Forced Digital Rehab Without WiFi

Day One Without WiFi: Denial.

NO FACEBOOK
NO FACEBOOK

Staying on a remote cottage is a great getaway from big city life. However, it presented an interesting predicament. There is no WiFi. We are about 30 minutes from Charlottetown, the closest big city with WiFi enabled coffee shops. I did not have a car and I certainly was not going to ask for a ride into town so I could check my Facebook. I decided, at this moment, that I’m ok without WiFi. This is what people call DENIAL.

No WiFi is great. It’s not a problem. It will force me back to nature. I’ll get more face-to-face interaction without internet. I’ve done this before. I grew up pre-smartphone. If you needed to check your email, you got on your desktop. I can do this.

The truth is I missed it. I missed being able to check my email 20 times a minute. I missed seeing what my friends are eating on Facebook. Look there’s Jake again working out. Mary’s getting here nails “did” –that clever girl. Felicia’s buying beef? Again!?

I missed spending hours on Instagram looking at pictures of my friends daily life. I could spend hours on these apps.

Day Two Without WiFi: Withdrawal

I tried convincing myself that everything is good without wifi. In reality I just wanted to check

NO INSTAGRAM
NO INSTAGRAM

my email! Is that so wrong? I decided to re-read old emails instead, over and over again. It felt like I quit my drug of choice cold turkey. 

I checked my Facebook to see what I could see regardless of not having wifi. To my surprise, I could see about 5 posts that probably downloaded when I had internet. I read all the posts. Some where funny. Other posts were annoying. But at least I got something.

Throughout the day I refreshed my Facebook and email accounts and pretended they worked. I re-read the same Facebook posts. I re-read the same emails. It was ridiculous. I need WiFi. Just a little. Just for a second. One second would give me a flood of information.

The more I re-read my emails and Facebook posts the more annoyed I became. “Who cares what you ate?!” I thought to myself. Does the world really care if you had a low-fat dinner, tonight? I think not. Oh you’re vegan now??? Big f***ing woop… Next week you’re gonna be on that other fad diet.

I decided it was probably better to pretend I didn’t have a phone. I put that useless piece of glass and metal in my backpack and zipped it up.

Day Three Without WiFi: Acceptance.

On day three I decided not having my phone was for the best. It was in my bag. I started feeling a sense of relief. I can’t believe I was “fiending” for wifi so bad. It’s not a big deal. In fact, I was conversing with my partner and his aunt more. More importantly, I wanted to participate in the conversation versus spending time on my phone. I started paying attention to body language and became more intuitive as a result (this part didn’t happen because I had no wifi, I’ve always payed attention to body language and facial expressions that helped my intuition, but the phone makes me not care… I never really pay attention anymore because I’m on my phone, half-ass talking to someone…)

It was nice to feel like I was having a good time. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a real thing! You think you’re missing out on everything when Facebook is not around. Instagram tells you stories you MUST see. These apps tell you stories of the lives that are important to you. The previous day I felt like I was missing a lot. Not anymore. Now I was legitimately not missing out, because I was here, where I need to be, having a good time, enjoying my life.

Something Changed on Day 3

NO TWITTER
NO TWITTER

We decided to drive into town to watch the “It” remake. I took my phone just in case. I sometimes use my camera phone. My Canon is big and bulky. My iPhone is smaller to hold and carry.

I put my iPhone in my pocket. We buy our tickets. My phone starts to vibrate. I look at it and I have a few news stories. More importantly I have FULL BLOWN WIFI! I immediately get on Facebook and Instagram to feed my prior addiction. With a few minutes before the movie starts, I decided to get my fix.

I get on Facebook but was extremely disappointed in my Facebook friends. I read stupidity after stupidity. “Trump is stupid!” someone wrote… Tell me something I don’t already know. It upset me so much I turned off my phone. I can’t believe my Facebook friends would waste my time like that. I have a few minutes to interact with something I like so much only to read a bunch of bullshit. It wasn’t just one person. It was everyone. I don’t care about your stupid dog or your child. Tell me something important! Tell me something I actually want to engage with. I did not want to engage with anyones post! IT WAS LAME.

Day Four Without Wifi: Apathy

I’m so disappointed in Facebook for creating a community where people believe every single thought they have is a gem. Wow. That was my take-away from having a few minutes of internet during this internet detox.

On day four of not having Wifi. My partner, his aunt and I went to a KD Lang concert in Charlottetown. I took my phone so I could record and take pictures.

The stadium had free wifi and I could feel my phone vibrating in my pocket so I knew it was connected.

At this point I didn’t care for checking. It didn’t matter. I knew twitter or Facebook or even Instagram would be disappointing. None of these apps seem important.

My pocket buzzed some more. I looked at my phone and was surprised. I had several texts from friends and family asking me if I was alive because they hadn’t heard from me. It was nice to connect with people I cared about online. I responded to all my texts accordingly.

I went on Facebook, made sure to not look at anyones disappointing posts and posted “OMG I FOUND WIFI. Im on a Canadian Island with no cell phone reception or wifi. But no worries. I’ll be back on the grid in a few days. Thank you KD Lang for providing wifi :).”

KD Lang PEI
KD Lang Concert in Charlottetown Prince Edward Island

That was my last urge to check social media. I no longer cared. It just felt like there was no need. I didn’t care to know anyones thoughts on everything. Not everything is worth reading. It seemed pointless. Social media is pointless. It also felt like a place where everyone was constantly fighting. I didn’t need that. There’s so much negativity. Too much hate. Too much “me” versus “you.” It was nice to genuinely not care about all of that anymore.

Let me break it down for you:

I don’t read my news feed on Facebook as much as I used to. This forced digital detox has allowed me to see pass the bullshit. It seems pointless. Most people only have negative things to say. If what you say is great, I’ll say something. I’ll even post something funny on someones page. However, I feel like the detox grounded me again. I love social media. Don’t get me wrong. I do everything on social media but it made me realize that life is where I am, not on my phone, not on Facebook. We shouldn’t take social media as serious as we do. All we got to do now is live our lives and use social media accordingly.

A few weeks later, I’m still not reading my Facebook News Feed on a regular basis. I now keep my phone in a different room for part of the day. At night, I charge it in my office away from the bedroom.

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