by Jimmy Jacob on Thursday, September 6th, 2012 - - 4 CommentsConfessions, Twitter
Yes, I’m alive. I’m sorry for being such a selfish f*cking bastard, but my disappearance was not related to family or my relationship. It was simply based off a drunken dare in my local pub–and let me tell you now, it helped me immensely.
A little over a month ago, my high school buddy, Emmanuel came into town to visit. Emmanuel (or Manny as I can him) and I always got along because we both led the same challenging path of being struggling writers. Expecting to share self-deprecating stories of our writing process, I was surprised to see him in higher spirits and looking sharp as ever.
He then went on to tell me that he sold one of his screenplays to a big film company and that him and his high school sweetheart recently got engaged. Of course, I was happy for him–but it is only human to feel jealous when you see someone close to you succeed in something you feel like you’re failing at.
When I asked him how he was able to do it, he then told me his secret was by simply going off the grid. He took a month off work and refused to check his email, iPhone and social media networks. It was during that time he was able to get his script done and spend quality time with his fiancee and has never felt happier in his life.
“Jimmy, look at all these people around us sitting at their tables. Not a one of them are not glancing at their phones every two minutes. We’re living in time where machines are actually controlling man kind. Things come way too easy to us now and that is why we’re constantly distracted from building true relationships with ourselves and with those around us. You should give it a try, man.” he said.
I had already been experimenting with going off on the grid on weekends and I see how social media networks like Facebook Timeline and Twitter have already affected romantic relationships with the increase of needless fights, jealousy, obsession and emotional cheating. Although, I didn’t feel like I could last a month. I told Manny it was tempting, but I couldn’t do it.
“Yo man, don’t be a p*ssy. I know you run that blog, but if your readers really respect you, they’ll be back. Take the time to write off the grid and to chill with your woman without any distractions. Trust me, it pays off.”
I still obliged. It was then he offered me a thousand dollars from his advance he got for selling his screenplay if I did it, I was immediately sold.
So when I got home, I made Sabrina hide my lap top and iPod. Turned off my blackberry and reactivated my huge Zack Morris-like pay as you go phone from years ago, dusted off my VHS player and grabbed my Vinyl player from storage and started my detox of all things to do with today’s technology.
Let me tell you now that although it paid off, it was one of the most difficult things I had to do. In fact, I’m already planned my quit date from cigarettes since nic-fitting has nothing on tweet-fitting. However, it was definitely one of the most rewarding and here are some things that improved in my life when I went M.I.A online:
1. It Made Me Appreciate The Little Things
When you have a month off work and have your days to yourself, it can be especially freeing, albeit boring at times especially when you live with someone–and don’t have porn to look at online. So instead of doing my usual routine, I created a new one. Every morning, I did something I haven’t done for years—buy the newspaper. After buying the newspaper, I would grab a Timmy’s coffee and then go to High Park and read it. It doesn’t sound like much, but trust me if it was very therapeutic. I also bought a disposable camera (much to the dismay of the Wal-mart clerk who sold it to me) and started snapping pictures of my surroundings and with Sabrina and I. I would then get them developed and wait and be excited to see the results. Doing this made me remember how we take the little things for granted. It was definitely what I needed.
2. Made Date Nights Far More Interesting
Going off the grid was great for my relationship since I didn’t have to see my girlfriend roll her eyes every time she would see that red blinking light go off on my BlackBerry. During this month, every time we had a date, she made sure she was off the grid as well. We went to record stores and picked up some obscure soul vinyls and since my Netflix was officially off limits, we got a membership for an independent video store where we would rent old movies when we wanted some quiet date nights home. We went to amusement parks, to campsites, beaches and had hikes and had so many ideas for future dates all because we didn’t have our computers distracting us.
3. I Learned A lot About Tantra
What I can say? I had a lot of time to read.
4. I Introduced Phone Sex Back Into My Life
Remember the times before skyping and misspelled sexting took over our sex lives when our partners were away? Well, when Sabrina went to Montreal to visit her family and I didn’t even have a working phone that could text, I had to rely on phone sex to keep the passion alive and believe me, it was hot. I felt like a horny teenager all over again. God bless my girlfriend’s colorful vocabulary.
5. I Re-Connected With Friends & Family
Facebook and Twitter has falsely provided us a safety net when it comes to being connected to our friends and family. It wasn’t until I was off the grid that I truly realized that ‘liking’ a friend’s link or status, is not the same as bonding with them. So on my downtime, I called friends from my ancient phone, made plans and re-connected with people I haven’t seen offline for years.
Overall, although I’m glad to be back online to re-connect with my readers, being off the grid definitely was an eye-opening experience. I may not have written a highly in demand screenplay like my buddy did, but that’s not to say it wasn’t as rewarding. It’s funny how when we’re always logged on, we never realize how precious and how short life really is. We spend so much time online that we forget how to live life to the fullest. I encourage you all to take the 30-day challenge just to see how much your life changes for the better.
Now if you excuse me, I have 10 crisp 100 dollar bills to put into my bank account—because I have something to save up for.
Thoughts? Let me know in the comment section below!