The Internet Experiment: Unplugged 24 Hours

I wish I could say it was easy.

I wish I was one of those people who engages and connects with physical things and not so much more with cyber things.

I wish I could say it didn’t change me, but it did…..

You wouldn’t think it would. A mere 24-hours with no access to games, Facebook, or email. No big deal, right? Normal people do it every day.

Do you know the last time I was without internet access? Before my laptop days…..before my smart phone days…..too long ago to really remember.

It makes me realize how I traded out one set of addictions for another (theory of my life).

The good news is…I did it.

I shut down the Mac. I powered off the iPhone and I put it on a shelf for 24-hours.

In fact, I left my phone on the shelf and left town. It was not even in my possession.

In a way I think I cheated a little. I knew I would be in a car for 6 hours of the 24, and in my defense, I have service during those three hours. But isn’t it a little easier to entertain oneself in the car versus a regular every day? Probably…

At 8pm, I faced the unknown. What do I do with NO social networking? No screen to tap. No notifications to review. I felt really bitchy twitchy. I felt a little out-of-body. I tried watching TV, but I just couldn’t get into it. Finally, Sydney, Brandon, and I went to out to eat. We left Jason on his Mac (no fasting for him!). Upon return, we fired up RockBand and I banged out my frustrations on the drums (such a great stress reliever). We actually toured with our band and did pretty well.

I went to bed EARLY, and the next morning…it wasn’t so bad. We left for Oklahoma to see my mom. I read a book (and darn near finished it). I tried not to look at Jason or Sydney’s phone. I was a little fearful I would SNATCH it from their hands and begin tap tap tapping the screen. I had to hold my fingertips close to my chest. Thankfully, I never embarrassed myself in the heat of an iPhone moment.

I watched the clock most of the day, and hated myself for it.

Sydney and Brandon watched ME most of the day (to see if I’d break down? Cry? Convulse?).

I did none of those things. I imagined life without an iPhone and internet service. I imagined the olden days when I lived in the country and we did not even have cable.

We explored the creek beds. We played board games. We talked. We listened. We had friends and family we visited in person.

Maybe, at the end of this experiment, I realized…….there are a lot of issues about the operation of my life I need to examine.

I’ll be honest. I really didn’t miss much. In fact, I probably missed the internet more than it missed me.

There were certainly some emails I expected to get that I didn’t.

It was disappointing…..yes…..but also, life enhancing.

I don’t have to be addicted to anything. I can put my phone down for a day.

I can disappear and it’s ALL okay.

I thought this post would come out differently. I planned this post to be funny. Amazing what happens when you are faced with yourself and nothing in between you and your soul.

I highly urge you to unplug one day, and just see what happens to the you that is waiting there.

“Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become. -Unknown

24 thoughts on “The Internet Experiment: Unplugged 24 Hours

  1. It is so important to do this. We have days on the weekend where no one is allowed to touch their phone unless it rings, and it is hard, for sure.

    I totally hear you on that “trading one addiction for another” thing. I’ve seen it happen to many people around me and I know it has happened with me at certain points in my life.


  2. You are pretty awesome for doing this. I need to try this sometime this year, I believe I have done it once–when the power was out, haha. Very refreshing. :)


  3. You beat me to the blog punch as I was going to post the suggestion “we” all try it. I too remember the days before cable when I would stand outside with a big wrench and turn the t.v. antenna until my dad inside shouted, “THAT”S GOOD!” My first house was in a remote area and for a while I was still on a party line! In the end I suffered – none. I’m going to take your idea and run with it this weekend. I’ll share my own experiences as well.


  4. I’m proud of you! I’d definitely like to put myself up to this challenge someday soon. It’s weird to think I’ve lived in a world with no Internet, cell phones only for the absolute richest people, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Pinterest, etc. and I actually survived! ;) It would be quite difficult to go back to that life now, unfortunately, but you’ve inspired me to try it at least for a day or two!


  5. So proud of you.
    I did this a few times last year. One was for an entire week when we went camping far up in Northern Canada…with the bears and moose and they haven’t set up WiFi.
    It was weird and sure I did cringe at the thought of exploding emails and such but for the most part I was happy. Really really happy.


  6. I have to tell you, I was a little worried for my safety at times! Seriously though, our current definition of “social networking” is completely askew from when we were kids — does every generation say that? When you talk of unplugging I’m reminded of the movie Wall-E. Does anyone else get that? The movie is really a robot’s love story. The robot was put into that situation as humanity was so involved in “things” that they’ve ruined the world. Eventually we turned into space babies, connected to each other and consuming whatever was pitched at us.

    I read an interview with Andrew Stanton, the director of Wall-E, where he summed up the subplot of future humanity. “I realized that that’s a perfect metaphor for real life. We all fall into our habits, our routines and our ruts, consciously or unconsciously to avoid living. To avoid having to do the messy part. To avoid having relationships with other people. of dealing with the person next to us. That’s why we can all get on our cell phones and not have to deal with one another. I thought, ‘That’s a perfect amplification of the whole point of the movie.’ ”

    It’s hard to put things down and deal with life. I admire you for taking a 24-hour step in that direction.


  7. I do break my day up. Mornings are for reading blogs, email, news and Facebook. I usually read a magazine when I have lunch – now that I have the iPad, however, I’m transferring paper subscriptions to digital where possible. When I watch (the word “watch” being used loosely) TV I knit. Of course, I get my patterns online. When I go to bed, I read books. On my Nook. And the iPad is always at hand in case I need to look something up. So here I was, feeling quite righteous, but my whole life really is electronic, isn’t it? Amazing how that is.


  8. I think it’s easier to unplug when you know you’re going to be busy doing things. Like say, on a vacation or something like that. It is kinda scary though how much we depend on the internet and social media!


  9. For some, if you still think of the internet as “not real life” than it might be easier. But for others when the ONLY way we connect is via the internet, I think it is different. As much as technology and the internet takes us away it brings us together. I am communicating with people that I would never get to talk to if it were not for the internet.

    What does tend to take up my time and keep me from interacting is the games. I only play one game, but it can be a little time consuming and sometimes needs “attention” often. Lately, I have been playing it less just because it takes up so much time.

    I like Tiffanie’s down time idea where they don’t touch the phone unless it rings. Because again, for some of us that have businesses we need to answer a ringing phone. I also need to check my e-mail.

    I am glad that you did this and you seemed to benefit from it. I think if people feel the need to do so, then they should. Yay you!!!


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