Well, I did it. Apart from the weekly Facebook update I have to do for Positive Life magazine, and sending my brother (in Boston) a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day message, I stayed away from my computer (and the internet and games on my iPhone) for a week.
It feels like an accomplishment because, at times, I really really wanted to use it. Not only does my full-time job require me to use a computer and the internet but most of my projects and pastimes do too. I realised this when I was sitting, watching my housemates on their laptops, and wondering how I could pass the time.
Although I wasn’t sure how else to fill up my time, I felt that finding offline entertainment was a healthy goal and I went about looking for replacements to my computer-generated creations and distractions.
Luckily, the answers that came showed me what a blessing-in-disguise this little experiment has been. I got the train out to Bray and went for a walk around the cliffs at Bray Head. As I got further and further away from the hustle and bustle, all I could hear (literally) was the rhythmic movement of the ocean waves. It was so peaceful and so refreshing. It was amazing not to hear the whirring of motors or the clicking and clunking of machinery – sounds I hadn’t really noticed until they were not there anymore. It’s given me a new respect for silence.
I brought my phone with me, but had it switched off. That way, if I needed it, I had it. That’s a wiser way of getting away from it than leaving it switched on at home.
Another change in my choices came as I was listening to my housemate Niall playing one of his two pianos. I’d been making music on my computer before the detox, but was still in the early stages of understanding how to work the digital equipment properly. I realised that I could either put in a lot of time and effort getting to know the music program better (which meant a lot more time in front of the computer) or I could ask Niall (who’s amazing, by the way) for piano lessons. I chose piano lessons – an instrument I’ve been ‘meaning’ to learn for years.
That’s also one of the ways I’ve been spending more quality time with my housemates lately.
I’m still training as a martial arts apprentice, which gets me out of the house every week. My interest in discovering the easiest ways to develop super human bodies has also led me to buy a brilliant new book, The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferris, which is full of the kinds of insights and practical techniques that I would normally look for online. It’s a 570-page goldmine of useful information, and it’s so nice to be able to sit out in our sunny back garden with only the turning of paper pages to occupy my hands.
I love my job with the magazine and it’s great to be able to use the internet for research and correspondence, and of course this Blog, but that’s all I’m going to use my computer for from now on, and that’s plenty.