No cell service, no internet connection, lots of snow…
How would you spend your time?
Those of us old enough to remember the days prior to smartphones and social media can reflect on how internet technology has changed not only our personal lives but social behavior of the entire world.
The accelerated pace of communication has brought people together in a whole new way and that is amazing and yet also terrifying.
Technology is great, don’t get me wrong. We all use it every day without even a second thought. It is an automated habit and before you become consciously aware of the hidden mesmerability of the thing, it becomes your master. I know that sounds extreme but hear me out and think about it.
I have a little story to share with you.
I live in a small rural town with one cell tower. It’s what I use to receive an internet connection through my phone. A snowstorm left four feet of snow on my doorstep and took the cell tower down with it. My phone now tells me it’s May 14th, 2002.
Clearly, I had entered a time warp.
Day one, not a big deal. I found lots of projects to get into that had been neglected. Several moments throughout the day I would go to look something up online, or make a purchase, or check the weather and forget it wasn’t working. My teenage daughter kept herself busy with what little music was saved on her phone. During the daylight hours it actually felt like time had sped up.
When the dark cover of evening came around, that’s a whole other story.
I read books, write by hand and check the time. 7:00 p.m. Ok, now what? I’m used to going online to find something to watch, research or write. I’ve got projects that require the internet, but now they are on hold. That first night I believe we all went to bed rather early and woke up even earlier.
After a few days of this, we start to realize that the internet isn’t going to come back anytime soon. We drive into town and ask around, but nobody seems to have a straight answer as to why it’s not working or when it will be fixed. Ok, fine. I started a major deep cleaning and organizing project.
Every shelf was arranged and dusted, the clothes were refolded, under the kitchen sink and the crevices of the bathroom floor behind the toilet was scrubbed and the creatures living under the bed all were sorted through. Everything was clean, except the cobwebs on the roof of the yurt, which I have yet to work up the motivation and appropriate tools to get to.
Not knowing the state of the world and the crazy news everyday was at first unsettling.
What if something happens that I need to know about? What good would it do me anyway? How about I go and read instead? Yes, the books that have been patiently waiting on my shelf. What about the guitar who hasn’t been seen in months? Or the yoga I’ve been neglecting to practice? Aren’t these quality activities far more satisfying than scrolling a news feed?
How many times a day do you look at your phone? I do it all the time and my internet isn’t even working! What’s the big deal and why does it matter? Because I want to know if my behavior is being modified.
Some interesting breakdowns and breakthroughs transpired. My daughter had a major crack up of reality and went into full delirium ending with a crash on the floor, a moment of silence, then she calmly went to find the paints and a blank canvas ( I always have art supplies on hand).
A techless day will absolutely change your behavior.
Eating and sleeping patterns will change, your hobbies will change, and I guarantee that you will discover how much time gets sucked off of your life because you’re just passing the hours with distractions online.
After weeks of internet fasting, we have found a new groove as a family. We talk more, there are lots of books being read and many more art projects being attended to. Yoga is happening, the guitar is gracing the living room with its relaxing tune while our teenage daughter is happily dabbling with a paint brush.
Life has been simplified to the basic essentials, and I found a great peace and sense of relief.
Sometimes it feels like this technocratic way of life consumes a piece of something spiritual, yet at the same time it is astounding how it connects people together in a digital space.
Now I won’t sugar coat the experience because we definitely had some serious moments of discomfort, but it didn’t last long. Just like with fasting from eating, the hunger comes in waves. It’s amazing how fast a person could adapt to new life circumstances when necessary.
Resilience is still potent within humanity, and we can absolutely thrive no matter what curveballs are thrown.
I encourage you to pay more attention to your time using the internet. Are you giving your eyeballs a needed rest from the screen? Is there something else you’re neglecting to do that needs your care? What would you do with your time if the internet did not exist?
Sometimes it’s good to just turn off the phone and shut down the computer for a few days…or weeks in my case. It may take that long just to get to a place where you are breaking into new unexplored territory of self-discovery. Be prepared to phase in and out of moods, it’s a lot like breaking an addiction. Something else will gladly fill that empty space. So, choose wisely!
The internet is now back to functioning as it was, and I am much more in tune with my habits surrounding its use. It is not a mindless extension of my body. It is put in its place as a useful tool when I need it. I hope this little story propels you to reflect on your own life and how the internet has modified your behavior.
Thanks for reading and I wish you the best in all your endeavors for 2022!
If you still need a planner for 2022, check out my author page on Amazon where you will find a compilation of all my recently published books, including:
Holistic Self-Care 2022 All in One Planner
Grow your Own Food 2022 Moon Gardening Calendar
Practice Yoga Everyday Journal