A week before Christmas my family went to Batanes and for once we genuinely felt like family. With grown-up kids and conflicting schedules, it has been a while since the whole family truly bonded and this trip was definitely different. Suddenly, everyone seemed to be paying attention to each other – helping out (without being asked), doing things together (without being forced to) and actually taking their sweet time talking and sharing stories during breakfast, lunch and dinner! Haven’t had that experience for the longest time and undeniably, I missed it.
Batanes is in the northernmost part of the country and thanks to Fundacion Pacita’s close to home accommodation and breathtaking view of the island, having minimal to no network coverage and sporadic internet connection were not a problem. Fundacion Pacita sits on top of a hill and true to what was on their website, one can enjoy the true beauty of Batanes because there is nothing more beautiful than the way the mountain, the sea and the sky come together. There was no TV and no WiFi and it was beautiful! I never thought signing off (especially from social media) was so liberating. I didn’t realize my family was disconnected until we signed off online. Truly, getting a dose of “social media” detox got the whole family connected –all at once!
How signing off connected me with my family:
- I (we) have become more attentive
Being online, especially on social media is a distraction. How many times have we wasted hours browsing through the Internet, reading through posts after posts and chatting online? How many times have we converted work hours to “stalk” hours wondering what everyone else is doing with their lives? No need to wonder; pretty sure they are doing the same thing. Yes, being online especially on social media is a big distraction. And so while in Batanes for days, having minimal to no connection at all, the whole family has become more mindful of each other. We’ve discovered things and activities that we all are interested in. We discovered similarities and differences. We listened and that made us understand each other. Most of all we became appreciative of what was around us and what we had.
- We focused on the moment
As mentioned above, being online can be pretty distracting. By logging off and staying offline you get to concentrate on what is important. In our case, with our busy schedule, family time has been frequently sacrificed. And so, in this vacation (having no distraction at all from work related emails and social media what-nots), we were able to focus on ourselves and our family. We weren’t thinking of what others were up to. We weren’t busy posting what was happening and where we were. Most of all, we didn’t compare. We now have time on our hands; hence, we were focused admiring our surroundings and living in the moment.
- Nothing but positivity and productivity
On a regular day, upon waking up, if it’s not the snooze button we try to reach for, it’s our smartphone. Somehow, we all have developed the bad habit of getting online to check emails and social media accounts upon waking up, while having breakfast and sadly, it can even drag on until we leave the house. We get so caught up with work and other people’s business that we fail to address our own. With the Internet gone, for a week I unhurriedly got out of bed and was able to enjoy a relaxing breakfast. No one in the family was edgy or uptight. Everyone was in a good mood. This is how mornings should be. Our day is formed by how we spend our first hour. Develop the habit of starting the day right and you’ll end your day right. By creating positive habits, we get things done. Do not waste time stalking, surfing and browsing.
Reconnect with the real world. Do not get jealous of your friend’s seemingly perfect life online. Do not compare your work, life and family based on social media. A seemingly perfect photo is a product of hundreds of imperfect ones. Not everything you see online is true. Reconnect with family because that is primarily what is true.