We are still recovering here after the storm that hit the northeast U.S. knocked our power out for almost 3 days. I know some people had it much worse than we did. I actually managed pretty well the first two days but on day three when we were being told it could be two or three more days until power was restored, I melted down. All I could think about was all the food in my fridge and freezer that I was going to have to replace. Food bought on sales with discounts and coupons that I can’t reproduce. We were lucky enough to still have the heat of our gas fireplace and could do some limited cooking with our gas range, as long as you didn’t need to take anything out of the fridge. But I just got tired of it and bailed out to go to my sister’s house for few hours. But fortunately our losses ended up being less than we thought. Most freezer items were preserved and my losses from the fridge are recoverable, though frustrating. I’m still catching up on undone laundry (I was able to do a couple loads at my sister’s house that were sitting wet when the power went out) and we finished cleaning out the fridge last night.
There is something about a major power outage that makes you reevaluate dependence on technology. I remember how quiet the house was at night. All those various electronic devices in the house make tiny amounts of noise that we don’t even notice, until they are gone. My husband and I both did quite a bit of reading, which we enjoyed. Though I’ve discovered that reading by candlelight is entirely overrated. The drafts coming from our poorly insulated windows made the candles flicker like strobe lights. The eye strain was so bad that I gave up in favor of a flashlight to read by. I enjoyed the appeal of a less technology based life (though we probably have less than most to begin with). I didn’t enjoy having it forced on me, but I liked some of the simplicity that came out of it. No arguing with my daughter about watching TV. Though she really missed the music we usually have playing around the house. We went to bed at a reasonable hour because it was dark, we were tired and there was no TV’s or computer’s to veg-out in front of. I’m not about to take a vow to give up technology, but I do think it helps to be aware of how much we let technology rule our lives. The phone rings, cell phone texts arrive, email pops up, new facebook messages to deal with; our lives our filled with maintenance of technology. Maybe healthy limitations, setting aside quiet times and places to focus on the simplicity of life without all those technological interruptions, can help us to better appreciate the value of life without technology.
So after this experience, while I’m grateful to have my laptop back, I’m also hoping I can push myself to spend more time on activities like reading to and coloring with my daughter, keeping up with my own reading, bible study and prayer life, as well as quality time with my husband. Because I discovered what can happen when we neglect technology for a few days. We survive, the world keeps turning, and in the end our lives may be a little better for it.