David’s final grad school class was on Wednesday. I fell asleep on the couch waiting up for him, but had had the foresight to decorate the apartment with a cheesy Graduation Party Decoration Kit from Target and chill a mini bottle of prosecco I picked up on my way home. I woke up when he came through the door, and we had a sleepy, heartfelt toast to his awesome accomplishment.
His graduation ceremony isn’t until mid-May, so we’re mired in a bit of a nebulous wait until then, even though he has no other requirements to complete; he’s finished, but not finished-finished. Still, the relief has been buoyant and immediate. Even though I’ve spent plenty of time thinking about it I don’t believe I truly understood how burdensome graduate school has been for the two of us until we were suddenly free of it. In only a handful of days things have swiftly changed for the better, and not a minute too soon!
All weekend long I kept referring to it as “Our Lazy Weekend” even though, truly, it was anything but. We went to a Twins game on Friday night with the members of David’s cohort, and then out for drinks afterward. On Saturday we went food shopping, stopped by a liquor store, a record store, and a bike shop, David worked on his bike at home, I made an ice cream base, and did a load of laundry. We cleaned the apartment (including heavy duty stuff like the bathroom), and ate three home-cooked mostly healthy meals. In the evening we had company over and stayed up far too late (at my insistence) playing Carcassonne and drinking craft beer. On Sunday David and I indulged our mild hangovers and slept in until 8:30, showered and then had breakfast in bed, read books and magazines for a few hours, then got up and watched the free game of the day on mlb.tv (Red Sox!) while bustling around the house. I baked a loaf of oatmeal molasses sandwich bread and churned my ice cream, David took his bike out for a spin in the afternoon and made us dinner. I ironed while listening to The Splendid Table podcast. We were in bed ready to pass out by 9:30. It was awesome.
“This is the best weekend I’ve had in the history of ever,” I said to David as we were sitting on the couch, waiting for the promised afternoon thunderstorm that never arrived. “Except maybe our honeymoon. But otherwise, best weekend ever.”
And it really felt like it was. First of all, David was actually around. Not at the library for hours and hours. Not chained to his laptop working on papers or presentations. With the exception of our wedding and one or two major holidays, this is the first weekend that David and I had “off” in twenty-one months. It. Was. Glorious.
And aside from the baseball game? We really didn’t spend too much time in front of screens.
Ok, yes, I instagrammed some (I’m addicted) and refreshed facebook a lot, because my phone never really went much farther than my hand or my back pocket. But I didn’t spend hours on it playing games–something I’ve done all too much in the last 21 months. In the brief snatches of free time that we did have during grad school, David and I got in the habit of using technology to “de-stress.” We watched several seasons of West Wing, Top Chef, countless other competitive cooking shows. We downloaded games and apps onto our phones and fiddled with them endlessly. We completely and totally zoned out, and did it with the excuse that it was more relaxing than doing anything else (not true) and that it helped us unwind and connect after all the frantic hours spent working and studying (also not true).
Prior to graduate school, we occasionally used to have what we affectionately referred to as “Media-Free Nights.” We’d ditch our phones and the internet entirely (we don’t have tv, so that wasn’t a problem) and spend the evening with each other’s faces. This weekend reminded me of how NICE that was. And then this morning Meg of A Practical Wedding had a fantastic post about unplugging, which also reminded me that today is the start of Screen Free Week.
Here are my personal rules for the week:
- I will eschew screens from 5:00PM to 8:00AM Monday through Friday. No Netflix, no browsing the internet, no Facebook, no twitter, no (gulp) instagram. No Words with Friends. No Bejeweled. No Angry Birds. No blogs. No laptop. No desktop. No screens.
- I CAN do the following on a computer: use iTunes or Pandora.
- I CAN do the following on my phone: talk on the phone (weird, right?!), respond to texts, use functional apps that help facilitate my days (alarms, calorie counter, weather, songza, google maps). I can also use my phone to take pictures, but I can’t post them anywhere, or edit them (ha! Like I ever do that), or play with them in any way.
- For the purposes of this week my Kindle Touch doesn’t count as a screen (I can’t do anything except read on it, anyway).
- I will be using internet at work because aspects of my job require it. I am going to try hard to limit my internet usage to strictly work-related things, but if my coworkers email me a buzzfeed article about extra-cute stuff, I might end up clicking on it.
- My phone is scheduled to automatically go on Do Not Disturb mode (with phone calls allowed) from 5:00PM to 8:00PM–no notifications will hopefully ease my pain.
- No screens at all for the entire weekend.
I’m excited! (But also feeling twitchy already). I’ll report back next week and let you know how it goes! (And I may have scheduled a post to go up later in the week, but it’s already written, so I don’t feel like that will break any rules).
Are you participating in Screen Free Week at all? Are you as addicted to instagram as I am?