig up his old saxophone. He learns to play again and manages to join a band. By the end of the 6 months he misses his game unit but also takes a moment to remark to his mother that he wonders how good he’d be if he’d spent all those years playing sax instead of video games. The family cohesion grows as well. The dog gets walked far more often and more time is spent relaxing and playing games than ever before. Suddenly it is cool to sit and hang out together for an evening and bonding feels natural rather than forced like so many a family outing.
This is the kind of book that makes you examine what is important in your life and the changes you might need to make to become happier. At times it seems more newspaper article than narrative but changes that come through this book are all feel good stuff. Sure, it would be near impossible for many of us to cut all electricity from our homes for 6 months but the point of this book is that not only is it not impossible, but it can be easier and better than you’d think. In the meantime, the book concludes with a few ‘commandments’ of how we can better live with electricity, but that will come to you via this blog another day.
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