Xavier Jared

TwoShay

Two brothers on personal development, philosophy, and being awesome

Living Dark: My Life Without Internet

Jared,

I have no computer and therefore no internet. I can’t see this becoming a permanent lifestyle but for the last four months it’s something I’ve been trying out.

Why?

Originally there was no why. Having no computer wasn’t a situation I consciously put myself in. Perhaps in an effort to make me cooler my sub-conscious was rebelling against the geek culture I largely subscribe to. I operate on the surface though and for me that’s a treacherous enough pile of shit. I don’t need to include sub-layers to speculate as to why I thought it was a ever good idea to keep a fire hazard disguised as a personal computer in a room with my personal belongings.

I gave up caring about what was under the hood many years ago—my rig was literally frankensteined together from hand-me-downs and shit I found in dumpsters—so when I say fire hazard I am using my generous voice. Not surprisingly, my computer packed it in, and that’s how I ended up in this situation. ‘Living dark’, as per the title, because ‘dark’ sounds cooler than ‘lame’.

STAR WARS
The coolest rebels.

You might think the aforementioned contraption wouldn’t be too hard of a thing to miss, but I got some serious mileage out of it. When prompted I would always tick the ‘heavy’ box next to usage. Unless you’re a sound engineer or porn editor, gaming is pretty much the only thing you can’t do with 256MB of RAM.

On the subject of gaming, I’ve always had a much greater fascination with games as a medium, rather than as an activity to be partook. Instead of dropping eighty bucks on the latest AA title I would download some youtubes and watch other people play them. Quite often this process would involve me jumping the video forwards in massive increments so in the space of ten minutes I could have inhaled a game in its entirety, leaving the next hour free for me to contemplate difficulty curves, story arcs, mechanics, and artwork, and the next one to read every blog on the internet about other peoples’ contemplations. In short, I didn’t feel that I was missing out by not importing liquid nitrogen to cool my quad cores.

That sort of behaviour isn’t uncommon for me, so you can see why not having a computer might be a healthier choice. There were other things my science box could do though that perhaps you’ll be able to better relate to: email, text editing, and Facebook. I’m not going to try and drive traffic by hating on Facebook—point 11 is all that needs to be said. As for text editing it was mainly just blog posts and I write them out by hand now. Email is probably the biggest issue but seeing as I’m pretty much the only person ever to not have a computer I can always use someone else’s.

Why are these good things?

The reason I’ve decided to continue this life style is because some really interesting changes have come about as a result and I’m curious to keep at it and see what else comes up.

I never kill time. I have almost eliminated all down time from my life. I wake up and I can’t turn on a computer. I come home and I can’t turn one on then either. That means I do more things. Previously I would wake up and immediately turn the computer on. Sometimes I’d spend an hour or two compulsively checking things and reading, but even days when I had something else on would always start with emails and Facebook.

Now that just isn’t an option.

When I wake up I have to run, I have to practise something, I have to do all that shit I keep putting off like washing and house cleaning. There isn’t an alternative anymore. During the days I have to either keep doing these things, or find other things to try out or go and see. Usually that involves seeing more people as well simply because when you’re out doing things it tends to be with other people.

Learning new things. Another bonus is that my compulsive learning habit has surprisingly become more successful. I get curious about things and have to learn about them. Previously I used the internet, which you’d think would be the mecca of random learning, but now I am forced to go to a library. I don’t even research online for the best books or look for reviews. I just pick a topic, find 3 or 4 books that look relevant, and smash through them. I do this even when I’m only a little curious about something, and the end result is I get much better information.

Surely there are some shit bits?

There are definitely some bad points.

Writing is harder. This blog suffers because I’m never around a computer long enough to actually get a blog post into digital format. Writing them out by hand is much harder than it should be. My process used to involve me using cut and paste to re-arrange words I liked the sound of into something Xav might be able to edit to make publishable. Pencils force you to be linear with your thoughts, while I prefer parallel or tangent methods.

Emails don’t get checked regularly. They were getting checked way too often previously but considering all my work and scheduling is done primarily via email once every few hours may be a better option than once every few days.

Simple Dependencies. There are quite a few little things that I didn’t realise I was dependent on. My work timetables are harder to get and often I’ve shown up at a school to teach and released I don’t actually know which student I’m meant to be teaching. And when I do figure it all out I end up sending in invoices late.

Instead of properly recording dates and times for gigs I would know roughly when stuff was on and hit the internet to check when I really needed to know.

Google maps was my way of hiding the fact I lucked out on getting the gene that gives males an instinct for direction.

Gregory and Audrey on a Vespa
Is it left or right at the lights? Gregory Peck knows.

These suck a bit but aren’t too bad. Getting paid late and been forced to use a diary more efficiently are things I can deal with. Perhaps now I might even develop a sense of direction.

I spend more money. This is the worst thing. My expenses have gone up considerably now that I’m out of the house every single day. More planning needs to be down to cut down on this. I tried buying heaps of food and cooking it on Sunday. It almost worked, but I probably spent the same amount because I still ate out and met up with people lots, but the difference was when I was alone was I always had pre-made, more healthy food.

I don’t have plans to get a new computer any time soon. Currently I’m just saying yes to everything and rolling with whatever comes up. I’m looking forward to being a bit more deliberate with all the time I’ve freed up and seeing what new things I can add to my life. I’m considering picking up what ever flavour of smart phone the kids are into and making the change more long term, but until then I’ll keep living with the lights out.

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