I’m back! 🙂
Many of you won’t even have noticed that I was away. The Internet is a transient, extremely fickle friend. But that’s OK, we’re all like that. It’s only human.
And what is this ‘Internet’ that we all know and love, anyway? Yes, it is a global system of interconnected computer networks. But also, it’s a world wide, gigantic, connected web, comprised of many, many people. People just like us. Humans, all with very similar hopes, fears, foibles and despairs. It’s not just an impersonal machine, an unfeeling entity, it’s also human, and it’s amazing!
When I decided to forgo, for a mere seven days, the internet habits that I had developed over the last few years, I thought that it would be good for me. I thought it would be hard. I thought that it would leave my mind clear for more involvement with my family, for plodding on with my book, for more exercise, for a healthier mind/body balance to be restored.
My self-imposed social media ban has achieved all of those things. Almost.
The first day I found myself ‘accidentally’ checking messages as they pinged tantalisingly into my inbox. I had to be strict with myself, and give myself a good talking to. The evening stretched out endlessly before me, with no chance of a bit of light relief from funny cat videos, or a ‘banterous’ comment or two from a friend, (the best kind of comment!)
It was however, a less frantic few hours, and I enjoyed watching a film with my 13 yr old. We cuddled up together, under the plethora of fluffy sofa throws that I have somehow managed to accumulate. These days I need an excuse to cuddle up with my kids, (other parents of teens will verify this sad fact!) and the extreme cold of the Swiss winter provided that perfect excuse. She didn’t seem to mind though, and accepted our snugglelicous state with the ‘barely there’ smile of the secretly pleased, but outwardly disgusted, teenager.
The second day, I ‘accidentally’ sent a Twitter message to a friend. It was his birthday, and I couldn’t bring myself to ignore it. That would be rude.
As you can see, there was just a teensy amount of cheating going on here. What can I say? Can somebody give me a break, please? I’m an addict…..an addict I tell you! And I was really trying!
The next few days were easier. I even forgot where my phone was at one time. (I know!!) Something that would have been unheard of this time last year.
By the time Thursday came around, I was grappling with a literary crisis. So I messaged a friend on Facebook to ask for help. I didn’t have her email address, so it’s allowed, right? (emails really don’t count as ‘Social Media’ anymore, I have decided!)
She helped me to resolve my problem beautifully, and for that I thank her wholeheartedly. (She knows who she is!) 😀
Throughout the whole of my self-imposed ban, I have managed to get more work done, but not much more. I have written half a chapter of my book, which is not as much as I had hoped. I have made and decorated two cakes, and eaten a lot of cake! I have walked a lot more, and my back aches in protest.The remainder of the time was spent day-dreaming, houseworking, and walking into rooms, and trying to remember what the heck I was supposed to be doing in them.
I guess the old adage, “It is an undoubted truth, that the less one has to do, the less time one finds to do it in” [Lord Chesterfield] applies in reverse in my case. I did have more time, and I managed to fill it, with even more procrastination, than when I am procrastinating merrily on the Internet!
So, the problem lies with me, I can see that now. How little, or how often, I choose to connect to the World Wide Web, I am still part of it, and in a digital sense, part of life. Although I have at times missed having the usual contact with certain friends and family members, (living abroad you miss that!) I haven’t missed all the other flotsam and jetsam that gets shared constantly, or the sensory overload of (mostly) useless information. I suppose it’s all about getting the balance right, as with all aspects of life.
In conclusion, I have decided that being ‘connected’ isn’t just time-wasting. For me, it’s a really useful way of keeping in touch with people around the world that mean a lot to me. It’s just a tool, and as the old saying goes, “Only a bad workman blames his tools.” So, it’s up to us to make our tools work for us, in the way we need them, or want them, to work. And I for one, intend to carry on using this incredible tool of communication, but maybe employing a little more thought and discrimination in the future!
It’s 2015 peeps, let’s just embrace the digital world, and stop feeling guilty about spending as little, or as much time in it as we wish to. It can be beneficial, uplifting, educational, and a lifeline for the lonely and the housebound.
In the end it’s our choice.