Let’s start with the back story. My house is undergoing chaos. The bathroom is being remodeled in an effort to make this place handicap accessible for my grandpa and because we just put a new roof on last fall, we’re having the trees that are hanging over the house cut down or trimmed–there are quite a few.
In the midst of this chaos, the tree trimmers cut the phone line rather than taking it down while they worked. This left us without a home phone for a three days. That’s really no big deal since we do live in Cell Society, but it also left us without internet for three days. OH THE HORROR, right? (While I have a data plan on my phone and therefore access to the internet, I rarely use it off WiFi so that I don’t exceed my limit.) As we went back into the dark ages of an internet-less life, we slipped further back into Little House land as the contractors had to turn off the power for a while to run electrical wires to various places.
OK, so why did I tell you this? Because it WASN’T horrifying! It was closer to glorious and it made me realize a few things.
- People read ALL the time! “They” say no one reads anymore, but in the digital age, there is no shortage of text to read, the problem is that it’s mostly trash. (Text messages, our Facebook and Twitter feeds, poorly written “news” articles, pointless blogs [not mine, of course], celebrity gossip rags, etc.)
- Constant “connection” is disconnecting us! With no internet and no electricity, I found myself sitting on the front porch. I saw an old classmate from high school heading to her parent’s house a few doors down. We spoke briefly and it was awkward. This is odd because we frequently communicate through Facebook.
We’re forgetting how to live in reality. In the virtual world, you have time to formulate a response to everything or just pretend we didn’t see a post/message. The real world isn’t like that. You can’t pause for twenty minutes when someone sends you a message or phone a friend to ask how to respond; it’s rapid fire.
- We NEED to take a break! While everyone was telling me how they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves without internet and asking me how I hadn’t snapped, I realized it was good for me. Even with all the hammering, drilling, and sawing going on around me, my seemingly life-long headache faded because I wasn’t staring at a screen for countless hours each day, and I was actually interacting with people in person. It may sound strange since this period was a mere three days, but it was a noticeably different.
- It’s good for the environment and your wallet! Have you guys heard of Earth Hour? (Every year on a specific day, you unplug and go dark for an hour to conserve energy and show your support for environmental concerns) Can you imagine how much energy we would conserve if we went dark for a few hours each week? Or offline for one day each week? (Think about it, no need for cell phone and/or laptop chargers.) Another silver lining, my electric bill will be cheaper this month.
Honestly, realizing how much I use/rely on the the internet, something I’ve only had for the second half of my life, makes me long for the first half. When I catch myself “multitasking” in the form of reading Facebook and Twitter, texting, and watching a movie, I want to slap myself. The reason we have no attention span is because of all this so-called multitasking. We’re not taking in the majority of the information we receive. I don’t care how good you think you are at it, you’re missing something. You just don’t know what you don’t know.
For real? Remember when playing outside looked more like this
Now tell me, who looks like they’re having more fun?
When we hang out with people, we check our phones. When we go out to dinner, we check our phones. (Rude!) When we’re with our friends, we comment on their online posts while sitting right next to them. When we’re watching movies, we’re on our phones. We’ve forgotten how to relax, and here in the land of the stressed, it’s time we remember.
I’m sure I sound like an old bitty, but I’m not recommending we abandon the internet and head off to a cabin in the woods until we shrivel up and vanish. I’m pro-internet. (After all, I am blogging about this) I like sharing funny pictures and randomly stupid things, but I also like taking time for myself for the sake of my sanity. It’s healthy and I recommend it. Remember when we were happy little kids in the sandbox? You never saw this
I’m just saying that it wouldn’t be too hard to get back to that once a week or a few hours a day, call it a mental break.
So what did I do during my blackout? I read two books, hand-wrote, played Montana Solitaire, and went outside. It was enjoyable; it was even productive.