There have been both costs and benefits to giving up the internet. Let's start with the benefits:
Benefits to Getting Off the Internet:
- I got to know my neighbors a little. Being off the computer meant I was more attuned to what was going on right outside my back door. So I spotted my neighbors outside and went to go talk to them, more than once!
- I read a book: A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard. I picked it up after reading Room (Emma Donaghue), a novel about an abducted woman living in her abductor's backyard, written from the perspective of her son, born into this captivity. That book was fascinating - I couldn't put it down. Reading Jaycee Dugard's book was just depressing. She actually lived through it, and as her education ended with her kidnapping in the 5th grade, the book seems like it was written by a child. It's just sad and hard to read at times. But I'm glad I read it, nonetheless.
- I noticed that I'm able to focus a little better. Before limiting my internet time, it was common to have my computer in my lap while watching TV or eating a meal. Without that option, I found myself doing one thing at a time, whether it was reading a magazine, eating lunch, or crocheting.
- I played the piano more and started learning two new songs - And So It Goes by Billy Joel and In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel.
- Ted and I started working on crossword puzzles again. This is something we did a lot when we first started dating, and it was nice to put the computers away and dominate some crosswords together. Team Holland!
Costs to Getting Off the Internet:
- I really missed reading my favorite blogs! Being new to Oxford, I don't have many friends yet... so I spend a lot of time by myself on my days off. Blogs make me feel connected to people, even if they're people I don't know. A well-written blog makes you feel like you actually know the person writing it. So right now these blogs are like conversations with my friends!
- As I mentioned in an earlier post, you can learn a lot from the internet. I missed browsing around and finding new projects to try, and I missed being able to look something up right away when I "needed" it. I also get a lot of ideas from the web; in a couple weeks we're hosting a Dia de los Muertos party, and I wanted to get on the internet for food, decorating, and music ideas. OK, I cheated one time yesterday when I got online to order some papel picado and talavera skull candles.... but I wanted to make sure I'd have them in time for the party!
- Finally, I watch most of my TV on the computer. I cheated in this area, too, as I watched a lot of Netflix on our TV this week. Even though I wasn't on the computer, technically I was using the internet. Like blogs, watching certain shows makes me feel a little less lonely. As pitiful as it sounds, some characters can feel like old friends. Especially Jim and Pam of The Office and Jess, Nick, Winston, and Schmidt of New Girl. (If you haven't watched New Girl, I highly recommend it. Even Ted thought it was funny.)
And that's it. I hope you weren't expecting any earth-shattering insights!
I do feel that I have a new appreciation for the internet after taking some time off. It's not so bad after all. Moving forward, I'll try to be more conscious of how much time I'm spending on the internet, especially when Ted is home. But I think a balance is possible!