On Tioman Island, we had a week without access to the Internet.
Here is what I discovered:
Once the habit wears off, I don’t really care what is going on on Facebook or Instagram. I haven’t been posting so there is no urge to check my likes or spend 20 minutes scrolling through other people´s lives in short tidbits. I am seriously thinking about trying to check Facebook only once a week, or setting up that service where you get an email when someone sends you a message or invites you to something. I know when we move to Stavanger, I will want to use the Facebook group that other moms use to meet people, but it can be a tool and not an addiction, maybe.
I miss reading the news a little bit, but not too much. It is so calm here, it doesn’t really feel necessary to know what is going on in the Gaza strip or in Washington D.C. Mostly the “news” I read is targeted, through Twitter or something, where I read stuff about parenting, gentle discipline, attachment parenting, childhood development, unschooling, education, and the like, which I like doing, because it makes me feel like part of a community, but I think I seriously should have a time of day, and it should be at the end. It shouldn’t be the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning. That time should be for me, for reading something that spurs my intelligence, that fulfills a need, that inspires me. In a word, it should be engrossing and not frenetic. That sort of speed-reading that I do with my internet stuff is not relaxing. It feels like I am cramming for an exam or something.
I also like the survival instinct that kicks in when we don’t have access to the Internet. We can´t look up the name of the fish we just saw snorkeling, or information about the tides, or the lyrics to the kids song I was trying to sing for Kiddo, or that French word I wanted to figure out how to say, but it means we have to act quickly on our feet. Observe the world around us. Ask for help from someone else. Use our creativity to find another song we know the lyrics to. I am not saying I am not going to use the Internet, and that it isn’t a great tool for all of the instances I just mentioned. But for me, a lot of the times when I go to my computer or my phone to start to look something up, I don’t find it right away, and then I sort of end up wasting time, getting distracted, interrupting my train of thought until the moment is passed. Not have access to these devices for a week was a weight off my shoulders because it meant that I was living much more in the moment. “Damn, I totally forgot that verse. What was it? Na na na naa….oh well, OK Kiddo, what other song should we sing?” I really actually love that.
Hubby and I talked about having a place to dump our phones when we come in the house at home. A basket or something. I resist because I use it so often to take photos and videos, but I do like the idea of a) knowing where it is and b) not having it exactly at my fingertips all day!
The Internet is a really amazing tool. It has saved this whole trip, as we have used it on the road to find where we are going to stay the next night, to fine wineries to visit, to locate ourselves on the map, find grocery stores and the best toddler beaches, stay in touch with our families, blog, and order books to our kindles, to name a few. But I like the idea of thinking of it always as a tool, and not something that has to permeate our days, constantly.
What this means is, the Internet detox went well!
Now I am back online, and I feel somewhat of a tug to check my phone, but not as much. I like that. I want to stay connected to my communities, but I like a little bit of distance.
And now to use the mighty world wide web to find out where we are going to stay next week!