May 3, 2015

Unplug. Lessons from a five day blackout.

Last Monday night Sydney and surrounds was hit with what they called a 200 year super storm called an 'East Coast Low'.  Winds ravaged, trees toppled everywhere, rain flooded and the power went out.  For days.  5 days.

I am incredibly thankful that my dad recently blessed us with some camping gear, as our gas camping stove was a huge saving grace allowing us to cook and heat up water to clean and bathe. We managed to get ice for a few days but as as the blackout continued, it eventually sold out so we had to resort to non-perishables until the power came back on, which it eventually did at 5pm on day 5 of no power.

Which was approximately 20 minutes after our gas bottle ran out, and about 15 minutes after another freak storm - of the hail kind this time.  I mean, talk about freakish severe weather.  Two freak storms within one week.

The power came back on just as we were kind of getting used to life without power, not that we didn't dance, jump, shout and celebrate when it came back on though (oh and I did catch Olly hugging the foxtel box - the poor man missed his TV).  We heard the neighbours celebrating out the front so we joined them and realised it wasn't just our neighbours, you could literally hear people celebrating and shouting across the whole neighbourhood - from many streets away.  I suppose that's the kind of excitement and relief you would expect though.  I am still pinching myself when I go to open the fridge, or switch the kettle on - it seems a little surreal, and I almost feel guilty for using it.. weird, I know.

On a more serious note though, I have learned a big life lesson this past week.  I noticed that without electricity, without our techno-gadgets, and being able to endlessly use our smart-phones and other devices, a lot of space is created in life.  Space that can be filled up with spending quality time with the ones you love.  Space to talk to your neighbours, have conversations that you wouldn't normally have.  Space to get those little jobs done that you have been meaning to do.  Space to focus on one thing at a time without the interruptions of technology.  And yes, technology can be mighty distracting at times when you are constantly being interrupted by phone calls, text messages, emails and notifications on your device.  How many times have you picked up your phone or opened the computer to do something, see something else and get distracted, forgetting why you came there in the first place?  I know it happens to me more times than I care to admit.  I am betting those tiny distractions add up to a huge chunk of time over the course of a day or a week that you could spend doing whatever it is that you want to do.

Technology, electricity is wonderful.  Of course we need it.  But now that we have it back, I realise how incredibly important it is to unplug every now and then.