This month, my power got knocked out for two days because of a wind storm. My landline and cell phone were both down, too. For more than 50 hours I didn't have technology and it reminded me of how life might be for the Amish. After the initial social media withdrawals subsided, I actually felt really relaxed. Nothing to log in to, nothing to maintain. It was liberating!
In this uber-connected world, more and more people are complaining of social media burnout. Too many platforms to update and a plethora of needless information. If you're Amish, however, your days are busy, but lack the ever-growing demands of technology. Just think about it.
If you're Amish:
You tell your family that it was a good meal.
Tweeting it to someone who's five feet away from you isn't necessary.
You say hello to the shop keeper to let him know you're in the store.
No need to check-in via Foursquare.
You do things because getting something accomplished is it's own reward.
Yes, actually people do things that don't earn them badges!
You write love letters to your sweetheart.
Because love means more than just changing your Facebook status to "in a relationship".
Your skills and abilities are widely-known throughout the community.
No need to maintain a LinkedIn profile.
You sing whatever song comes into your head.
You don't have to search through other people's Spotify playlists to entertain yourself.
You do business with someone because your family has had a relationship with that person for generations.
No reason to log on to Yelp to read or write reviews.
You use circles for knitting or storytelling.
Remember before Google+ when you didn't judge yourself by the number of circles you were in?
Your friends are people you know and like.
No hurt feelings if someone doesn't follow you back or accept your friend request.
There's much to be said about living a life of simple abundance. Technology is great and social media is fantastic, but it can take a toll on our frazzled minds. So, why not take a break from it all this weekend?
Pretend that you're vacationing in an Amish town. Set down the smartphone, turn off the laptop, and enjoy the things that really matter. Have a conversation, nurture offline relationships, and focus on what and who is in front of you. After you stop shaking and sweating from the social media deprivation, you just may feel calmer. I know I did.
Disclaimer: I've always been fascinated by the Amish and this post is in no way meant to be disparaging. I understand that this post may include some generalizations that don't apply to all Amish sects. I also realize some teens who go through Rumspringa do not return to the Amish way of life and may be using technology and all the other amenities of the 21st century. This disclaimer is written by someone who has absolutely no legal training, but watched all eight seasons of The Practice.