Now that I have a (more) regular internet connection, I realize that being mostly offline for the past couple of months might have limited me in many things, but it sure saved me quite a bit of time.
Time is our most precious resource at home, and there are so many things that are potential time-guzzlers: TV, the internet, untimely long phone calls and visits. That is why we must be constantly on guard, in particular during hectic seasons such as Pesach cleaning, during which it always seems there aren’t enough hours in a day anyway (to me, it seems so even in seasons without Pesach so close ahead :o).
Personally I don’t have a TV at home, but with the internet I must be very careful. That is why I’m writing this post, purposefully, in a Word document, without opening a web browser. I know I’m prone to go online “only for a minute” to check my emails, and then it’s “only for a minute” to check my blog, or to look up a recipe, and then I end up browsing recipes for hours, or watching a documentary about medieval history – which is of course fascinating, but not strictly related to what I ought to be doing at the moment.
I wrote about this before, how in my opinion all the wonderful (and I mean it – wonderful) modern conveniences – washing machines, cellular phones, the internet – created the expectation that we are supposed to be a) always available, b) accomplish more, more and more.
I can hardly doubt people in the past worked much more strenuously than we do today, but I still think the stress levels were lower. For example, if a woman had to grow her own wheat, grind her own flour and bake her own bread all the time, it could be hardly expected of her to throw a three-course meal every day. I think that in such conditions, a humble slice of bread with some cheese would be considered a good dinner on most occasions. Does it mean I would want to be dependent on growing my own wheat, grinding my own flour, etc? Probably not. Just a point to think about how our time tends to get filled up.
Or when people went by on horseback or donkeys, no one could be expected to dash about here and there, to several places every day, which happens all the time today, and which is extremely stressful. And when letters went slowly, people weren’t caught up in a flurry of emails which they were expected to reply to within a day or two, nor in commenting on the Facebook accounts of people they hardly know.
So, practically, what do I plan to do now that I have internet connection again? To use it sparingly, purposefully, and chiefly for things that benefit our family. To keep it a tool, not a time-spender.