Not Having the Internet Has Helped Cultivate This New Chapter

Nov 4, 2020

I haven’t had dedicated internet for over a week.

The longest I’ve intentionally gone without fast/reliable internet in probably 15-20 years (aside from occasional trips).

There have been interesting side-effects for myself through this process.

I tethered to my phone for the first few days and realized I had blasted through the majority of my monthly data budget in about 5 days.

I wouldn’t make it through the month, maybe not even the end of the week.

Needless to say – my internet habits changed in an instant.

Trolling around the city I was able to find a couple places with suitable internet:

A coffeeplace and a library. Both in walking distance. (Whew.)

By the next day I was spending upwareds of 7 hours at the library for any online heavy duty work.

As soon as they would close, I’d get in my car and drive 30 minutes to family’s so I could continue working for another 4-5 hours.

The exact same space I was staying in just days prior where I was squandering about 80% of my day quickly became a place where I was focused and intentional.

Night and day difference.

I wouldn’t get home to the apartment until about 2 or 3 in the morning.

Adjusting to the apartment + Fear to F*ck It deadlines, a situation was created where “change” was able to happen MUCH quicker; it was born out of one part necessity and one part “purpose” of “I really want to make this work.”

I have been longing to evolve “who I am” to align more with the ideal of who I know I can be.

I get a little emotional thinking about that because for the first time in a long time, it doesn’t feel like I’m moving mountains to be “more disciplined,” or to “make decisions,” or to “confront the dragons of life.”

It’s not been without frustrations, but I’m feeling “in the pocket.”

Within this new sensation of being more disciplined, decisive, and proacitvely confronting discomfort combined with not having internet has helped in a few ways:

Awareness of my internet tendencies improved; even though I already “knew” about it, I was forced to PHYSICALLY face it: that tendency to task switch or pull up some new media (Facebook, Youtube, etc) anytime I felt “off” or didn’t want to make a tough decision.

Time-sensitive priorities and the moving-in process created enough of a shock to my system that I it felt like my body finally realized that “I can’t afford to squander my time” or else everything would start to unravel in life.

(and I sure hope I can keep this up.)

This transition, increased responsibility, and lack of “easy distraction” made it easier to acknowledge that I didn’t -actually- want to spend my time in the way that I was. It was just familiar.

It put me in a “perfect gap” away from familiarity to step back.

To feel out what I actually want, decide how I want to use the space, and make the intention to utilize this beautiful space and opportunity as a way to grow as an individual.

Once I got through the very visceral periods of adjustment, it became clear:

I’ll use this space as a ‘workshop for the soul.’

A space to lean into discomfort, practice connection skills, be intentional with my OWN time, work on the things that matter to the private self, and develop a better conversation with my heart and soul.

This time away from easy access to the internet dramatically improved, most notably, my ability to “confront the little dragons of life” by proactive choosing to face discomfort and start making decisions instead of postponing them.

To cultivate this “in the pocket” state when I get internet, I plan to regularly turn off the router and put all devices in airplane mode so that I’m limited in my stimuli and distractions.

Because this experience of being semi-voluntarily disconnected from the internet has helped me to “hear” myself more significantly than before.

(A nod to EOL in LA, Magma in Chicago, and swing dance events for having similar impacts of disconnection.)

When I experienced the first sensation of “loneliness” in a long time over Halloween night (my 5 Year Danceiversary!), it highlighted just how much media and external input was robbing me of connection with my own thoughts on a regular basis.

There’s been a real need for self-connection and so much easy access has made it difficult to tap into that space.

After roaming the city on Halloween, feeling defeated and “lonely,” I returned to my apartment and realized I was actually pretty tired (something I usually ignore b/c I would just switch to another Youtube video until I was -exhausted-).

I did a bit of self-reflection and journaling and that helped me to draw attention to the fact that this space is my new beginning. A new chapter.

Literally dreaming of being right where I am for over 3 months.

And I am getting to this space where despite the imperfections of the situation and frustrations of the scenarios of moving…

I would rather learn how to be STRONGER as an individual to confront the struggles. Not just manipulate the external to make it easier.

Being truly alone, living on my own (with or without support), having my own space, confronting challenges on my own (mostly), and having the space to struggle through things to grow, etc …

That’s what I was after. And that’s where I am. Right at the beginning of this new chapter.

I’m glad I haven’t gotten my “stable” internet yet. I’ll enjoy the limitation as a way to fuel creativity and intentionality within my day-to-day — and harness this “quieter” mental space where I get to hear and see the self more easily.

And periodically remove that “easy access.”

Go back to basics.

Pen and paper. A book. Internet-free word processor. Only downloaded music. Walks. Meditation. Phone calls. Learn to talk to people. Write letters.

Just to create a space and mindset where I am more present with myself and the current moment. To have more conversations with myself. To face what’s going on in the inside. Learning to hear what the heart wants to express.

To create open space within my own self where I act on intuition, not on stimulus.

I look forward to intentionally using this little ‘nook,’ this place I get to call home for a time — an alcove for creativity, for introspection, for personal growth and for cultivating who I am from the inside out.

A workshop for the soul to become more of who I’m meant to be.