Sunday, August 30, 2015

Unplugging from the Internet and Finding Happiness

One of the minimalist bloggers I follow talks about his choice to not have Internet at his home. It's true I don't own a television and I gave up my microwave, but I just couldn't imagine giving up our internet service. No Netflix? No quick access to email, Pinterest, or Facebook? How am I going to find time to go to the library or local coffee shop to blog?

At the end of July I found myself caught in a perfect financial storm. Child support, which I was used to getting weekly, switched to monthly payments, leaving me with a three week gap receiving no payments. That left me digging into the savings that was supposed to hold us over until the end of August, when I went back to work. On top of that, our pup, Julius, became very ill with parvovirus, even though he had two doses of the vaccine. I dropped him off at the vet not knowing how I was going to pay the bill. Fortunately, most of his vet expenses were covered by fundraising efforts thanks to my friend Erin. But I had to use money set aside to pay our internet provider toward his initial vet bill.

You can see where this is going. Yes, the Internet was disconnected. The thing is I don't know if I am going to have it reconnected. It has been about a month now, and, well, our home seems more peaceful without it. I will also save about $100 a month without it, or $1200 for the year. That money would look really nice sitting in a savings account.

I see positive changes in my son as well. He has been spending more time climbing trees and playing with Julius and our two chickens. Even with school starting, as soon as we are home he heads outside to run and play.

As for myself, I have been reading more. I picked up a copy of Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo at the thrift store probably well over a year ago, meaning to read it then. Last week I finally plucked it off my bookcase and read the whole thing in about three days. This used to be the norm.

Suddenly our days are filled with more time to do the things we enjoy. I am now aware of how much of our time has been sucked into that vast virtual world. Do I want to return to that? I don't think so. I am not anti-technology. I still have 4g on my cell phone, along with a Facebook app. I keep in contact with far away friends and family that way. Some of these friends I met online. Those connections are important. Not having internet in my home just means I only focus on using the technology that I see as important and my time isn't spent being distracted by unlimited ideas on Pinterest or wasting time browsing through Cake Wrecks, which I fully admit to doing.

I sit typing this on my IPad from the air conditioned comfort of my local library. If I so choose, I can go take a walk on the park trails surrounding the library. This is doable. I can live without Internet service in my home and remain virtually connected to the world. But I am also here in the real world, in real time. By disconnecting, I have become more connected.