God I love the peace of it. Imagine if the solitude and stillness of that log cabin in the woods was your life. To me, that’s what life without the internet is like. When I tell people that I’ve lived three or four years of my life since adolescence without internet, they sputter and say “Three or four years? I thought you were going to say months! But how can you possibly live? Surely you had a smartphone?”
Actually up until two years ago, I didn’t have a smartphone. When my son was born, I acquiesced to demands and acquired one, ostensibly because the camera was better than my actual camera. And it was, but what I noticed early on, was that I wasn’t spending most of my time taking pictures of my beautiful son. No, mostly, I was surfing the web and trying to find out whether Khloe was the fat or skinny Kardashian (answer – both?).
Around this time last year, my phone began to bug me, with its constant, addictive siren song. So I downloaded apps to record how much I was using it, because the only way to fight addiction is to use more right? My worst fears and suspicions were confirmed- I used my phone far, far, far too often.
I tried to cut down, but that was a little like trying to swear off carbs while living in a bakery. So instead, I just started to track my use of it. And it got real scary, real fast. Because I pride myself on using my time well, on actively creating a life that I desire, whether spending time working towards goals or living my values. On a day when I was working, I used my phone just under two hours a day. That time adds up quickly-fourteen hours a week. Now it would be one thing if I was say writing, or talking to loved ones, but most of the time, I was reading news stories about how to kick sugar habits and updates about the latest Disney Fan Conference. It’s best not to ask how many hours I used my phone on weekends.
To add insult to injury, the tiny electronic box was spying on me! More than once, I’d notice that ads would pop up for items that I had never searched but had thought of often. I brushed off the unseemly notion, that is, until my sister and brother-in-law confirmed my suspicions when they tested out their phones’ listening skills by discussing a product that neither had searched, or had any intention of buying. Immediately they were presented with ads for said product.
That was it, following our au pair’s departure, we had gotten rid of the internet, and after two years of having my leisure time filled with nonsense like reading about Christopher Walken on Wikipedia (Why?!), I was done with my phone. In the two weeks since it’s become an expensive paperweight, I have to say, I’ve loved it. I’ve remembered the space that comes with no technology. I’ve enjoyed reading without the urge to check emails. I’ve felt more reflective and focused. In a nutshell, I remembered why whenever I’ve had the choice- I have lived without any of that internet nonsense. It detracts from the beauty and mental quiet of my life.
Tex and I are bouncing around the province and the country these next couple of months but I promise to give updates on my new Amish-like existence.
And to those who are curious as to how this was posted. The library in our town, like all libraries, has free wifi and exceptionally helpful librarians to distribute passwords.