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What can you live without?  More specifically, what are you willing to live without?

Today’s world changes in a nano second.  We are caught up in a race that is never-ending, and yet, we continue to run the race.  Technology changes so fast.  We are able to keep abreast of the latest scandal or late breaking news with nothing more than a cell phone in our hand.  With social media we know where are friends are eating and what they are thinking.

Everywhere you go, people are walking the streets like obsessed robots, eyes transfixed to the latest device being held tightly in our hand.  We try to walk and read at the same time.  We text and drive at the same time.  Our minds so wrapped into the hand-held device we miss conversations directed towards us.  We bump into each other.  We are all so intrigued with the little world we hold in our hands that we are missing the real world around us.

Numerous times I have been at a restaurant and noticed a parent completely ignoring their child.  Why?  The cell phone.  Reading messages.  Sending texts.  Meanwhile, little Johnny tosses his mac n cheese dinner on the floor, trying to get the parent’s attention.  Soon the plate is empty, and everywhere, parents are handing out clean plate awards.  Johnny remains hungry and fussy.  The parent sends a text to someone more important than their child, that Johnny must be going through a growth spurt.

I witnessed a parent at a little league baseball game this past summer bring his laptop to the game.  He sat in the bleachers the entire game with the device open, never once looking up to watch his son with a bat in his hand. True story.  I came oh so close to slamming the computer shut on his hands and slapping the dad up side the head.  I didn’t do it, but I sure wanted to.

What can you really live without?

Can you live without food or water?  Can you live without the mall or shopping?  How long can you go without your wine or other favorite adult beverage?  Can you live without your Kindle or iPad?

Would your world come to an end if you had no cell phone reception for six days?  Would the apocalypse be declared if you were unable to get access to the internet for six days?  Could you survive without a cell phone and internet for six days?

Could Bear Grylls, a seasoned adventurer, and star of the Discovery Channel’s show Man vs. Wild, survive under such extreme conditions?

What in the world would we do with so much free time?

Over the duration of the Thanksgiving holidays, that is what 16 members of our family were forced to find out.  We had gathered in South Texas, in a remote area along the Rio Grande, with Mexico visible on the horizon.  We knew in advance that cell phone reception would be very, very limited.  We were given no warning that the internet would be out.  The children were not mentally prepared for such sacrifice.  But guess what?

For six days, we all survived just fine.  No cell phones.  No internet.

No one went into detox.  Medications were never dispersed for tremors.  None of the children were found balled up in the fetal position.  The night sweats never came.

It probably went unnoticed, but we spent more time together in the giant living room.  We held long conversations with each other.  Many family members had books open and read for hours.  We were active outside all day.  We stayed at the large dining table long after the meals were completed.  Stories were told.  Laughter echoed throughout the house.

For six days, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandparents spent the holidays old school style – acting like a real family!

And no one complained.  Not once did I hear or see a teenager throwing a fit out of frustration.  There were no freak outs.  We simply just shared our time together.

No one got pepper-sprayed fighting over a Black Friday discount item.  No one was assaulted or shot in a Walmart parking lot.  The social media IV that is permanently hooked into our vein was unplugged.  And for six glorious days we didn’t care, or need to know

About the worse thing to come of it all were the 187 emails in my inbox.  I am behind in my writing, and have 51 blogs to read while I was away.

Such small sacrifices to make.

What about you?  Can you make it six days without a cell phone or internet?  Would we need to call an intervention?  Would you need to pack a straight jacket just in case the withdrawals got too far out of hand?