The Almost Empty Nester: Moderation

Friday, July 1, 2016


We just spent a week in Yosemite for our summer family vacation. Since it's her last summer before college, we let The Girl Child choose and she wanted to go hiking, biking, etc. in Yosemite. So we did. And it was awesome.

Funny thing, we got to the lodge where we were staying and there were no TV's in the rooms, zero cell phone service, and spotty WiFi. One would think we'd lose our minds and not know what to do with ourselves. However, at different points in the trip, all three kids said they liked just leaving their phones behind, going out into the woods to hike and swim, and not having to worry about it.

One night, while hanging out in the lodge pool, I said to Thing 1 and Thing 2 that I was inspired by the lack of connection to our phones and the internet. I suggested we continue the trend at home with one day a week, say Saturday or Sunday, where we turn our phones off and walk away. The response was a synchronized, "No." I had to laugh. They're teenagers. They're honest. They didn't mind it on vacation but back in the "real world" - that would be different.

Here's the thing: I had to admit as well that I wouldn't want to be so disconnected ALL the time. We have reached the point in this generation where our cell phones are the main way we communicate. Whether it be via calls, text, or email, those are the ways we connect with others. At one point, we wanted to make a reservation for dinner at a hotel in the valley and my husband and I were at a loss at how to do so. We couldn't do it online, we couldn't call... It was comical, really.

What I took away from the experience is this: Moderation. That's the key. There was one hot spot at the center of where we were staying. An Activity Center of sorts where we could sit in rocking chairs and check email, etc. We all did that each day for about ten minutes. That was it. Even the kids only stayed a short time then moved on. And that's what I want to bring home with us. Moderation. Yes, our phones are our line of communication to the outside world now. It's just the way it is. But I want to control the time I spend on it, not have it control me. I can check in for a brief amount of time, then move on. I can, really. ;)

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