**I want to preface this by stating that I know the importance of regular access to internet for living in this modernize world. The digital divide is real and is a major problem and if I had a magic wand I would FIX THAT SHIT immediately. I am NOT saying that home internet access is a luxury for EVERYONE. For many, and especially for the working class and poor that can’t get access to the internet other places, home internet access is a NECESSITY. The point I am making is that I discovered that home internet access is not something I need to survive. Me, personally, and not anyone else. But that maybe others in a similar situation to mine don’t need it as much as they think they do.**
Now, don’t get me wrong.
I am a big fan of living in a world where I can google questions like “how big are Monopoly squares” and learn the answer immediately.
I am a big fan of paying minimal amounts of money for access to huge amounts of entertainment.
Oh, and there’s that other thing…
But after moving into my new apartment and being in between paychecks and not having the money for all those start up costs and so just going without having high speed internet at home for a while… I discovered
I kind of like not having internet in my apartment.
Here’s the thing.
I spend between 2-6 hours a day sitting at a computer, depending on what day it is, how busy we are and how much non-computery stuff I have to do. And even then I have a lot of flexibility. So I can check Facebook every hour or so. I can spend a while in the morning reading articles. I can watch an episode of something over my lunch break.
(I will reiterate that I am aware how fortunate I am that this is the case. When I was waiting tables I had no time to do anything but run shit all over that damn restaurant. I am very lucky now.)
And when I have days off (because again I am fortunate to have days off) I can walk a few blocks to my local public library branch, or to the neighborhood cafe if I’m feeling fancy, and sit and watch OITNB or pay my bills through a handy bill payer thing on my bank website so it takes 3 minutes, or download books on my ereader or WHATEVER while I sip my white chocolate mocha with whipped cream (because, seriously if you’re going to get a drink that is pure calories and caffeine at least COMMIT to it amirite?).
And I have an iPhone (another luxury, I know) and so if I have the IRRESISTIBLE URGE at 3am to know why that witness on NCIS that I’m rewatching on the DVD’s I own bc I have a huge crush on Pauley Perrette looks so familiar, I can IMDB it on my phone and satisfy my curiosity.
And I can check twitter to keep up with the latest time warp fuckery that is currently consuming our nation. (Seriously, did I accidentally get sent back to 1945?)
AND I’m not in school anymore and therefore don’t have homework. It’s impossible to do school without internet access anymore. For anyone. I swear Pre-Schoolers have online requirements.
So what am I really missing out on by not having internet in my apartment?
- A tiny bit of convenience
- A continuous stream of television
Seriously. That’s it.
For me. That’s it.
And it’s amazing the shit you can get done when you don’t spend 18 hours a day watching netflix and scrolling down tumblr and watching stupid Youtube videos or reading articles that you know will make you mad but what the fuck else do you have to do and the urge to click is just SO DAMN STRONG.
Seriously. It’s amazing.
I make my bed. I do yoga videos. (mental note, buy new yoga video.) I cook actual meals. I even occasionally BAKE y’all.
WHO THE FUCK AM I??
It’s crazy! I have all this time!
I read even more books than I used to. I started working on a cross stitch project I hadn’t touched in years. I’m learning more about photography. I take walks in the park. I
I just got a book on fonts from the library.
My journal and I are getting reacquainted.
And I’m starting to run again.
It’s amazing. Seriously. I had no idea how much time I spent falling down the rabbit hole of the internet until I had to go without it.
Now instead of getting sucked into clicking on everything, I walk into the library/coffee shop with a list of things I need to do: pay bills, order that book, google this question, email so and so. And when it’s done I go home. I’m much more focused now when I’m online, instead of jumping from one thing to another. (Unless it’s slow at work and I have 20 tabs open like right now)
Yeah sometimes I feel like I miss things, but if I don’t remember it the next day to look at it IT’S PROBABLY NOT THAT IMPORTANT!!!
So that’s #1.
And as for #2, it turns out that not having endless access to television is good for me. Emotionally. Spiritually. Grammatically.
Maybe this sounds like the weirdest thing ever, but when I watch a show for too long it really alters my mental state. Especially dramas– which is what I tend to watch most. I go to this melancholy ‘what does it all mean’ ‘nothing means anything’ ‘everything is SO DRAMATIC’ place and it can take me a while to snap out of it. When I get into a show I will ignore the entire rest of the world, and not in a ‘that’s kind of quirky’ way, in a ‘seriously kind of unhealthy way.’
I’m not saying tv is bad. I love tv. I am saying that I am a happier, more mentally stable person when I have limitations on my tv consumption. I am bad at limiting myself. I am bad at actually turning it off after 5 hours and going and doing something else. So only being able to watch 1 episode a few times during the week over my lunch break is good for me.
I have to DECIDE to watch a movie and what movie I want to watch, which is actually kind of refreshing alternative to the vastness of indecision I usually feel. And if I decide that I don’t to watch any movie enough to go down to the Redbox and get it, then I decide to do something else instead of spending 5 hours online looking for a movie to watch.
And instead of spending 2 hours finding that perfect gif I spend 20 minutes and CALL IT GOOD.
It’s this making a decision thing that is the biggest change. Instead of just taking the first thing that pops up on my screen I make conscious choices about how I spend my time.
The other thing is that being away from social media is actually really good for me. I love me some social media. I find it useful and interesting and amazing the way it connects people. But I can only be angry at the state of the world for so long before I just have to go gather some rosebuds while I may. I can only take so many reminders of the rape culture/patriarchy that we live in, so many frustrations at social injustice, so many voices tweeting in my ear before I have to get away and clear my head and remember that not EVERYTHING is going to hell in an actual handbasket.
Sometimes you gotta disconnect, y’all.
When I tell people that I am choosing not to have internet at home they look at me like
It’s actually a relief.
Turn off your internet, friends.
There IS life, it turns out, outside your apartment.
Go experience some of it.