Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Internet-free at home.

I write a blog. I bank online. I use email all the time. I need internet for my schoolwork. Apart from necessity, there are many things about the internet that I love. However, I decided that I would make a fairly large change concurrent with moving into my apartment, and I no longer have internet at home. I have internet available to me for free at work, at school, and at the public libraries, and I can also run around the corner to a sweet little cafe on occasion and have a coffee and use the wireless there. It is a huge savings for me, financially - the major companies are selling their wireless internet at between $45 and $75 a month. I would have to go to a coffee shop about 15 times a month (at $3.50 a time for a drink) to come close to that amount.

It's also a huge savings mentally. One of my worst habits of the last few years has been to get sucked into the useless parts of the internet for hours on end. Internet and TV are two things over which I have very little self-control (perhaps from growing up without either), and I have wasted countless hours of my life watching inane things on YouTube or looking at Failblog. Not good. It's only been a week and a half, and already I feel like my brain is in a better place.

I am building new habits as a result of this decision. If I am at home and think of something I need to look up on the internet, I just add it to the running list I keep in my planner. Then, next time I am somewhere with internet, I look it up. Instead of checking online for the next bus arrivals, I looked up and wrote down the ID numbers of the stops nearest my place. I can call from my apartment, put in the ID number, and figure out when the next bus will arrive. The main thing I miss about having internet at home is the ability to watch movies (I was using Netflix instant play). For $7.99 a month, I added the one-DVD-at-a-time mailing service, so I still have plenty of access to movies (and a far better selection available to me than what you can get through the streaming service) in addition to what the public library has to offer.

I also have to get out of the house more- if I need to use the internet on the weekend, I have to go to the library and be surrounded by people, or to a coffee shop or to campus. If I feel I need internet at night, tough luck- I can watch a movie or read a book (or better yet, do homework) to fill my time instead. It makes me plan ahead more, and think about what things I need to get done while internet is available to me, like online readings for school, or downloading articles in PDF form so I can read them later at home. It slows me down, and I like that.

I have also noticed that now, living alone, I am more likely to pay attention to those around me when I am in public, and to actually have conversations with cashiers or people on the bus. I used to always listen to my iPod on the bus ride, and to not really talk with customer service folks at stores, but now I find myself compelled to be more engaged with those around me. I have always been a bit old-fashioned, but lately I really have hated being "plugged in." I have no desire to have a smart phone (I still have a good old flip phone, and will probably have one for as long as they keep making them)--we got along fine before internet and cell phones, and while they are both ingenious and useful inventions, just because they are available doesn't mean we need to have access to them every second of every day.


Alina Harway said...

Josh and I had an internet-free home the entire time we lived in that house on Salmon street. My co-workers thought it was insane, but I often miss the lifestyle it helped us adopt.
Love reading how it is helping you engage and stay focused. It's getting me inspired to go for another stint!

Laurel said...

I would go internet free at home. But my marriage would fail. And I'd rather have a happy mariage compared to a slightly less unplugged life.