And what did I discover ? That being screen-free means more time to clean the house and more time to read. Hardly a revelation! And not difficult at all.
The internet is an odd place, intimate and impersonal at once. It’s useful, yet unsettling. A place that requires you to wonder just how connected you really are to those you are connecting with.
I didn’t miss the wondering. I didn’t miss the sense of uninterrupted life that being screen-free gave me. Days where the time for work and for leisure were unrushed and adequate. I didn’t miss sitting at the computer with my back to the room, to the living being done in the room. I didn’t miss the multiple and fragmented conversations I was used to holding in my head from the last post, to the next thread.
I know that some people manage it well, transitioning easily from screen to life and back. Some of us find abstinence an easier approach.
Yet in all the real-life gaps between conversations with friends and neighbours and sisters and children – the gaps where there was time to clean the grubby kitchen doors or make bread days in a row or lie on the bed and read and read – there was a missing. An absence of mind speaking to mind, mediated by the keyboard and the screen. Enough of a missing to make me return to this odd, disembodied world.
With changes. A fortnight was long enough to see that. To realise that blogging can be done off-line. And that reading and conversing can be done after the day’s living is done. That there is meaning to a weekly Sabbath, even for a non-believer. That email has no power over me! Things to make it easier to move between this world and that.