Getting offline – the good old-fashioned way

offline no wireless symbolI keep thinking about what life was like before the Internet. I know, it’s hard to imagine — especially as I’m writing this (and you’re reading this) online.

The Web has so completely altered how we do things, how we think about things, and what we think about, it’s very difficult to remember what it was like before.

But there was a time before the Internet. I can remember it, however faintly. And I remember how quiet my weekends used to be, when I would spend hours just reading, studying books I had, instead of surfing around online.

I feel very ambivalent about this, to be honest. I do love all the expanded access to research and interesting information that the Web makes possible. At the same time, though, it’s so full of distractions, that I’ve missed a lot of insights about much of the information out there, because something (literally) shinier has popped up in my view before I could digest what I was reading.  Online advertising has not done us a whole lot of good, in that respect. And I think that fragmented, flashy way of hijacking our attention is a seriously Bad Thing.

Especially for people like me.

Interestingly, my electronic life has taken a new turn. A few months back, I bought a new-to-me computer for an amazing prize. A new version costs over $3,000, but I got mine (used) for just a little over $300. Score! Yes, it was refurbished, and yes, there were some “dings”. But it works great. It’s fast and powerful and has a huge amount of disk space, so I’ve been able to transfer all my various files in all my various external hard drives to a single place. That, in itself, is progress, because I have a lot of files, and I need to be able to find  them without sifting through a bunch of different drives.

The only thing is, the PC doesn’t have a wireless card. And it’s on the other side of the house from my router with the wired connection. So, I can’t get online, unless I lug it downstairs and plug it in.

At first, I was pretty upset. I spend a lot of time online, and I need access for a lot of stuff I do. On the other hand, I’ve been increasingly worried about the effects that online life is having on my state of mind, as well as my body. I spend way too much time sitting in front of of social media, clicking links and entertaining myself, when I should really be doing something productive. I can’t even count all the hours I’ve lost to Facebook,  Twitter, and other social media. Even Google News tends to be a time-eater for me.

I’ve been wanting to get away from online life for some time. The thing is, I do a lot of my writing while online (especially here), researching and following leads. That puts me at risk for “squirrel!” syndrome — where I can easily be pulled in by the shiny-flashy lure of some clickbait headline or link. It doesn’t take much, at times, to pull me off-course, and that’s been happening, now, for years.

So much so that many things I’ve intended to do have fallen by the wayside. Because I just got distracted.

That’s about to change. Because my new computer isn’t connected to the internet. Not only am I protected from the prying eyes of people who may mean me harm online, but I’m also shielded from the constant distractions of online life. I’ve been needing to make this change — revert back to my old ways of writing, when it was just me, my ideas, and a keyboard (and yes, I used to use a typewriter, back in the day). Clear out the clutter — the uninvited intrusions that suck away my most precious possession : time, as though they’re entitled to it.

Screw all that. Screw them. They’re not invited. I want my space back, I want my thoughts back. I’ll still be able to write things like this without being online. I’ll still be able to draft these posts and the transfer them to another computer that is connected. I just won’t be constantly distracted by other stuff that has no place in my life and shouldn’t even come anywhere near me.

As much as I love the web and all the connections it gives me, there’s a time to say “enough is enough”.

I’m saying that now and doing the right thing. It was an accident… completely unintentional. But my unconnected computer is totally for the best.

Totally.

Onward.

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Got the list…

And it’s a good one. I have a lot to do, this morning, but I sat down and mapped out everything I’m going to do, in the order they need to be done and the geographical areas I need to do them.

  • First I need to drive about half an hour to pick up an order at a store. Then I need to swing by an office supplies place to pick up some printer cartridges.
  • Then I need to pick up some food items I forgot while shopping yesterday.
  • Then I need to gas up the car and buy ice.
  • Then I need to swing by the local farm stand and stock up on some local foods.
  • Then I need to come home, get the car ready for my spouse’s trip, pack it, and get them ready for their departure around 1 p.m.
  • Then I’ll take a nap… and get on with the things I need to do tonight.

The timing is good for this trip — I need to do some repair work with power tools that my spouse hates the sound of. This way, I can make all the noise I need to, and not worry about disturbing anyone.

It will also be good to have a few days to myself. I need some down-time, to just chill and get clear in my head about where I’m going with my work in the future. I need silence and peace and no worries, which doesn’t often happen with a spouse who is in a chronic state of panic-anxiety. I’m generally the “rock” in the household – it will be nice to have a break from that and get to just be solid — and silent.

In the midst of all the preparations, having a list makes it super-simple to just handle things. I figure out where I’m going, when, what I need to do there, and then I’m done. None of this lollygagging or futzing around.  Just staying focused and on-target and moving from one thing to the next.

It’s a world of difference from the way things used to be, when I was still trying to keep everything straight in my head – and failing miserably at it. There was this idea in my mind that if I couldn’t keep everything in order in my head, I was a “failure”. Turns out, I was failing exactly because of that. When you think about it, we have so many distractions and so many interruptions, TBI / concussion or not, that it’s all but impossible to keep clear at every moment of every day.

Something’s gotta give. And anyway, having a list all made out ahead of time frees me up to think of everything else — more fun things, more interesting things. Other stuff. Yeah. Good stuff.

So, I’ve got my list, and now it’s time to get moving.

Onward.

I’m supposed to start working in 20 minutes…

1-2-3 Puuull..!

The good part is, I am working from home today. Sweet silence. No distractions. I can actually focus on one thing at a time without being constantly interrupted by people who do not want to actually do their own work, but expect me to do it for them.

My spouse is a late riser, so there will be no sign of them till noontime, which leaves me almost 4 hours of quiet productivity.

I’m actively rethinking my job search approach for the future. I have been thinking that I need to find a job with an established company that gives me a place to go each day. But in fact, what I really need is a remote job, where I can work for a set amount of hours, and then lie down and take a nap when I need to. Or I can travel and work remotely from wherever I am. The whole commuting to work – working 9 hours – commuting home thing, to and from a place where I’m chained to the galley bench with all the other worker bees just isn’t working for me. I am exhausted. Depleted. And I miss those hours I spend in the car each day.

So, either I find a job that’s remote, so I can come and go as I please and get things done on my own time in my own way, or I find something that is close to home, so I don’t have to waste all that time each day. I think the former makes much more sense to me — especially because of the fatigue thing, not being able to rest when I need to, and gradually becoming more and more exhausted.

My neuropsych tells me I should not be taking naps during the day. But if I don’t, I am so depleted that I can’t get to sleep in a good way. I get so tired, I am too tired to get to sleep.

So, it’s time to start looking around online for remote work. There are plenty of telecommute jobs out there. I just need to find them.

Onward.

So I went to a zen meditation group last night…

Strangely enough, they wouldn’t be quiet.

Either it was chanting liturgy or “discussing” some heady facet of zen/buddhism.

yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada-yada
We sat in silence for 25 minutes, which was good.

But other than that, it was a very noisy evening.

Odd…

I hadn’t expected that at all.