Yesterday I did something radical.
I spent the day (well most of it) with no connection to the outside. Newsweek published an article in their August 10th edition entitled Technology: Is it making addicts of us all?
It went on to say “Next year, for the first time, “Internet use disorder’ will be listed in the appendix of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.”
So now it’s a disorder.
I love technology. I love the internet. I love that the whole world is at my fingertips. I am a knowledge seeker and I think it’s cooler than crap that I can just google something and instantly know the answer where previously I would have just scratched my head in curiosity and went about my business. But if I want to know if EK is developing on target. Bam! If I want to know how to finish a seam without a serger. Bam. If I want to know how much money is in my bank account. Bam. If I want to know how many calories I’m supposed to eat and be able to lose a pound a week. Bam.
The internet has helped me raise chickens. It’s helping me raise my kid. It finds better words for me when I’ve used the word helped too much. With the internet I can put my thoughts out there for the world to critique and I can pay my bills on time with online bill pay. And then there’s the whole social networking thing. Yes, I’m speaking of Facebook. Before that there was myspace, and before that there were chat rooms and forums. It helps me have friends on my own terms.
So yeah, I like technology.
I’m on my computer a lot. And if I’m not on my computer, I’m on my phone. But I don’t want to be addicted. I don’t want to be mastered by it. I do not want to have a pathological relationship with my devices. According to the Newsweek article, internet addicts are considered those who are online more than 38 hours a week. That’s about 5.5 hours a day (and I didn’t have to google that). In addition, brain scans of these people can resemble those of cocaine addicts and alcoholics due to a shot of dopamine the reward center of our brain receives each time we receive instant gratification of a text, tweet, email alert etc.
Internet addict? That’s me.
So I asked for my husband’s help and told him my plan of spending a day unplugged. I sweetly asked him to take my phone and my computer with him when he left for work the next day. Yes, I’m that weak. Well, guess what? He didn’t. So yesterday morning, I was faced with the moral dilemma of “should I really go through with this or wait until another time?” I decided to forge ahead and standing on a very tall stool, I grievously put my “devices” in the top of my bedroom closet and began my day.
I’m not going to lie to you. It was tough. The first thing I wanted to do was check the weather on my weather app, but instead I stepped outside. Brilliant idea, huh?
I couldn’t call anyone, I couldn’t text anyone.
At one point, I thought I smelled a grassfire. Like an Indian brave, I scanned the horizon, sniffing the wind. I got nothing. Oh well, guess I’ll evacuate when I see the flames.
Throughout the day, my mind was “online”.
But it was oh-so-good for me.
- Emma and I had a fun day because I wasn’t distracted a bit by anything else.
- During her naps, my house got a wee bit cleaner.
- I had supper cooked by 3:00.
- I wrote this blog out long handed and awoken my middle finger callous. He’s been sleeping way too long anyway.
- I prayed longer and more often.
- I spent more time outdoors, despite the wind.
- I held my baby and tried to imagine a few years down the road when she won’t want to be held and I’ll wish I had this day back.
I felt refreshed, lightened, un-cluttered. So much so, that I’m going to try to make it a once a week occurrence.
J-Dub returned home around 4:30. He claimed he hadn’t forgotten to take my devices, he just knew I could do it. Then arose the question of “when is my unplugged day over?” Is it when my husband came home and theoretically brought my devices back to me? Is it 24 hours front the time I decided to do it? Is it at midnight? I decided for no good reason, that at 8:30 my unplugged day would be over.
And I got my fix.
You want to know what I discovered?
I hadn’t missed a thing.