The Art of Disconnecting

I sat across my friends, both are really immersed on their phones, waiting for them to finish updating or being updated. While I wait, I read a book I just purchased. It was quite annoying to sit in silence waiting for them, but at least I got to read a few pages of my new book.

A few minutes later, they put their phones down and we had our conversations about everything (because that’s what we do, talk about everything). And then they introduced me to a game called Color Switch on their phones, which I absolutely love. It’s addicting. We had a battle of who could get the highest score until my friend had a highscore of 17 and basically ended the battle. It was fun.


 

Who here has dreamt of going off the grid? I know I have multiple times.

Living far away from the city, in the middle of the wilderness and just relaxing, not giving a damn about anything else but yourself. Everyone wants to do it, everyone wants to escape from drama and responsibilities. Alas, life is (and should be) complicated. We cannot run from it, nor should we.

It’s not that I hate internet or people, but I just find the idea of being away from people I know and just clear your mind off so inviting.

And so I did the next best thing. I disconnected. No internet and no phone and no TV.

It was in September 2015 that I decided I wanted to ‘go offline’. Or at least, take myself ‘offline’.

It was something that I had been wanting to do since late 2013, and I finally did it. I was on my browser (surprise, surprise!) when I had the thought and immediately deactivated every social media I had. I deactivated Facebook, two Twitter accounts, Instagram, Tumblr, uninstalled the 9gag app (aka the ultimate time waster app) on my phone and Pinterest. Each day was spent alternating between these apps, no wonder I felt like I didn’t have time.

It was more of an anger or dissatisfaction of myself that I decided I wanted to disconnect. Procrastination was getting worst and I was angry at myself for not getting any meaningful work done to get me closer to my goal.

What triggered the move?

It was the death of a person I admired online, Scott Dinsmore of Live Your Legend.

I had been following his newsletter for a while and admiring his charm and wit in posts he had written. I only found out about his death a day after the incident. There I was, feeling sad over a person I have never met personally. I was so touched by the comments of others saying how much he changed their lives for the better. It’s truly amazing how the things you do or words you type can make someone on the other side of the world happy. The Internet is a wondrous thing.

A week before his death, he posted a blog post about going off the grid and offline. The post was what inspired me enough to take the bold move.

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You don’t need to deactivate every social media you have to disconnect like I did, you can just limit yourself to an hour a day to check those apps. Gradually improve your self-control by going a day without it, two days without it, and so on until you don’t feel the overwhelming urge to go on it all day.

I don’t want to sound like those, “The Internet is bad for you, disconnect or it’ll ruin your life’ kind of people, because believe me, the internet is good when you know how to spend your time on it, accordingly.

While being offline has its perks, for example;

  1. Productivity rate increases
  2. You get to spend time with your mind
  3. Get more creative work done (any kind; thinking, writing, drawing, building, etc)
  4. More focused on activities, people (relationship) and work

I do miss being up to date of my friends’ life, stalking friends and my friends’ friends, the lot. I guess I have FOMO (fear of missing out). I don’t feel that fear as much now, if there is something important to know about, I’ll know about it somehow. So, it’s a win-win sittuation.

I also miss the power of information on your fingertips, how easy it is to just look up some random thing you thought about. Someone actually talked about it in more detail here.

But did unplugging change anything in your life? 

It did. But it doesn’t mean I hate the internet or am planning to move to the woods and live off the land. I love the internet, I spend a lot of time on it, too. But not on meaningless dank memes and celebrities and viral posts anymore. I still love those memes but dang, it shouldn’t come in your way of doing meaningful things for yourself.

Are you thinking of going back to using any of the social media?

Probably not. I gave up on Facebook a long time ago, although I occasionally go on it to look at what my friends are up to. I tried using Twitter again recently, but I just didn’t feel the umph as when I first started. Instagram? Probably, if I start my backpacking around the world journey (which is going to happen a looong time from now, instagram might be irrelevant then. MIGHT.)

If you don’t and never did had any social media, then I salute you. It takes a lot of will power to not fall in the hands of peer pressure and society’s judgement of ‘you’re lame if you don’t have any social media’. I’ve tried and it is hard. Because fast forward to March 2016, I’ve since gotten back to Twitter, Tumblr and a new platform, WordPress.

The attempt is life changing, and I’m going to keep disconnecting even if it’s for short periods of time.

Do yourself a favor, unplug and see where it leads you.

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