Last month my home internet was disconnected for 18 days. Eighteen days.
I am a home-based freelancer. I rely on my home internet connection. Earlier this year I reduced my mobile data limit because I barely used it. Last month I used it up in a matter of days, even with rationing. I took my wi-fi only iPad (3G not necessary around here) to the library for work and used the public PCs but with time and content restrictions there is only so much you can do away from home.
It was nights and the days I was at home with my son that I really noticed it. I still picked up my phone to check updates and remembered – no internet.
And then something started to happen. I stopped caring about Instagram updates. About people’s kids and renovations and weekend plans on Facebook. The times I had access and checked the social accounts for a few minutes, I found myself scrolling through the news with boredom.
I did miss my news source, Twitter. Mainstream news runs so much slower and I am able to find information on the things I am actually interested in through my Twitter contacts.
It was actually quite nice being able to leave my phone behind and play with my son without the nagging in the back of my head that I was missing out. I stopped taking carefully set up photos for future uploading, and stopped mentally composing status posts.
I felt less stressed, a nice change from the constant anxiety I live with.
I know this has been written about by many people covering myriad topics and although I have found the subject interesting I have never really taken it to heart. Experiencing it for myself I was able to see the benefits in switching off.
I did however feel nervous. I was disconnected. It was a huge inconvenience in terms of work and every day life – I rely so much on being able to look up something I don’t know.
Once the internet was reconnected I went to my old sites and felt empty. There was new content but I didn’t care. There was nothing there for me. Nothing had changed on Facebook. So I changed my habits. I became involved in an online writing group. I started reading that science news site I’ve been meaning to check out. I’ve become aware of when I am wasting time online, and I stop what I’m doing immediately.
Maybe a forced detox was good for me.