While it’s true that the internet is an amazing vast tangle of connections, information, and entertainment, I often find myself distracted when I should be working or working when I should be enjoying time off and relaxing with my family.
I was just reading a great piece by Joe Bagel, titled “Why I Choose to Live Without WiFi,” and it was a thought-provoking story of being too connected followed by not enough connection. He speaks of getting sucked down the internet hole, and how he’s felt often isolated and out of touch without it, getting by with pizza shop wifi when necessary.
I immediately thought, “I could never live without wifi.”
But maybe not for the reasons you’d think.
As a freelance writer and editor, I work from home on a high-speed internet connection. No coworkers, no boss, sometimes not leaving the house all day.
I pride myself on and sell myself as very responsive and easy to get a hold of by my clients. Not that I’ll answer every email that comes in at 11 pm on a Saturday, but that they can easily get to me and I will always respond in a reasonable amount of time.
I could live without wifi in my personal life. Sure, I love YouTube and Netflix and poking around news and entertainment site. I check Facebook too often and I sometimes waste an hour or four on Reddit. But I could. I did it for the first part of my life and I could do it again. I enjoy being disconnected when traveling.
I enjoy the internet, but my personal happiness and entertainment do not have to depend on it. I often read a book over watching Netflix, I could call the movie theater to get the show times or use 3G if I had to look something up really quick. I could use my actual cookbooks to look at recipes and I have the phone numbers memorized of everyone important to me.
But I simply could not make my living without the internet.
And for better or for worse, it’s true.
It’s funny because if I could have internet for work, such as when I worked in an office in Manhattan, and come home to no wifi, I’d be perfectly fine with that.
I think being less connected and less able to just reach for my phone for mindless entertainment or staving off boredom, I’d be fine. Maybe even happier in some ways.
I suppose in this day and age that may seem controversial, but maybe not. Social media is somewhat overwhelming and some people seem to take their confidence and self-esteem from “likes” online, which I do not and don’t want to. There have been studies showing that excessive social media use leads to depression and anxiety — and I have enough anxiety all on my own, thank you very much.
My reality is that I must have the internet on a daily basis.
But I love that I read Joe’s piece and got a chance to think about what my life could look like without it. It made me really think about and examine my internet usage — the filler, the fluff that takes up space between actual work or things I could or should be doing.
Perhaps it would do us all well to inspect the time we spend online and whether it is productive or counterproductive to our lives — even just small parts of it (she says as she types this over wifi).