I love the internet, but I love chocolate cake too… the difference between the two, is that I don’t spend 8 hours a day stuffing cake into my mouth (unless I’m feeling a bit emotional, and then it’s fine, OK!).
Why don’t I eat chocolate cake morning, noon and night? Well, simply because I know it’s bad for me. It’s all about moderation and I think the same goes for the internet.
These days we tend to live our lives as a projection of ourselves. What I mean by that is that it’s really more of an interpretation than a reflection. This is why I feel its very important to leave in some of the negative parts of our lives in the vlogs, just like everyone we have down days, and it simply wouldn’t be fair for us to project a life that doesn’t include some of that.
The main problem with being constantly shackled to our phones, is that in effect we’re only partially there… we’re distracted from what matters, the present moment.
Even when we adventure out for new experiences, we’re so busy trying to capture the experience, that we seldom actually live it. This is why my husband Stefan and I have decided to try something called ‘Blackout’.
The rules are simple and last from 7.00pm (after Grayson goes down to bed) until the following morning.
Rule 1. No internet
Rule 2. No TV – but films / boxsets are ok
Rule 3. No cheating!
Our first Blackout felt really strange, we didn’t quite know what to do with ourselves at first, but then after an hour or so something strange happened… the sense of isolation gave way to a feeling of liberation. It felt refreshing… you feel free.
I had a comment from someone on my Youtube channel saying ‘Blackout sounds great but what if you’re alone with nobody to share them with?’ It’s a fair question, I think the internet is a paradox… it offers you validations and tells you that you’ll never be alone, it will give you everything you need aside from the things that really matter.
I spoke in my last post about the importance of creating moments but it’s these very moments that technology distracts you from by telling you there’s either nothing to see, or that if you if you reallymust go all hippy and experience it then at least capture it though a small screen so everyone else can not really experience it too.
I’d say Blackout is perfect for single people, as much of what you do in Blackout is for personal reflection anyway. It’s as simple as going for a short walk, baking a cake, putting pen to paper and writing a letter to someone who means a lot to you, sketching out a ‘to do’ list of things you want make, do or achieve over the next year or even just reading a book… These are all things that require just you… the person you really are buried under all that ego and distraction. So you see, you don’t need someone for Blackout, in fact it might be even better doing it alone.
Besides, remember Blackout might only be for an hour or so a week. See it as a protest to your own ego by walking away from it so a short while. This may all sound a bit ironic from someone who blogs and vlogs intimate parts of their lives and streams it out to thousands of people each week, but Blackout is not there to pull you off the internet all together, it’s simply there to remind you of the person you are without it. I also think that for someone who does expose a lot of their life online, it’s almost more important to consciously have a break from time to time.
Blackout is a peaceful, cathartic time. A time that I look forward to, it helps me switch off, recalibrate and wind down. Stef and I end up spending proper quality time together and chatting, building forts, reading to one another, writing things, playing guitar. The way things used to be, before this wonderful, yet simultaneously destructive thing called the internet really took off.
A viewer sent me a Tweet saying how her brother was annoyed that their whole family were trying Blackout, and I simply said to her, ‘your brother will probably never remember another evening he sat in front of his TV or laptop, but he’ll always remember that time his family built a fort together’!
So, that being said, I challenge all of you reading this to try Blackout one evening. It sounds silly I know, but I promise, you’ll love it. Even just for a couple of hours once a week.
You might surprise yourself.
Someone else recently said on Instagram ‘the internet- freedom of communication, or our own prison?’ and it’s a very interesting argument. For all it’s wonderful benefits has it made us lazy? Do we now put less effort into the things that matter? What do you think about it all?