Living in the outernet with occasional visits beyond

Let's just make this clear at the beginning. I LOVE the internet. In my opinion, the internet is the single most important innovation to have happened in my lifetime. It has helped people and communities unite; it abolished many invisible doors that kept ordinary people away from power; it's enabled many to publish books and their own thoughts for the world to see; it's brought experts in various fields into remote areas to give advice and ideas directly to the people who need their help; it gives us more information at a finger stroke than was ever available in the libraries of my youth; it helps develop friendships and sometimes love; it enables all of us to roam the virtual world so that we can look at towns and cities we will never visit and the top of mountains we will never climb; we can watch bears catching fish, live, in a remote wild river; we can visit each others homes and watch families grow and we celebrate births and marriages and mourn the death of friends we've never met. We can also shop on the internet, pay bills, get an education at home and work hundreds of kilometres away from our place of employment. 



The internet is a great teacher and we use it to learn how to sew, knit, create a garden, make jam, baskets, soap and hundreds of other things by googling our interest and choosing from a wide selection of offerings. Without the internet you wouldn't know I exist and I would never have known how many people all over the world share my values, work ethic and beliefs. It's not all light and hope though. The internet has brought us a lot of ugliness, cruelty and despair too. But that's another story for another time. To put it in a nutshell, the internet opens up opportunities, both good and bad, that can change lives.



But it has to be balanced by spending time in the outernet. Problems are created when balance isn't there every single day because of the temptation to spend hours online.



When I closed my business and started working at home I didn't have enough hours in the day to do everything I wanted to do. My main aim was to produce a lot of what I used to buy, to make my home a place I felt comfortable in, to change my home so it facilitated the work I wanted to do and to be creative enough to satisfy the part of me that needs intellectual stimulation. So I planned creative work into my ordinary days and started to build a life that was slow, simple, plain and satisfying.


The creation of that new life gave me more chances to use my computer but apart from the forum and my blog, I consciously restricted my hours on the internet.  I didn't want to experience life through a screen because real life gave me so many opportunities to see, feel, know, touch, smell and experience.  And that has changed me in profound ways. I'm a different person now and I think that has come about because I actively lived life and not just watched it.

How do you deal with the internet? Do you restrict yourself or are you living life online?


17 comments

  1. Rhonda I don't restrict myself as such, I just use the internet differently in different seasons. Sometimes I feel tempted to blog more regularly but I try to keep that to two and at the most three posts a week in order for it not to encroach on my other interests and responsibilities. And to explain that remark, others could probably create three or more posts in the time it takes me to write one.

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  2. I spend max an hour a day online, usually much less, some days nothing atall. After having witnessed so many people becoming online-slaves, I watch myself and my children very carefully. My husband and I are trying to teach our children that the internet can be very useful and interesting if we remain in control of our own time. We had our first snow blizzard last weekend. The following morning (Sunday) we awoke to a beautiful glittering white world. However, come evening, no childrens footsteps filled the hillsides, no sleigh tracks, no snowmen with carrot noses. All the little people were glued to various screens. No, I don't love the internet. I apprechiate it's possibilities, but am saddened to see how it has deprived much of our everyday time together. Pam in Norway

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  3. You are incredibly right. I often have to make myself sit at the computer. I don't like to because I what a time leach it can be. But I also agree that there is so much valuable information available. I do however prefer real life.

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  4. Now that I am retired as well, and a blogger, I use the internet mainly to provide me with information, connect with friends on Facebook and connect with Family, I certainly use it a lot less than when I was working and I don't live life online. I don't consciously restrict myself, I think it just happens. There are too many other wonderful and amazing things to experience.

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  5. I treat the internet like but my hours on the internet are outside work hours, so as soon as i wake up and do all the stuff I need to do i get on the internet and clear the emails and answer any I need to then i am off at 9am and do what I have to do at home or outside. Then in the afternoon I check it again to see if there is anything urgent. I use the computer for everything, my diary, letter writing, keeping records so i probably have more time online/computer than what is basically called limited.

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  6. Thank you for this post Rhonda, a very timely reminder of the need for balance in our lives. It is so easy to get caught up in trawling through information on the internet, when the really rewarding stuff is often elsewhere. Margaret

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  7. I don't restrict my usage, but all my household chores come first. I usually listen to a podcast while knitting or sewing in the evening, there are so many wise and fascinating people out there! We do not own a TV so it is interesting how different we see things without the filter of mainstream media news. During the summer, there's so much to be done that there are days I don't even turn the computer on, but winters can be long up here in the North so we spend more time on it then. It really helps with cabin fever to virtually visit sunny places!

    HUgs
    Jane

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  8. My life is pretty restricted and internet time is a happy place for me. However, I do not have a huge list of things to chase down on the net. It enriches my life because I am losing more hearing all the time and have been totally deaf in one ear since I was seven. It is an easy communication tool for me.

    I have also studied and the net has brought so many changes. What used to take hours can be done in seconds. For instance I do almost all my coursework online and some courses provide a written version of the lectures. So much easier for me. Gone are the days of catalogues and cumbersome storage too.

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  9. I hope I have a reasonable balance on all things electronic.

    I usually check emails, read blogs, and look at FB first thing in the morning while I'm having breakfast. Then I try not to go back to it until late in the afternoon.

    I find it helps a lot that I don't have the internet on my phone, I own a smart phone, but I'm not a plan that includes data, so I'm not tempted to look at it during work breaks etc, although sometimes I think it would be handy to have it during extended waits, like Dr's surgery's etc.

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  10. ....can't live with it - can't live without it. Big internal dualism on this subject.

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  11. I found that I was spending way too much time online, to get away from the stress in my life. That has now changed, I dont do too much surfing, I still check fb, as I homeschool my daughter and that's how I know what is happening in the local homeschool world, but other than that I now only view a very short list of web pages. Guida.

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  12. I used to read the newspaper, cover to cover, each morning. I used to fill in forms each day for my business. I spent time typing invoices, taking the envelopes to the post office queuing up for ages to post them. I also used to drive a three hour round trip each week to do an adult course in art and antiques. I wrote to my friends and family, helped my children with their homework, spent hours in the local library researching my old house, and doing our family tree. Then came the internet! Yeesh! I could do all those things from the relative comfort of my office chair - in a fraction of the time it used to take! It actually gave me hours more of freedom to do things such as walking, visiting friends, cooking, sewing. In fact, the internet inspired us to give up our cosy, middle class life in UK, and move to a frugal and self-sufficient life in France - we learned the theory to do all this by the internet, and bumbled our way through the practicalities in reality. It enables us to have a business which pays the bills, and keeps us informed and in touch with our families. There is no way we could have achieved a fraction of our life here without it. I just love the internet and would never be without it: it's merely a different way of absorbing information for us.

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  13. I went through a traumatic time in my life when the internet was the only life-line I felt I had. I am now more balanced after 2 years and garden and am blessed to spend lots of time with our daughter and grandson (another new grandie due in 3 weeks ) but still have times when I feel so very lonely that I "communicate" with a couple of groups through the web. I think we can have seasons in our life whereby we do spend more time on the internet for a variety of reasons.

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  14. sometimes i spend way too much time on here then a couple of weeks later i don't go near it til late evenings. i love reading my blogs but sometimes that can take a whole day! i have an online game i like to play, i also knit & garden, like many comments have said, it's a matter of balancing & what suits at the current time.
    great post
    selina from kilkivan qld

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  15. Since my forced retirement a couple of months back I have been trying to get into a new routine. What I have found is that I was starting to spend too much time in the armchair glued to my computer. It was emails, blog reading, watching YouTube and iTunes and I finally had to put a stop to it and become much more disciplined about the time I spend online - especially since I signed up for Netflix!
    I now spend a short time in the morning checking emails and just a couple of blogs. Then I get out - I walk, do errands, meet friends, cook, do puzzles and read. I try to not go back online until after supper and it has made a big difference in my outlook. It has been helped by the fact that we have had such a lovely Fall - very sunny and warm - it has made us all feel as though we need to get out and appreciate it for as long as possible before winter sets in. It's all a matter of balance.

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  16. A lot of my work is online, so when I have a work project I'm online more than usual. What's difficult is the temptation to check in on Facebook or personal email 'just for a minute' while I 'take a quick break,' because it's so easy to get sucked in. I do better when I'm on the computer less.

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  17. Much of my business is done online so I'm forced to be there, but I see this as good thing because once that side of "Elefantz" is dealt with each day I have no desire to sit in front of a screen any more...I want to be doing REAL things, so off I go and sew (other side of my business) and homemake, which is far more satisfying. :-)

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