My wife Karen and I made sure we were prepared to take our part in Earth Hour by turning off all of the power in the house and spending an hour playing a game. We got organized by finding the candles beforehand and choosing Yahtzee as our boardgame of choice before we made our power-off strategy.
With a sick child and both of us juggling our days with overtime and extera caricular activities this past week we had passed each other in the evening like we were shift workers on opposite shifts. All we wanted to do was to sit back, relax, and watch a good movie.
After putting the girls to bed and finishing up the dishes we both went off on our own to check out email and to relax for a moment when we realized that we only had 15 minutes before we had to enact our shutdown plan.
I quickly sent a tweet on Twitter and then shut the computer down. We both ran all over the house turning off lights and unplugging all of the things that take power while they were off and then we both met up in the living room. Candles burning, the Yahtzee box on the table and Karen curled up in the sleeping bag we use as a blanket on cool Yukon nights. It looked perfect!
I opened up the Yahtzee box to find that it didn’t have pencils or even the score sheets to play. My first three attempts at making my own score sheets were stopped with questions about the bonus numbers and then I had no idea how many points to give for the different combinations. I finally gave up with frustration and turned to Karen and said “we should just talk”.
What a mind blowing experience that was! We talked about the children and upcoming kindergarten for our oldest, we talked about our worries and health concerned for our youngest and we even had time to talk about some of our personal goals that we have not had time to talk about with each other.
There were a couple of tense moments when I was caught looking at my watch but it all balanced as we noticed that the flickering candles were in competition with the glow of the Yukon sky. We had a wonderful time.
There is something to be said for taking the time to talk and listen with the ones that we love. Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives and stepping back and enjoying the solitude.
We have decided to try to do this at least once a week. It is nice that not only is it good for the environment but it is also good for us and our relationship. I would encourage others to take the time to shut everything off (except for yourselves) and enjoy the solitude. Just don’t look at your watch. It is only an hour and it does come quickly.