Why I Want to Cancel My Internet Service

…Sending My Family into Crisis Mode

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I remember feeling as if I hit major fame status when someone named, Naughty Watermelon followed me on Instagram. In my own microscopic space out in the internet I had become a superstar. I was elated.

Even as a writer I have regular office hours. I work from 5 AM until 4 PM with two hours for myself in between most always spent reading and napping. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays my work hours are spent at the library.

I live in a beautiful small town 30 miles east of Iowa City. Our 100 year old home sits on an acre of land. Colors bloom in waves from spring to fall. The window from my office has a view of a pond and the small wooded area that’s home to our hammock.

I lived in the city my entire life. Once I changed my lifestyle to a calm and quiet pace I realized how toxic my habits were and how ready I was to shift into simplicity.

I grew my own food this season for the first time in my life. Each morning I had the same routine. I’d go out in the yard, tend to the garden and then head down to the library to read the newspaper while I had my morning coffee.

I once wore prom dresses and high heels as my main fashion. Now I wear flannel and thermal underwear on purpose.

Along with all the other things that have slowed down in my life so has the internet service.

It’s far from satisfactory at best. In a town surrounded by farms and cornfields in cuts out often and the download- upload speed moves at a turtle’s pace. A for instance, uploading a five minute video to YouTube is a 2.5 hour investment.

A visual aid. The red dot signifies the town I live in. The yellow and green spirals signifies the surrounding cornfields.

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What was muzzle and fury frustration a year ago now has zero affect on me. I’ve become accustomed to crappy WiFi working in this room but not that room, on this floor but not that floor, leaning backward but not forward.

As I’ve adjusted I’ve discovered I actually prefer it like this. I find myself reading more, creating more art and writing with the ancient tools of my typewriter and pen and paper.

If it were up to me, as in, if I lived alone- I would discontinue my service and be done with it, but my husband and children don’t agree.

I brought the topic up at the dinner table the other night. I think we should cancel our internet, I said.

One gasped, one spit their food out onto the table and the other responded so quickly it was a concerning natural reaction and required no thought process. Are you trying to ruin my adolescents? He asked.

The crappy WiFi in our home has merely provided me with the rationale and reasoning for why I could remove it from my life and be entirely okay, perhaps even better.

The World

The world is going to shit. You know it. I know it. I think I’ve become desensitized to it. With it constantly plastered in my face it’s lost it’s impact. It’s become expectation opposed to education.

Cortana is under the impression that I want to be notified every time Trump behaves ignoramus. So basically my phone and laptop dings on an average of every two hours.

Despite what Mark Zuckerberg would like me to believe, I’m not convinced I need to be connected to everyone in the world. It’s time consuming and emotionally draining.

How can I improve myself to do better, be better and have a positive affect on people when I live in a world where we project negativity 24/7/365. I can’t. The internet leaves little room for us to think for ourselves, and learn and grow the way the good earth and our own instinct intended it to be.

Creativity

Imagine a life where you’re not blowing hours of time on the internet. Where you’re not consumed with anywhere other than here. Imagine what it would be like to live a life where there is no constant effort to sway your opinions. Imagine a life where the scenery of the pond is much more valuable than that of your monitor.

Imagine a life where we use our minds and our hands to create. Similar as to how we did in kindergarten. We were presented with an idea and expected to expand on it, even if it were just coloring stick figures of our classmates. It required critical thinking opposed to being spoon fed an information overload.

I’m not saying everything on the internet is bad. I’m talking about limitations. In Austin Kleon’s book, Steal Like an Artist he shares the details of his home office and his idea of splitting the room down the middle. One side is digital and one side is analog. He believes they should be separate entities in the creative process. Easier said than done, Austin.

Humans are creatures of habit. What’s the big deal if I take a few minutes to check my social media? It never fails that a few minutes adds up to hours. What’s the big deal if I Wikipedia Sarah Jessica Parker for literally no reason outside of trying to avoid my work? There are apps to help regulate internet usage. The internet has so much power over us that we can use the internet to limit our internet usage.

Writing

Here’s the thing. The internet doesn’t make me a writer. Yes, it’s true that with everything online nowadays I would definitely need to have some type of reliable internet service in order to publish stories and respond to editor emails. I’m a huge fan of the library (really though, the library is awesome) and a perk of the library is WiFi.

I can still write at home during the hours the library is closed. It’s quite possible and I think in the digital age we forget about how many resources we have available to us as writers.

I’m surrounded by endless research materials without ever leaving my home. I have books, magazines, classic movies and newspapers. I also borrow books and research materials from the library to bring home with me.

I’m surrounded by endless story ideas without ever leaving my home. Each room is filled with history, creativity, life lessons and plans for the future. Including this story I’m writing now.

Although I consider the internet a tool, it’s not one I need to survive. Its far from a necessity. Some organizations claim the internet provides freedom and it’s a global right to have the means to access it, but in my experience with it continually available at my fingertips, I feel anything but free.

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Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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