Independence Day(s)

This was my Facebook status on Saturday morning:

Declaring my independence from the internet this weekend, and planning to be largely “off line” for the duration. See you on Tuesday!

Well, it’s Tuesday, and I’m back.

I periodically get overloaded on the internet – tired of being on it, tired of letting it suck away my time, tired of the technology buzz that makes my brain feel frazzled, tired of the mild ache I’m starting to get in my right wrist from “mousing.”  I’ve written about it before, but my efforts to make  long-term changes in my habit have not been very successful.

I also get tired of watching other people on the internet, particularly someone who lives with me (and I don’t mean Magic or Molly). My husband has become an internet addict, and now that he has an iPad and a spiffy new Android phone, his face is constantly buried in some electronic gadget or the other.

Constantly.

So occasionally I get fed up and throw my hands (and my mouse) into the air and scream “Enough!” It’s like when we were kids and our mothers would turn off the television, stand in front of it with their hands on their hips and say, “No more of this! You go outside in the fresh air and play and don’t come back until dinner!”

I went out and played over the weekend.  The air was indeed fresh, the grass was green, the birds were happy. We attended an outdoor concert at Greenfield Village, where we were treated to some great music by The Detroit Symphony (or what’s left of it since the strike has sent half the players off hither and yon) plus a gorgeous fireworks display.  I bought some more flowers for my yard, and finally found a little stone garden bench for the back garden. I walked the dogs.

I made some phone calls I’d been putting off – arranged to have the trees trimmed, researched some places for Carpet Cleaning Marble Falls,  Carpet Cleaning Westlake, and

Everyday I hauled a lawn chair into the middle of the backyard, poured myself a tall glass of iced tea, plopped in a fresh lemon slice, and read/napped for about two hours.

Most of all, I felt less harried, less agitated, although my fingers did itch to check my Facebook, email, Twitter, blogs….I just shoved my hands in my pockets when I walked by the computer room, and I hid the iPad under my (very heavy) mattress. Really, I did. Oh, okay, I cheated a time or two, but only for a minute!

But I also realized that I’m  tied to the internet in an enormous and irrevocable amount of ways.  There’s work, of course. There’s business – banking and bill paying. There’s communication (being off the internet meant I wasn’t around for impromptu Skype chats with my friend in China). There’s information -about family (seems I “communicate” more with my son and daughter in law via Facebook or Twitter than any other way), about the world, the weather, the TV and movie schedule, the restaurant menu….I use the internet pretty exclusively for ALL of those things.

Though I sometimes think about chucking it completely, I really don’t think it’s possible anymore – at least not for me.

So today, I’m back to the usual internet frenzy.  But I’m hoping that a little bit of the fortitude I demonstrated over the weekend will stick, at least through the summer, and I can tear myself away for significant periods of the day.

Because my lawn chair is still waiting patiently in the cool shade of the maple tree.

How about you? Is there anything in your life you’d like to declare your independence from?

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19 thoughts on “Independence Day(s)

  1. Good for you! I know that had to take a lot of effort, to divorce yourself from technology for the weekend. 🙂 I work with technology 8 to 10 hours per day and then I like to go home and enjoy technology. Blogging, Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook are all part of being connected to the BORG online. Yes, we have been assimilated and now we think we can not live unless we are connected. Do you remember the day when we would pick up the telephone and call someone? What about writing a letter long hand, stuffing the envelope and putting it in the mail box. Are those days a part of our history? I think that moderation is the key. I can not allow technology to consume every waking moment of the day. I also have to make sure that it does not become something I idolize or worship.

  2. Isn’t it crazy – I work on a computer all day at the office, and then come home and immediately get on my computer here. A little sick;)

    Ah yes, moderation is indeed the key to EVERYTHING. I don’t consider myself an addictive personality (except maybe when it comes to potato chips), but I find it really easy to get addicted to technology.

  3. I think you did a great thing! I need breaks too. This robot that sits on my desk makes me crazy at times. But thankfully I know when to quit. I met a young man the other day in his mid-twenties who told me that he’d just as soon die if the internet ever went down for good. That’s quite a statement!

  4. I can believe that sentiment of a twenty-something. And younger people will be even more addicted.

    Good for you for keeping a firm grip on the real world!

  5. Well, here I am still at the office and checking my iThingy quickly for any new emails when I see the email alert that “Becca” has posted. Gotta rush back to my desk to take a quick peek before doing something else. Glad I can get posts on my office computer, they were blocked for so long and only recently opened up so that I don’t have to use my little iThingy for posting comments.

    My wife, the lovely Miss TK, will stare at me sometimes at home when I am sitting in the LazyBoy watching TV, laptop cruising thru the cyber posts, iThingy dinging that I have a Tweet, etc. The funny thing is she is giving me the evil eye as she looks up from her little HP Notebook after checking her FB and online comics.

    We are probably not addicted, just as I would not say I’m addicted to a glass of wine, but, I do have a daily glass and would certainly not be all that happy without one.

    Ah well, we have met the evil Borg and it is us….Alas.

  6. For some reason this reminded me of a great quotation by Kris Constable, an internet privacy and security consultant:

    “Never mistake yourself for Facebook’s customer. You are the product they sell to their customers.”

    Which is just one reason I’m not there. 😉

  7. So pleased to be your Skypeing China Friend – the Internet is a Life Line at this early stage
    in our placement, that’s for SURE! Always a pleasure to ‘communicate’ with you, no matter what the venue, Mz. Becca!

  8. When the baby arrives, you will get back to basics occasionally. Snail mail will return to your life because kids love mail – real mail. You will write sweet notes on funny cards that remind her/him how much Grandma is thinking of her/him. Red, white and blue Independence Day t-shirts, Easter Bunnies and wonderful books will be carefully wrapped and taken to the post office. You will love it. Yes, you’ll Skype and all the rest, but it will not replace the excitement of going to the mailbox and finding a real package or card from Grandma.

    I took a break from technology last weekend, too. I sat on the deck and listened to a book. I could hardly move once I settled in. We all need to remind ourselves that there are other things in life.

    • I love the idea of sending packages and letters to the grandchild, and I’m glad to know kids still like getting mail! I wondered if they preferred e-mail and texts! They probably make cell phones for toddlers…wouldn’t surprise me at all.

      I loved my un-plugged time. I need to make more it.

  9. Sometimes it is hard to image that our generation did grow up WITHOUT computers and the internet, isn’t it? As a kid I used to think that those Star Trek walkie talkies were the coolest thing ever, could not imagine to ever communicate that way in my lifetime, and here we are … glued to our wireless cell phones and various other devices like they are an extension of us that would be too painful to cut off! Like you I love technology for how it allows us to connect with our friends and family far away, it has even helped my mother and I feel closer than ever before. But I also get internet overload and regularly reach a point where I feel overstimulated and need to take a break. My breaks are never official though and probably not long enough. In any case, I am glad you are back! 🙂

  10. I simply can’t imagine what technology has in store for the NEXT generation! I have to admit, it’s exciting to think about 🙂

    But, contrary to the old saying, sometimes you CAN have too much of a good thing, which is why I occasionally need to go “old school.” I even feel like writing letters once in a while…you know, the kind you put in an envelope and give to the postman? lol

  11. I am doing much the same as you, but at the lake — right now I’m borrowing internet, but since it’s not at home, and I’m also checking work things, I really haven’t had the time to check in on my friends the way I’d like!

    Your holiday sounds just wonderful — especially the concert!

  12. I recently unsubscribed from all my Facebook notifications via email. Except when someone posts on my wall. I like to be notified via email about that to monitor spam. But I realized that my email inbox was flooded (I even use filters and folders) and I was getting overwhelmed. Especially now that I get email on my phone. I’m trying to be more deliberate about Facebook and Twitter — only checking at certain times a day… instead of reacting every time a new notice arrives.

    • I recently upgraded to an Android phone, so now I get email and internet on the phone, too. I held out on that for a long time, but finally gave in.

      Deliberately checking in at specific times…yeah, that’s a good idea…we’ll see how that works 😉

  13. Dear B, I applaud your freedom-from-the-internet weekend. It makes a HUGE difference to go away from it for even a day. And to sit in your own backyard? Hardly anyone does that anymore. And isn’t it lovely? The green of it is so reviving. (of course I wondered what book you were reading out there under the trees…?)

    as for escaping something, or rather something I’d like to escape? coffee. I am chained to thoughts of it early in the a.m. and later in the eveing (as reward). I would like to escape it but can’t quite talk myself out of it. And the other thing? the kitchen. Yes, I’d like to escape the kitchen. If only it weren’t the first room (well, the 2nd) that I walk through upon coming home from work….

    However, I bought HM a grill for his birthday and I BELIEVE that is starting to turn things around, at least for the summer. He’s a heck of a BBQr and it gets me out of the kitchen, which, as you know, is a place where we spend a heck of a lot of time.

    BTW, glad your symphony is still playing! Ours in STL is experiencing (again) some of the same problems. They are morphing their programs in order to get us all there, but wow, it’s a long and difficult haul for the true musician.

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