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This isn’t me. Well, it is, but it isn’t. I’m not here anymore.

Let me explain, or at least try to. If it seems like there’s been a long dry spell where I haven’t written or shared any blog posts, it’s because I haven’t. I’ve wanted to, but just hadn’t figured out how to do it these days, or even if I should. I’ve been especially conflicted about it the last few months, and although I haven’t got the ‘how to’ exactly figured out yet, I have figured out ‘why I want to.’ And maybe that’s enough. So now, as the new year begins, I’ve decided to see if I could find a system to write and share some stories as they’re happening, and get them posted to the blog on my website.

You wouldn’t think it’d be that tough to do, but it is when you’re taking a year off from the internet.

I’m six-months-into my year off actually. Indy and I are… although the only internet she ever saw anyway is if I showed something to her. Which I haven’t, since late July. So if you haven’t heard much from me personally on the web, that’s why… I’m not on the web.

It’s something I’d been thinking about doing for a long time… disconnecting.

What I’m actually doing this year by disconnecting from the internet, is choosing to reconnect at a much deeper level with my family, friends, and community. With the place where I live and love and work and the people I’m surrounded by. With myself, and with God.

Although I’d been thinking about doing it for awhile, I just couldn’t seem to find a good time that made any sense. And so in the end, I didn’t find the right time, I just chose ‘now,’ and pulled the plug. For a year. No internet. No google. No Amazon, no Netflix, no YouTube, no ‘hey Siri’, no GPS, no nothing… if it’s on the web.

Yes, I actually did climb on the roof and cut the cable that brought internet to the house, but I’m not sure it really required that. I mostly just had to unhook the router and disable ‘wifi’ from my laptop, from our ‘Nest’ thermostat, and any and everything else here at home that is or was possibly connected to the web. I had already moved to a flip phone a few years ago, so that wasn't a problem, but turning off email, was a little more interesting. Not to receive, read, or respond to a single email for a year… your first thought is, ‘What am I going to miss out on?’ but once you get past that, at least for me, that thought was replaced with, ‘Yes, but what amazing things might come out of this break from the world wide web?’

And you know what, it’s been pretty darn amazing! For me, life has just gotten sweeter, by being more present and being here more. And I mean truly, truly ‘here.’ Right where I am, with the people I love, in the place I love, doing what I love to do. I think the biggest price we pay when it comes to the internet, isn’t the cable bill. It’s the amount of attention it takes from us, and from the ones we love. For all of us, it’s a constant distraction. The ability to look up or know anything, anytime, anywhere… just at the push of a button, is an amazing thing. But it also comes at an incredible cost. And so if for no other reason, taking a year off the web, to remember what life was like before we had all these ‘time-saving’ devices and apps and services, could only be helpful for me. And so we just decided to do it.

In some ways I guess if you think about it, what I’m doing is a bit revolutionary. How many people do you know that have pulled that plug recently? For most of us, it’s zero. But how many people do you know who say they would like to? Well, that’s another story. Most of us know we need to make some serious changes when it comes to our phones and tv’s and computers and social media and the use of technology, or better said, how ‘technology’s using us.’ But rarely do we make decisions to do much of anything substantial about it. And so for me, I decided to pull the ‘connection’ plug. For others, it might be just to spend less time on social media, or to get off Facebook, or the choice of a dumb phone might actually be smarter than a smartphone. Whatever it is, we all are trying to figure it out in our own ways.

Now I know what I’m doing may seem a little extreme, and you might think, ‘there’s no way I could do that.’ And I get it. But the reality is, surprisingly, it’s not actually been that big of a deal or that much of a change. Heck anyone over 40 remembers when all of life was this way. Quieter, simpler (if you call having to call your local book store to order a book you want, waiting a week for them to get it, and driving there to pick it up- simpler than click 'buy' on Amazon). There was a time not very long ago when we weren’t connected to the whole world every minute, when we had to mail a letter instead of texting, when we had to use an Atlas to get to where we’re going, or look up something in the library or at a bookstore, if we wanted to know the answer to a question we had.

It’s actually been super fun. And I think Indiana has enjoyed it too. She has much more of her Papa’s attention, and we have both been reading like crazy. Since July, she’s gone from reading at a 1st-grade level, to now a 3rd and at-times 4th-grade level, all because there haven’t been any distractions like movies (we took the year off of watching movies too, which I’ll talk about another time). It’s been amazing to see all the positive things that’ve come out of it already for her and for me.

So back to these blog posts…. this one and any that follow at least until the end of July. Let me explain by saying, I didn’t put this here. I mean, I wrote it. And loved writing it. But when I was done I just handed it physically to Mikel, Heather or Seth here at the farm, and those guys are all still wired to the web and so for them, it’s easy just to log on to the backend of my website and upload blog posts for me. They've offered to do it, so I can still write, and share, and capture, and remember stories like I normally would. Even when I’m personally not connected to anything.

My hope is that this is the first of many new blog posts this year. It should be at least, if this works like they tell me it will. I’ll write and they’ll post. And maybe, just maybe, something that we’ve shared together will be a blessing or encouragement to you.

- rory



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