Monday, August 22, 2011

The Best Disaster Ever

The blog has been a little quiet recently because of a beautiful disaster that happened a week or two ago. Namely, I spilled a gigantic glass of water on my laptop. And I'm so thankful I did.

Don't get my wrong, we tried to save it. I immediately turned it upside down to let the water drip off, David pulled it apart to let it dry out. However, it's still in need of about $100 worth of repairs.

In some ways, it's no big deal. We both came into marriage with our laptops from college, so I can share David's when I need to read a recipe or check my email and we have a more powerful desk top downstairs for storing photos and editing video.

Not having my "own" computer though has just been the next step in my journey to break my internet addiction. I've been debating writing about this for a while, but, to be honest, felt a little ridiculous posting an online article about how I want to spend less time...online. Also, I wasn't sure I was really committed to cutting back. I mean really, just what is the big deal about a little harmless entertainment (like checking my facebook page 20+ times per day).

I don't use the word addiction lightly. I'm actually quite embarrassed to admit the hold my computer, especially facebook, has on me. I started realizing there was a true problem when David and I started spending more of our already limited free time in the evenings vegging out in front of our dualing laptops rather then interacting...mostly because I requested to. Then I started thinking about those quick glances I'd give my minifeed when Caleb was awake. That kid was seeing me interact with the computer more than any other thing in the house besides him. What was that teaching him about it's importance? Despite all this, I still don't think I even saw how much it was really damaging our family life until I started to back away.

The first change I made was Caleb awake = Computer off. We already aren't big TV watchers (we might watch 3 hours of TV/week) so having a screen free house when the baby was awake was a no brainer. I don't feel deprived, because it's normal. The computer seemed so innocent though...I never even thought to set up boundaries around the place I share photos and stories with far away family. Despite all of my confessions, I'm still thankful for that aspect of technology. It's not the computer that's evil...it's my heart.

When I would start to crave interacting with someone who can actually, you know, talk, I'd turn to facebook. Not call a friend to hang out or chat, but just read the 140 characters friends, past coworkers and that girl I had biology with wanted to share about their day. Really deep stuff.

Still, my free time in the evening had me "catching up" on that deep facebook interaction I'd missed out on during the day. Now I could really see it taking a toll on David and I. Some nights I'd feel like I'd hardly spoken to him before bed even though there had been plenty of time. He tried to lovingly address the issue, but I made excuses about how tough my day had been and brushed his words aside.

Then we started feeling convicted about how we spend our Sundays. I read a beautiful passage in Isaiah (58:13-14) about honoring the Sabbath. The first thought that popped into my mind, the thing I knew I needed rest from, was the computer. All day. For about the past month my Sunday has been computer free. We aren't legalistic, we still enjoy Skyping family and will even look up a recipe if needed. But there is no internet news reading, browsing, etc. This was the step that really showed me my addiction for what it is.

The first Sunday I literally felt deprived. I wanted to open up the computer so badly, just for a few minutes! I felt almost antsy for the day to be over. Each week got better and now I actually look forward to Sunday because it's the day I feel closest to God and David all week (which should probably tell you that I'm still struggling the other 6 days).

I don't have a tidy, cheerful wrap up to this story. Dealing with this problem is still something I am right in the middle of. I never would have imagined drenching my laptop would have been step 3 of the process, but I'm so glad it was. Being unable to both use the computer at the same time each night (even I'm not addicted enough to go all the way to the basement rather than sit near David!) has meant we spend more time doing the things we truly enjoy: interacting with family, friends and one another.

2 comments:

The Vogt Family said...

GREAT post! I struggle with this same thing as well - read: I'm typing this on my laptop while hubby is sitting three feet away from me typing on his.

We've instituted the no-computers-on-Sunday rule for several months now, which I love. And I'm away from it for the most part while the kids are awake.

My problem is that I get trapped by it when the kids are asleep. I am much less productive during nap time, and, as you said, it cuts in on my time with Brandon at night.

I'm sorry about the water on your keyboard, but you're right that sometimes our blessings come through rain drops :)

Jeni said...

a great post! I periodically do a computer fast, maybe a couple times a month when I feel like I really need it (I know I am super addicted. Pinterest doesn't help. and I follow so many blogs, that really eats up the day) Maybe I'll try the Sunday rule too. Good idea.