In keeping with tradition, last month I booked some time off for some rest and relaxation from the office and to take in the festivities of the Eurovision Song Contest, from the comfort of my couch here in Canada. For what seems like ten years now, Eurovision has been the focal point of my version of “spring break”.
The first few days of my time off consisted of jotting down some blog ideas floating around in my grey matter and puttering around the house, getting chores done. With those out of the way, when Eurovision came on, I could truly let myself get swallowed up by my sofa, pillow, blanket and cat, and to completely disconnect from the world.
That is… until I woke up Tuesday morning to find I was already disconnected from the world.
No Internet service!
After a series of attempts over two days to restore my Internet service over the phone, with the assistance of cheerful client service representatives, it finally took a site visit from a technician on Thursday to get everything fixed up.
Once I was on the couch, with pillow, blanket and cat, watching the Eurovision semi-final #2, my cares completely melted away with each passing costume change, wind machine, and key change.
The next day, I watched semi-final #1, and on the Saturday, I watched the finals live with the other 204 million viewers around the world. Everything seemed right with the universe again.
But those few days I was without Internet, I surprised myself at my dependence on it. How do people actually go off-the-grid anymore?
I realize that I do glance at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram a few times per day, just for fun. If I missed a few days of those passing glances, the world would not come to an end.
Also, I knew I could make good use of my off-grid time whether by tackling the spring cleaning, catching up on the books stacking up on my nightstand, or clearing out the backlog of shows on my PVR.
But what I did not realize was the degree to which Internet access was necessary to my creative life and the influence it would have on the action items I had planned:
Obviously, my blog becomes off-limits when I can’t connect to it, so blog maintenance was out.
For inspiration, I was planning on watching a few movies and documentaries on Netflix involving artists and writers. I couldn’t see those.
I was going to spend more time on Instagram, checking out some fellow photographers’ works of art, and really study the images, asking myself “how did they do that”? I couldn’t do that with a big “Can’t refresh feed” staring me in the face.
I was going to check out a few tutorials on YouTube, but the lights on the modem said otherwise.
And of course, catching up on the endless loop of software updates and app updates (for my creative work tools) that I had planned for this week were off the table.
That being the case, without my work tools working at optimal levels, some other creative activities had to be put on hold.
In keeping things in perspective, I realized that the loss of Internet was just temporary, and really nothing to sweat about in the grand scheme of things.
But it was a complete revelation to me that the activities to which I gravitate most to disconnect from the working world to feel grounded and to relax, had become so dependent on a steady Internet connection.
I guess this 50+ year old isn’t as far out of the technological loop as I sometimes think I might be.
On the flip side, in the moment, it encouraged me to dig a little deeper to find the creativity to go off the list and find other off-the-grid activities to spark the interest of the artist within.
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Have a great day,