Disconnecting Is Good For the Mind
I have been connected to the internet since 1997. I have gone no more than probably 24-hours without being connected in some way. This morning as I write this (June 2015), I sit in an old wooden chair with my MacBook on my lap. It’s been 8 days since my last check-in online. I haven’t updated Twitter, Facebook, managed groups and accounts on profiles, or even logged into Gmail. For all I know there may be people that think I am ignoring them, not paying them, or that something happened to me. I didn’t tell many people that I was going to the Philippines for a month.
This isn’t about my vacation or necessarily about me. It’s about the freedom you feel when you disconnect. I walked the beach for 30-minutes along the small waves that crashed at my feet. I haven’t had a thought about work or the internet except for the fleeting moments that I may have forgotten to email this person or that person. I will be reconnected in 3 days and it’s a bittersweet feeling. I will be sucked in again, yet whole again.
We all spend so much time online doing whatever it is that we are doing. For me it’s checking the bank accounts, email, social media, and from time to time working on my websites.
Previously I had to quit cold turkey on some obsessions I had. At one point in 2011 I had over 850 domains that I owned and about 250 of those had live websites. I spent my days updating, writing, managing them all, and very little time with my family. I was busy honing my skills so I could make money online. I never really did, but I learned more than I paid for. I was a junkie for managing my 2 servers and all those websites to the point of obsession.
One day I said to myself that it was time to clean house. I allowed all but 100 domains to expire over the course of a year. Most were part of a business that failed and I could have pressed along but my passion was moving away from it. It was freeing, but I only learned to obsess over social media marketing instead and instead, became my new “drug” of choice. The internet can captivate you and convince you that you can make money online if you are good at this or that. It’s mostly not true. Only some make real money.
Before this vacation I counted 59 domains to my name with 20 expiring soon. I am 37 now, which is young, but old enough to learn from previous mistakes. I understand that there is more to life outside of the 1’s and 0’s that transmit my emoji’s.
Disconnecting from online for this short 11 days is another step in the right direction. My goal is to only have 2 websites and maybe one day, only one that I personally manage. I still intend to live and work online, but in a different way. I am building the foundation of something big. For now, besides my laptop for writing while I am visiting the beautiful Philippine Islands, I am truly enjoying the complete disconnect from the digital world.
Have you “detoxed” your brain like this? Have you paused to make changes or just to cleanse the need of checking in? Did it make a difference? How do you disconnect?
Maybe you can’t answer any of those questions because you haven’t done it yet. That’s okay if that’s the case. We all reach that bridge at some point and while I probably let millions of dollars in domain names simply expire and gave away much of my efforts for nothing, there is still a lesson somewhere to learn from. I certainly feel that if I have achieved this much by my 30’s then my 40’s and 50’s should be amazing.
I apologize if this comes off as bragging. That’s not my intent and writing/blogging is my stress relief. I have no real story to tell of someone who disconnected like I have over the last couple weeks. I do want to hear your story. Maybe this post is more like a support group of people who benefited from disconnecting. I would love to read other stories if anyone cares to share with the rest of us.
If you want to share or just comment on what I shared, please do so in the comments below. I promise I will read all of them as time allows. Lastly, if you don’t want to comment that is fine too. Maybe you can share my story with someone and even if that is too big of an ask, I thank you for taking the time to read this.
If you want to hear me narrate this post just click play below: