5 Things I Learned From a Month Without Internet

I finally have internet in my home again! I officially went a month without internet, including data on my phone. I Image result for internetwas going into work early to use the wifi there as well as using libraries, cafes and McDonalds to answer emails, post blogs, listen to my DBT class and stay connected.

Probably about halfway through the month I really began to ponder what having internet access meant to me and what had I learned about myself and the society I live in. This was especially important as I have been experiencing a depression this whole month and I believe limited internet access played a small role in maintaining the depression.

5 Things I Learned From a Month Without Internet

1. The majority of my social supports are based online.

I am a part of two DBT Facebook Groups, I have my DBT class, my blog and connections through email and Facebook that all serve as a way for me to receive support, give support and express myself. For many of us, online support has given us access to help we couldn’t get in our communities or it expands our communities. Being able to find affordable and effective online support has been an asset for many who experience mental and addiction issues. Without the internet, I had very limited access to the online supports that I had come to rely on. When I was upset, instead of turning to my blog or a Facebook Group, I would write on my computer. This is a good strategy, but I needed someone to talk to.

2. I use the internet for every little thing.

Aside from not having internet in my home, I also did not have data on my phone (I used it all)! This went beyond not being able to use Facebook or email on my phone, but it also meant that I could not use my maps app! I found myself frequently calling my parents, sisters or B to give me directions or find a new location for a meeting. I even needed them to check opening and closing times for the library as I kept finding out it was closed when I got there (huge waste of time). I didn’t have a fast way of checking my online banking either which is not the greatest. A lot of work basically did not happen because I had no internet. I have a lot of catching up to do!

3. There are other ways to occupy my time.

This seems like a no-brainer but for a bit I found myself sitting on the couch having no idea what to do. Even my tv watching is done using the internet (Netflix) so I went back to DVD’s. I have basically watched everything I own (which isn’t a lot but still). I did a lot of reading and did writing for the sake of writing, not writing to share with others (which felt good). B and I also did a lot of talking and played some games together of his Play Station 3. There are many other things to do that do not involve the internet! Actual human interaction :p

4. A fair number of places have free wifi.

This was an adventure to figure out and not something I really enjoyed doing, but it is great to know that a fair number of places in my city have free wifi. I found myself at the library, McDonalds, Starbucks, Tim Hortons and certain subway stations. While venturing to these places can be a hassle, not many may have the option of going out for free wifi!

5. Our society is online.

I spoke about myself in the first 4 points, but really I realized how digital our entire society is. The majority of our communication is online. We get our news, work updates, social time and more online. Many errands have become easier because of the internet (ie: doing your banking online). I don’t even think I could properly express with words how fast the reach of the internet is in our lives. It is simply everywhere.

It was good to unplug for the month, although it was a very depressing and lonely month for me. I am glad to be back online and hope to never experience something like this again unless it is something I choose!

 

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8 thoughts on “5 Things I Learned From a Month Without Internet

  1. I don’t know how I would be able to actually cope without the internet for many of the same reasons. I connect with so many people on a daily basis and I take part in so many different supports for mental health and chronic pain all on the internet.
    It’s such a solid part of all our lives now that I can’t imagine what it would be like without it.

  2. Oh you are sooo adorable! I have to give you my, “when I was a little girl” speech. We (Almost all in the first world countries) had black and white TV till I was in high school, in the 70’s. If you changed the channel, you got off you butt and turned it. Then there where the “rabbit ears”. You moved them around till the picture was better, although most of the time it sucked. Out doors was so much more fun. All banking required a visit to the bank, a long line, and lots of patients. I love that I can go to the bank now and not have to wait.
    Our one phone in the house was on the kitchen wall to the left of the kitchen sink. Mom had her chair their and she was the only one allowed to use it, unless there was an emergency, or if grandma called, and that conversation was always short. “Here, give me back the phone”, mom would say. We also had party lines. You know, when you share the phone with several neighbors? Now THAT was entertainment!!! if the folks talking didn’t hear you breathing and screech at you to get off the line that is. If mom was not home, and my siblings were not around, I always checked that phone! I remember my stomach churning as I thought, “if I get caught I am going to get into sooo much trouble”; I never did πŸ™‚ That adrenaline rush was like hang gliding is now.
    The GPS saved my life! I could not find my way out of a should box; that what my gf tells me. The humiliation of it was embarrassing. So i Love my GPS!
    My dad worked aerospace and often came home with, these calculators the size of a couple bigass cookbooks. It was not long before they were making solar calculators; watching the progress of things as an older person, and seeing young people survive without these things now, makes me giggle and think, Jeeeze, How DID we do all that when we were young! Where was the time!
    My grand parents were one of the first to have Model T’s. They would take the family out every Sunday and have picnics at the lake. But can you imagine the first people who took air flights? Or imagine what the poor cavemen had to deal with! HAHAHA!
    Have you ever studied the history of women’s rights in your country? Now those are some awesome studies.
    As a mostly house bound person for several years now, computers are awesome. They keep me connected, like here.
    So I thank you and thank Bill Gates for making my life a little more enjoyable!

    • Dee! What ana amazing story! I’m glad you shared it!!!! My Mom and Grandma have shared similar stories with me, especially since my Grandma grew up in a more rural area. I’m sure it is amazing to look back and see how technology has changed over the years. I still remember the day I walked into a Blockbuster (all of which are now closed in Canada) and realized all of the VHS tapes were gone and replaced with DVD’s. It was a little unsettling. Even going from a walkman, to a discman, to an mp3 player, to an ipod and now my phone to play music. The fact that music is even an electronic file instead of on a disc!

      I have studied the history of women’s rights in my country and it is amazing to see how women use technology now for political action and stay connected with each other πŸ™‚

  3. Very nice reflection on life in this internet age Kristen. When I am without internet or my smart phone for a short amount of time (i.e. if I should forget it!), I initially panic, but then I find myself realizing that not everything is the “emergency” that it seems to be when we have the ability to make instant contact. For a few hours here and there, I remember what it was like in the days of the FRIENDS tv show… where people hung out and TALKED in coffee shops instead of stared at their phones. Those moments are a refreshing break.

    That being said, the internet makes so much more possible, and I wouldn’t trade many of those things in.

    I think it’s nice to occasionally get a break – whether planned or unintentional, like your experience.

    • Yes! The initial panic! As time went on I felt more calm because I wasn’t constantly plugged in. I do miss talking to others and hanging out. I have foud it strange that I feel almost just as fulfilled connecting online as when I connect with others in-person. Like you, I wouldn’t trade the internet :p

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