On the first day of 2016, I moved into my very first apartment. Talk about a new beginning! Leaving the nest for the first time is scary, uncertain, uncomfortable, and above all, exciting. I learned very quickly about all of the responsibilities that I may have taken for granted while living under my parents’ roof — one of them was having internet access.
According to a poll conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of the Wi-Fi Alliance: 75 per cent of the 1,000 millennials surveyed would rather have a week without coffee than a week without Wi-Fi. I promise I’m not one of them — I’d take a perfect cup of blonde roast over Wi-Fi anyday!
Understandably, in a world where we’re always plugged in (especially being in social and digital media, where I’m plugged in tenfold) — Wi-Fi’d in every home, office, coffee shop, hotel, mall, airport, and train, it’s terrifying not to be connected to the great World Wide Web and seeing those familiar bars.
But I lived to tell the story, and learned a few valuable lessons along the way. Here’s what happened during my week without Wi-Fi:
1. I became more connected.
Ironically. Without the distraction of the internet and especially social media, I was able to focus on my relationships, both with others and myself. It’s amazing how quickly you respond to text messages and phone calls when you have no other form of communication. When my phone lit up with a text message from my mom, it was a pleasant surprise, rather than being overshadowed by notifications and alerts.
2. I became more productive.
With no new-found knowledge to gain from reddit, no new decor inspirations from Pinterest, I was able to get a lot more done, and having just moved in, there’s a lot to be done. I also found myself procrastinating less and tackling my to-do list head-on.
3. I became more mindful.
I’m particularly guilty of mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed before bed and not stopping until I see the last photo from my previous scrolling session. It’s a vicious cycle… and a symptom of FOMO (fear of missing out): the desire to be in-the-know about anything and everything that happens with everyone and everything, all the time. And frankly, it’s exhausting.
4. I became more present.
Although I love posting puppy pictures, I did ordinary, everyday things like walk my dog and make dinner without feeling the need to snap, tweet, or check in.
5. I became more resourceful.
Instead of using Spotify or YouTube to stream music, I had to go back to my parent’s house and steal some Christmas CDs. Instead of online banking, I went into my branch and talked to a teller. To access email and research I do for clients in my side job, I gave my local library a visit. By stepping out of the house to accomplish these very simple tasks, I discovered new people and places, taking note of all the resources I’m so lucky to have around me.
6. I had real “me” time.
This is my favourite one. I don’t mean sitting on the couch deciding what my next Netflix marathon should be, or having dinner while checking out the latest in everyone’s Facebook lives, but actual, dedicated time to relax, decompress, and be at peace:
- I sat down in the morning and took in the aroma of my coffee, taking notice of the flavour, boldness, warmth, colour, and intensity.
- I lit candles in the evening and gave myself a manicure and pedicure.
- I caught up on a book I started reading over the holidays.
- I did some more unpacking and planning for my new home.
At the end of the week, I caved in and gave my internet service provider a call. As the technician cheerfully installed a shiny, new modem, telling me about the latest in fibre optic technology, I couldn’t help but feel much more appreciative about being connected to the virtual world again, this time with a new perspective of browsing with intent, and more importantly, taking the time to be present.
– Sozanny Chea
Executive Office Administration ‘12