Before you roll your eyes, let me clarify that I haven’t become one of those insufferably obnoxious people who insist that pen is the only medium for words of art, or those who furiously tap away at a typewriter when they clearly have a MacBook Pro in the other room. No, the reason I am resorting to pen and paper is because l vowed to not do anything bad for the planet in any way for one whole day.
You might be reading this on your phone, or maybe on a laptop or desktop (retro), but the original draft of this article was written in pen and paper, by candlelight.
This meant no electricity, no internet, no hot water, no cars (or busses or trains, and certainly no planes), no single use plastics, no eating meat (although I’ve been vegetarian for a whole four weeks now so I am already feeling pretty smug) and limited water use (if it’s yellow, let it mellow kind of vibe).
Here’s what happened…
It’s pretty easy not to cook if you’re veggie – everything in your dietary repertoire can be safely eaten raw. For breakfast, I had fruit and granola, for lunch I had an avocado, tomato and rocket sandwich, and for dinner I had salad with sweet corn, grated carrot, peppers with nuts and seeds. Ok so it’s not the most exotic menu and it was all a bit samey, but it’s certainly far more nutritious than my normal meals.
TIME TO DISCONNECT
I have never fully faced up to how addicted I am to my phone. My muscle memory meant I kept reaching for it, and in every quiet moment, I felt compelled to check Instagram only to be left feeling antsy and anxious when I couldn’t. I also couldn’t message friends or see how my boyfriend’s day was going. In the moment it felt isolating but meant we had so much more to catch up on when he got home that evening. I shared thoughts from my day with pent up excitement that our connected lives never allow us to experience. Plus, the social media anxiety eased after a few hours, after which being off the grid felt blissfully freeing.
I also couldn’t watch TV or go online, so I initially felt at a loss as to what to do. I ended up going on a long, long dog walk, which was exactly what I needed to connect to the present. Other than that, I read my book and napped, which is my all time favourite past time and one I am never able to indulge in quite so freely.
FINDING THE LIGHT
luckily, the clocks have just gone forward (or backwards?) and we’re firmly into Spring, meaning there’s many more hours of daylight, otherwise, I would have been screwed. Although you’d be surprised how much light you can get from a couple of candles. The main challenge was getting from room to room, stumbling in the semi-darkness carrying an open flame. Not advisable but very ambient nonetheless.
While I wouldn’t necessarily take my modern-day detox so literally, I would definitely do it again to a lesser degree. The experience was calming, re-centering and restorative, and if everyone did it regularly, it would help to reduce the amount of energy we consume and, hopefully, help to preserve the planet.