I have a phone.  I got it yesterday.  It’s the best, most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.  It’s small and black and simple.  It has just 11 buttons (0-9 & Redial), no caller ID, and no speed dial.  It’s plugged right there into the wall in my living room.  It can not go outside or into town with me.  It will not send text messages or play a single game.  It cost me $14.00.  There is nothing modern or fancy about my phone.  I am overjoyed.  It has a dial tone, a number, and hope.  I can pick it up and call the 5 people I can claim know here in Costa Rica.  They can- though they will not- call me.  The best, most hopeful thing about my new little phone is that it means internet is on its way to my house.  Now that the phone line is in, it will be just a short while until I have DSL (or the Costa Rican equivalent).

I had a few tough days at the beginning in, rough days in which having no internet was something like having my arm cut off- I felt a profound loss and didn’t quite know how to navigate the world.  I wanted to know things, but there was no Google- I had to go ask someone who may, or may not, know the answer or even understand my question.  I lonely, but there was no Skype or cell phone- I had to drive down into town and hope the person I wanted to speak to was free right then.  I was bored, but there was no Netflix or Hulu or (did I mention) Google- I had to occupy my own mind.

After a few days of this, I adjusted.  If I was bored I wrote, journaled, took another walk, took a nap(!), did some laundry, did more yoga, swept the floor, watched the butterflies, or played solitaire.  It became the most peaceful thing in the world to not have internet, TV, and phone.  It was healthy.  It was restful.  It was incredibly good for me.  I have loved the last week I’ve gone with limited access to these things.  I didn’t miss them for more than a few brief moments- ghost limb syndrome-like.

Frankly, there’s a part of me that’s worried- if I have internet again, will I go back to being addicted?  Has my detox lasted long enough to set me free?  I guess the answer to that question is “we’ll see.”  The answer is also, “it’s up to me,” yes?  It’s up to me to put on my shoes and go for a walk.  It’s up to me to sit down and write.  It’s up to me to take a nap(yay).  It’s up to me to clean or do yoga.  It’s up to me to stay unplugged and choose something that is better for me in the long run.

I canceled my Netflix before I moved.  I’m not forwarding my Skype to the new phone.  I will not have a Facebook account.  I’m not setting up WiFi.  I’m making choices that leave me as free of the addiction to modernity as I can to be but still stay in ready contact with friends and family.  I could have gone without internet at home completely, I have begun to realize, but I am not yet ready to let go quite that much.  My head says ‘let’s to that,’ but my heart says ‘I want to call my people every day if I need to!’

So, I embrace my new little phone.  And I will try to cling to the memory of the peace and silence I’ve had and how good it has been.  Perhaps I will find the balance I need more easily than I fear.  Perhaps you will laugh, but go ahead.  I have a phone that’s nothing like yours, and I’m happy with it.

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