I worry too much. I have a lot of time to think. This week I had too much. I felt the need to "Go Dark" for a day. I was online in the evening for about an hour or so, but the rest of the day was offline.
I'm at home with my kids all day, and let's face it: there are only certain parts of my brain that are stimulated by repeating letters of the alphabet over and over to my 2yo and playing silly guessing games with my 6yo. I love to color, but I can't do that for 12 hours straight either. I can now recite most of Cars and nearly every Winnie the Pooh movie, answer Elmo's questions in my sleep, and put together most of the puzzles and games in our house without paying attention to what I'm doing.
There are a million projects that need attention around my house, but I honestly don't have the energy or motivation to do many of them (particularly when it's more pleasant to sit and chat or surf online). Plus, it's hard to do them with a 2yo undoing everything faster than you can even do it. Now that my hubby is home during the day, I've actually been able to accomplish a few of those things I've been neglecting. It's nice, but honestly, it wears me out. I'm used to having quiet, low key, low energy days.
At any rate, I've gotten used to spending most of my day online. It's not uncommon to sit down to check my email and then somehow realize the morning is gone. The online world is my escape, my connection to people outside these four walls. I honestly have no clue how stay-at-home moms survived before the internet. I'm plugged in and connected all day. I'm up and down, here and there, but I'm always connected.
And, as nice as it is to have that connection, it's not always a good thing. It makes it easier to neglect the little things around my house, both tasks and children sometimes. I've become the queen of procrastination because there's plenty of time tomorrow to do that. I smile and nod at the incessant "knock-knock" jokes without really listening.
All of that is to say, I've been pondering for a while now taking a day each week to be offline. Here's why:
- Our worship team has been discussing the spiritual discipline of fasting. For medical reasons, it's not practical for me to skip meals (nor is it healthy), but there are other things that intrude upon my relationship with God far more than food, and these are the things I need to be cautious of.
- I have been discussing my internet reliance with a group of friends in an online forum. It's kind of difficult to explain the nature of our relationship, but suffice it to say, we've become like family. We've realized we share this common addiction, and have agreed to dedicate one day a week as "no tech" day. This means something different to each of us and that's ok, but we're there to encourage one another in this.
- One of my friends on twitter came up with a suggestion of taking tech vacations for your own personal health. Granted, staring at a computer screen all day is hard on the eyes and tends to make my back and shoulders tense.
- I'm beginning to develop unhealthy relationship patterns. This has been growing for a LONG time, but I find myself being more and more agoraphobic and just wanting to hide at home relying on my computer to be my main social outlet.
- The more time I'm online, the more I feel the NEED to be. Taking just one day to be offline, I find means that I don't feel as strongly drawn to be online all day the rest of the week either. It's sort of like I've given myself permission to be unavailable once in a while, and I realize I'm regaining control of my time.
I realize I have an unhealthy addiction and it's time to face it. Cold Turkey is not an option for me, because a lot of the reasons I became reliant on the internet are still valid. I still need that outlet and the internet is honestly the most practical place to have it as it requires no need to find a sitter just to "get out" and socialize. There are a lot of benefits to staying connected online. I just intend not to let the internet rule my life as I confess I have in the past. I can do one day a week, and work from there.
Even Jesus understood the practice of "drawing away from the world" was necessary.