Sunday, September 28, 2014

Off the grid - an experiment


Of course, right at the very beginning I have to admit that I wasn’t really “off the grid” as I did still have and use my cell phone, my e-mails and internet. I just left out one composant thereof: Facebook.
I have travelled before where I only checked e-mails once a day, one famous trip my housemate and myself both decided to not even take our computers: and were actually pretty good – only checking e-mails 4 times in hotels that had a computer for public use. However, that is not my usual life as even supposedly “retired” I find myself spending a great deal of time seated in front of said computer (e-mails, Facebook, book keeping, the client-from-whom-I-resigned but have not yet been able to turn over all the information to my replacement, blogging, working on my photos and (most precious of all) keeping in touch with family via Skype.
However, I realized that I was becoming addicted to Facebook. As it is one of the tabs that is permanently up (Facebook, the client’s data base, Blogger, Earthquake information - that one went up when my younger son was in Peru – Fitbit, Jacquie Lawson’s card, Apple comparison chart – need a new computer eventually – whatever topic I did research on last and – must I admit it – at least three computer games), it was all to easy to consult it every half hour or so, especially when the messages popped up that so and so had posted or like or in any other way inter-acted on FB. Most people at least have the possibility of checking at one point in the day and seeing most of what their family and friends have posted in one fell swoop: I living in a different time zone from many of my friends and family, can happily check at any time of the day – or my night – and still see new postings.  I said to myself, enough is enough; can I do it? Can I actually consciously turn off Facebook for a week?
I took the plunge last Sunday (Saturday still needed to interact with I-forget-whom, which shows you how important that was.) I am sure of two things: one, no one probably remarked my non-presence during that week (o.k. I warned my sister) and two, am much less stressed having not spent the week trying to think of ways to convince the world at large that my way of thinking is the correct way: sometimes you just can’t reason with some people.
I would add a third thing: maybe most of my presence was just that – a presence to show that I exist – we humans are certainly egotistical beings: I post therefore I am could be the new motto for many of us.
Did I even miss it? Not really – the main reason I joined all those years ago was to kind of keep in touch with my son’s lives – and neither posts more than a handful of times per year. Also, I have to confess that the bloggers that I follow land conveniently in my e-mail inbox so didn’t have to do without them.
I know that a week from now I will probably be as involved as ever, but am going to try and cut down a bit – perhaps checking only every hour – and maybe I’ll take the real plunge and unhook one whole day a week: which shall it be? While I’m at it, I am also going to close several of those always-open-tabs. If I need (and this will be my decision as to the necessity: I mean, really, sometimes one just has to know what the current status of earthquakes is, right?). If I want the knowledge I can always re-open the tab.