It’s enough to make people breakout in a cold sweat, riddled with nerves. You cry ‘what am I supposed to do all day’ and despair how you could ever live without it. Internet. The all-mighty wifi. So freely available to us in this technological age it really is hard to imagine life without it.
We check our phone when we wake up like we would a daily newspaper. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, E-mails, Messenger, Snapchat etc. then we can finally go about our daily routine, showering, brushing teeth and eating breakfast (while refreshing all theses apps and flicking through again). We live in a time where it is quicker, easier and more common to get a hold of our friends on WhatsApp, or where we find out the worlds biggest breaking stories through Facebook or Twitter rather than watching the news.
The internet is amazing, connects us in so many ways and gives us access to a universe of knowledge, but we all fall prey to being wired up so much, we see life through a computer screen. I know I struggle to feel at ease when I don’t get to check my messages every half hour, we all do. So while on holiday this summer with my family the wifi unexpectedly went down for a few days, I like many, felt at a loose end, here is how my week went…
Mid-morning the internet suddenly stopped working. This initially caused only little panic as the wifi was pretty shocking here, and so it wasn’t uncommon for it to stop working for half an hour or so.
It got to lunch time and nothing was happening. This was followed by asking each of my family members several times if theirs was working ok, which it wasn’t, and even having a conversation with the people living in the same apartments if they were having the same issue.
Then came the obsessively switching on and off the wifi, forgetting and then re-joining the network, turning on and off my phone, walking round the complex to see if anywhere had better signal, but to no avail, it was truly RIP to my beloved wifi.
Day two of wifi-gate started much the same as day one ended, obsessively connecting and reconnecting with the hope that if I did it enough times it might give in and work.
My dad laughs and claims he wanted to set us a challenge to go without wifi anyway, and jokes that he asked the apartment owners to cut the cords just for his amusement. However, this was no laughing matter, as I had undoubtedly lost my Snapchat streaks with my housemates and that was a tragedy in itself.
More attempts to reconnect are made throughout the day, but less frequently than the morning, my detox had begun and I was starting to accept my fate. I even turned to reading an old fashioned book, shock horror, which I began and completed in one afternoon.
The morning check for wifi was becoming a ritual just as checking Facebook once was, my friends back home had probably filed out a missing persons report by now, as it was uncommon for us not to speak for a day, let alone 3.
But then I went about most of the morning and afternoon barely touching my phone, knowing it wasn’t worth checking for internet, it was left to the side while I went about my unconnected day.
It still played on the back of my mind when I would finally have wifi that I would have so much to catch up on, but it then became sort of accepted that there was nothing I could do but wait and yet another book was started and finished within a matter of hours.
Still no sign of my beloved, and even dad who laughed at first is getting agitated that he can’t read the surf reports or check us in online for our return flights. Reduced to family card games such as rummy or uno would I ever see an end to this torture?
After despairing again this morning, my phone got left for the entire day, untouched and forgotten, it seems my detox is taking an effect as I am not breaking out in a sweat every time I think of all the notifications and emails I’m missing out on.
Yet again my phone was left on its own for the entire day, knowing there wasn’t much point in trying anymore.
However, although I had become less dependant in wanting to check my phone every two minutes, getting to day five in this traumatic experience, we were starting to get stupidly fed up with not being able to google things we couldn’t remember like the name of a random Argentinian football player (Diego Maradona btw) or even check the weather for tomorrow.
It was our last day in tropical paradise, and how bitter sweet it seems, the internet magically began working as we began our departure.
I’d like to say I had detoxed so much that this didn’t phase me, but I, like so many would, spent a good hour catching up on emails, Facebook messages, Instagram notifications, etc. etc. Which may beg the question, had I really learnt anything?
I can safely say I won’t be going a week without wifi again any time soon, but as I returned to England, and quite shortly after, to uni, I did feel time away from the connected world had done me some good. I learnt the universe would not implode if I didn’t hit refresh every minute, and that being on holiday was supposed to be about disconnecting and it shouldn’t matter if I have internet or not. But most importantly, I learnt how to have a bit of switch-off time at home. Dad (and many others) call this ‘mindfulness’. Every day, I have a 20-minute walk to uni, and in those 20 minutes I turn off my internet. I might have some music playing, but other than that I have no contact with anything or any one for 20 minutes to uni and 20 minutes’ home, I am alone with my own thoughts, I can look at the beautiful sunset or sunrise around me and I can just, for those 20 minutes, remember that the world does not need to revolve around my phone.
If you stuck with me for this long, then I applaud you, it was a lengthy one! This sort of came out of avoiding revision and trying to be more productive with my time when I’m not doing uni work, so where this is not a promise to be posting more regularly, it is a promise to myself to make use of my time doing things that I enjoy or are productive.
I hope you all had a wonderful 2016 and move into 2017 ever more positive as I am.
Much Love x