DISCONNECTED – THE EXPERIMENT

Do you remember life before internet? As a daughter of an IT guy (yeah, my dad is kinda like a less funny version of Roy from IT Crowd) I have to say that I do NOT. I don’t even remember life without computers in general, which is pretty sad, considering that I will be 30 in a couple years. Computer was just always “there,” as far as I can remember. Once it was just a keyboard connected to a casette player, then it was a small box with two joypads and then finally it was that grey big box with a huge screen connected to it, larger than our TV, with old Windows 3.1 (yes, I remember Windows 3.1, I am THAT OLD, haha). I never watched TV that much (except morning shows for kids during the weekends), but PC was always present in our house and later even in mine and my brother’s room (we always shared a room, first time I experienced living in my very own room was at the age of 26 after I got divorced, haha, until then I always had to share room with someone). But I wasn’t too much into computers until the age of 14-15, when I went to highschool for graphic design. At that time I was already familiar with Corel Draw (3.0 and later 5.0) and I was quite good at it for my age. I was even helping my dad with some graphics for work and I was giving advices to our teacher at school who was not sure about how to work with vectors, cause his major was programming. Then the era of chats started and all I was doing during the afternoons after school was visiting different chatrooms and chat with strange people. (I had a boyfriend all my highschool and I never even considered starting some kind of “virtual romance,” but many of my classmates did and it was CRAZY!!!)

When I was 18 I joined infamous forum Siemensmania.cz and started expressing myself in the cell phone hacking area. I loved this kind of stuff, never been a girly girl with my hobbies, so patching, hacking and tuning my cellphone and discussing it with like minded boys over the forum was my everyday bread for YEARS. Then I got married, Siemensphones slowly faded away (too bad, those were THE BEST ONES) and I turned to PC gaming for quite a while. After work I went home to play my games (Myst, Uru, Witcher, Spore, Dragon Age or even simple Solitaire that I was able to play for HOURS while listening to some music), totally disconnected from a real world outsite. Somewhere around that time my youtube addiction started and I discovered make-up tutorials, which consumed both my time and my money. It was just a step away from discovering fitness area online, paleo community and of course – Facebook. The biggest time consuming element I can imagine.

Hours of random youtube videos kept me busy all weekends, still playing hours and hours of Witcher while my husband was at work doing nightshifts, and sometimes during weekends I didn’t even go to bed or have something to eat, because I was too busy playing or “youtubing.” When I started my first blog, it was because I wanted to be a part of that online world, but I had nothing to blog about, so I left it pretty soon, forgotten under the pile of other blogs that are floating around the web without purpose. With the release of Android phones, everything got even easier. I didn’t use my phone for internet before, ever. But immediatelly I was able to check my e-mails, tweet, read Facebook updates, post Instagram photos, read paleo feeds, chat via gtalk… and somewhere in all that mess I forgot what it was like to come home from work and actually HAVE FREE TIME! I mean, what were we all doing after school and after work BEFORE INTERNET? I will tell you…

We had LIVES to live. We had friends to go out with, families to take care of, hobbies to enjoy, people to meet, trips to plan, places to visit and gatherings to attend. Unlike today, we were way more social and we had way more free time. Social networks are called “social,” but they bring way more isolation than quarantine rooms in a hospital. (I remember playing Theme Hospital for hours, taking care of those patients, almost desperate that some of them were dying because of bloated heads…) I resisted creating a Facebook account for pretty long time and then when I finally got one, it was such a boring thing to me, that I deleted it a few months later. I got a new one after I moved to Prague alone, so I could stay connected with my friends and family at home. But instead, FB turned into something I constantly had to check like every minute to read the lastest updates, messages, friend requests… My boyfriend contacted me via Facebook even before he talked to me in real life, so that is one credit I give to Facebook… :)

Quite a while ago I decided that I will keep my friends list VERY short and I will only keep people I truly wanna have in my life and I wanna be in contact with, like my closest friends and family. I don’t even have all family members in my list, and they do have FB. I just don’t wanna read my cousin’s drunk whining and see where she is totally wasted, no thank you. I don’t need to add my boyfriend’s cousin, I respect him as exactly who he is, my boyfriend’s cousin, but I do not consider us friends. I really don’t see a point of accepting a request of my old classmates I haven’t seen for 10 years, just because we shared a class twenty years ago and she probably would not even recognize me on the street nowadays. I found out that people react pretty emotionally when you remove them from the friends list for no reason. Whenever I do that, I get messages like: “What have I done wrong? I don’t remember saying anything mean to you! Why did you delete me?” Calm down, people! This is not about you! This is about me and my preference, if we do NOT comunicate on a daily bases and I do not think you contribute positively in my life, I do not need to keep you on a “friends list!” Get over it, it is JUST FACEBOOK!!! I always try to explain to them, but many times they do not understand. But I don’t care anymore. My profile, my rules. My life, my decisions.

What I do today? I wake up in the morning, check my e-mails in my phone because usually the envelope icon appears on the screen over night, then I get ready for work and leave the house. When my boyfriend has a morning shift, he is already gone so I turn my PC on and play some youtube videos while getting my eye makeup on, also check my FB while on the computer. On my way to work, I check my FB too, on those days when my boy has an evening shift and is still sleeping so I am not turning my PC on because I do not wanna wake him up. After I arrive to work, I turn my PC on there, log in to my work gmail and turn on my FB to have it on a background all day so I can constantly chat, check new stuff, share, comment and like all day. All day I chat with my boyfriend via google talk on my phone. During lunch break I check my e-mails, read some posts, newsletters and facebook stuff, browse my favorite paleo sites for new posts or recipes, read some news, gossips… and when I arrive home from work, first thing I do it turn my PC on and open FB again.

I don’t wanna do that anymore, I need less of this. Even though FB is the only way to stay in contact with my two girls, Indre and Vita, there is no way I am letting FB take over my free time away from computer. I used to read a lot. I used to workout a lot more. I used to do much more stuff AFK than I do now, and lately all I do is check my FB. Even at work when I am not sitting at my desk, I check FB from my phone. ENOUGH. Sometimes I give myself a FB weekend off, and I always like it A LOT. Today this idea formed in my head to try the whole WEEK (7 days!) without internet access. Which means, no Facebook, no forums, no youtube, no nothing. There should be some exceptions, and I will talk about those below. I do not remember days before being online all the time and I think this will be a fun reminder of what FREE TIME actually means.

I still have to use my computer at work and I have to work online sometimes (googling stuff or so), so I cannot 100% disconnect, and because I am still unfamiliar with local buses and trains, I will still use some android apps to find me a bus home. Rules should probably be like this.

For a week (7 days), starting Monday 14th October, I will disconnect my home PC from the internet and I will NOT use it for the complete 7 days. At work, I will only use internet for job purposes, no personal uses. On my phone I will only use e-banking app, bus app and google talk to message with my boyfriend (I have to do that, not because of the app, but because of HIM, if you know me a bit, you know why). I can use my phone to do regular phonecalls and text messages of course. I can only check my e-mails at work (cause my home PC will be disconnected) and only during lunch break. I will only read and deal with IMPORTANT e-mails, ignoring things like newsletters, ads, spams… everything that can be delayed. My tablet will stay turned OFF for the whole week. No instagram, no youtube. I can read on my Kindle though, but only stuff that is already in there, no browsing the Kindle store! So basically my PC will be only used as a TV :) I can’t even ask other people to “google that for me,” and for every cheat I make, I will have to add one day of internet break to the week. Sounds fun, huh?

I will make notes and build a blogpost based on them on Monday 21st October (in case I will have no additional days). Once I am done with this “internet break,” I will evaluate it and consider if there are any things I can get rid of permanently (e-mail subscriptions, accounts, website shortcuts, Youtube channels..). I expect to have a great time during my disconnected week and I am looking forward to enjoy my free time the old way, the better way.

This experiment is lightly based on my experience with Primal Connection book I recently read, which I will for sure review soon. I wanna read throught it once again before I do that, but I have so much stuff to read right now, it will be done till the end of the year though. ;)

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  • tee_w

    Nice, have a great breather!