To Unplug…or not???

Having not blogged in a few months I finally feel that I have something worth talking about. I’ve had many different ideas in the last 3 months: to be thankful, giving is better than receiving, bucket list for the New Year, birthdays, live in the moment, etc…even one about expectations. But the one topic that really had me wanting to blog was something that a friend and I were discussing while I was in the hospital a few days ago. We were discussing teenagers, their futures, cell phones, the internet and social media.

Our world has come so far…technology changes every second and our wants and needs can be fulfilled with the blink of an eye. One can Skype and see in real time anyone in the world that they choose to connect with. No longer does one have to travel to places on their Bucket List because technology provides us with visiting time with those in distant lands via Face-Time, Skype, etc. Better yet, GO-PRO gives one the opportunity to be in their home, dry and unharmed while experiencing what it may be like to be?on a surfboard in Costa Rica! This is amazing!! Who would of thought that these opportunities would even exist during our lifetime?! (Cray-Cray as they say.)

Except for one thing…what happens when you don’t want to Face-Time, Skype, text or be plugged in? What if you aren’t available at that moment, or maybe you are having a bad day and want some time to disconnect or unplug. I ask you, can you, in good faith and conscience, Unplug?? Does one need to be connected, to disconnect? As someone living with the never-ending cancer diagnosis that has, at times, taken away the things that made me, me… unplugging seems necessary. To be able to do this without explanations, with no guilt attached, and without misgivings doesn’t seem “ok” in todays world. Many of us, patient or Caregiver, need to give ourselves the permission to just Unplug. How do any of us decide when it is OK take time to be off-line/off the grid/on one frequency? When was the last time we really communicated in the same “breathing space” with those that are right here in our backyards, neighborhoods and or even in our own homes. Back in the day, we would refer to some lovely ladies such as Miss Heloise, Martha Stewart, Miss Manners or Ann Landers, so that we would know the correct “etiquette” when it comes to responding in good time or not?

Quick side story…I was at lunch with my daughter, her friends and their moms. The mothers sat around the table chatting when it dawned on us that we were the only ones talking. These girls are teenagers. One would think their mouths would not be able to stop conversing. That we would hear them chatting about boys, school, grades, make-up, clothes, sports and so on. Instead they had their heads down and were texting each other or someone who was not at the table because it was more comfortable and answers were immediate. (Patience? I think that word can be taken out of the english language.:)) They hadn’t spoken “in person” in quite sometime. Being good mothers, we had everyone, including ourselves, put our cell phones away and then watched as they had to figure out how to talk to each other again. They had to remember what someone had said or what happened last week on their own, without going to their “smart” phones to double check answers or they had to wait until lunch was over to get back on the grid.

As a stage 4 cancer patient that has had many things “deleted” from me because of this disease, sometimes our loudest voice is the one we only save for those that find other ways to reach out to us and our Caregivers. We sometimes save our voice and time for teaching and loving our kids, being with spouses, or the people that show up time and time again to be with us during some very uncomfortable situations. Granted, age, personal responsibilities, and location, location, location, does not always make this possible for everyone to be there for us and our Caregivers. We reserve our energy for times when we know we just need to put ourselves on “mute” and others on “hold”. Technology does allow for us to connect with those that can’t be around the corner day in and day out. What we can do for others and they for us depends largely on location and personal circumstances. Many times I bow down to the technology gurus that have created the connections that enable us to be in touch with “important” people who may be farther away than we or them wish.

So when one doesn’t respond as promptly it may be because the need to just be alone with our thoughts, feelings or healing, is warranted and required. Keep in mind that there are other ways to reach out and check-in and sometimes “no news is GREAT news!” Most importantly, please remember that for many advanced cancer patients we have children and spouses that are caring for us. THEY are the ones that need to disconnect and unplug sometimes. Call THEM, reach out to THEM, text THEM and give THEM the chance to UNPLUG… or not. That may be the best one way conversation that one has ever had!

Keep on CaringOn

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