Well, first I got all caught up on Facebook and Feedly. Then I swung by Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram and finally, went on a little Buzzfeed binge. Now I am going to write this post.
And then I am going to take an internet break.
I have been thinking about the many good and bad things the internet has brought to my life.
Good things like, oh you know, my interests in birth, feminism, and social justice. Help in trying not to be a racist. An awareness of the dik dik and unschooling. xkcd, The Fat Nutritionist and Hyperbole and A Half, Swistle and Blue Milk. Stuff. Whatever. Lots of good concepts about parenting. Really a lot of completely amazing people that I would love to meet in real life one day but wouldn't ever have to because they are my very real internet friends and acquaintances, and that's enough.
But I have also been feeling lately that the way I interact with the Internet is stealthily stealing something from me. I feel like I used to be a lot more curious and motivated to learn. I used to have a much longer attention span. I think maybe the instant gratification and instant answers on the internet are ... sapping me somehow.
This isn't "I used to read real books," although I'm hoping I can use some of my non-Internet time to read more books.
It's also not "I should make more real friends," and in fact one thing I'm hesitant about here is that I really do want to make some local friends and frankly the best place to do that, by far, is online. What, am I going to place a classified ad? Hang posters?
This also isn't "purify my life." I LOVE the internet. I LOVE the places and people I have found here. I'm not fasting or cleansing. It's more about the way I sit (literally and figuratively) online, the way I compulsively check my phone, the way I decide on a project - like this week, rice-cooker meals - and then open 12 different tabs and spend several hours browsing through them and following links, and then never make any rice cooker meals because I never decided what leads to follow. It's a problem of scope and approach and not content or purpose.
The thought of an Internet break has been kicking around in my head for a while now. I half-joked with Aaron that for my upcoming birthday I wanted us to go for a day without using our phones or laptops. But first off, I don't need to rope him into my issue, and second, taking a day or a weekend off and re-evaluating was a little too ... big tent revival for my purpose here. I want to frame this for myself as something other than temporary deprivation followed by new resolve.
I am trying to think of this as freeing. I am giving myself a while to be free of the demands of keeping up with what's happening online. I am just going to be out of touch. I'm going to miss some great articles. I will not be the first one to tweet the link. Important things will happen for people I care about and I will not know about them right away. I guess? I'm not actually sure what will happen, because I have never, ever done this before.
I'm resisting the urge to be a pedant about my project. I'm not making rules or setting time limits. I'm not blocking sites or getting Aaron to change the wifi password. And in fact, because I do want my life to be semi-functional and do not want to be completely isolated, I'm not being a purist about it. I'll keep up on my email. I'll use data on my phone when I need it. I will probably hop on Facebook here and there to see if my old friend from middle school has had her baby yet or not. I will Skype with family and gchat with my bestie. I'm going to keep doing the Daily Frances because it is my favorite thing ever. I'm getting set up to do some volunteering for a great organization and I will obviously use the net however I need for that. It's all good. But I'm going to leave my laptop off and in a drawer instead of open at the kitchen table. I'm going to toss the phone in the bottom of my purse instead of keeping it attached to my palm. I'll sit on the floor and read a novel while the baby is playing instead of trying to keep her away from my lap(top). Or maybe I'll just sit and think.
Sooooooo throw me a bone, if something exciting happens for you, I would love to hear about it via email or text. Or if nothing exciting happens but you just want to say hi. Or if you took the best selfie and I shouldn't miss it. I care about you! Email and text me! My email is my first and last name at gmail. Email me for my phone number.
And wish me luck or self-discovery or whatever. I will now proceed to not check my blogger stats about how many people visited this post.
See you in a while.