It's been almost a year since I started purging all my online accounts and going down this rabbit hole of being almost independent of the current internet machine. Even though I initially thought that I will have problems adapting, I was pleasantly surprised that the transition went so smoothly. Even better, it brought many benefits to my life. Such as increased focus, less stress about trivial things, etc.
It all started with me doing small changes like unsubscribing from emails that I have either subscribed to by accepting terms and conditions. Or even some more malicious emails that I was getting because I was on a shared mailing list. And the later ones I hate the most of all. How the hell do they keep sharing my email and sending me unsolicited emails and get away with it? I have a suspicion that these marketing people share an Excel file between them and keep resubscribing me when they import lists into Mailchimp or similar software.
It's fascinating to see how much crap you get subscribed to when you are not paying attention. It got so bad that my primary Gmail address is a full of junk and need constant monitoring and cleaning up. And because I want to have Inbox Zero, this presents an additional problem for me.
The stress that email presented for me didn't occur to me for a long time. I was noticing that I was unable to go through one single hour without hysterically refreshing email. And if somebody wrote me something, I needed to see it right then, even though I didn't immediately reply to it. I can only describe this with FOMO (fear of missing out). I have no other explanation than that. It was crippling, and I was constantly context switching, which I will address further down this post in more details.
This was one of the reasons why I spawned up my personal email server, and I am using it now as my primary and person email. I still have Gmail as my “junk” email that I use for throw away stuff. I log in to Gmail once a week and check if there are any important emails that I got, but apart from that, it's sitting dormant and collecting dust.
The more I was watching the world loose it's self with allowing anti freedom things to happen to it, the more I started to realize that something has to change. I don't have the power to change the world. And I also don't have a grandiose opinion of myself to even think to try it. But what I can do is to not subscribe to this consumer way of thinking. I will not be complicit in this. My moral and ethical stances won't allow it. So, this brings us to the second part of my journey.
I was using all these 3rd party services because I was either lazy or OK with the drawbacks of them. I watched these services and companies became more and more evil. It is evil if you sell your user's data in this manner. Nobody reads privacy policies and everybody is OK with accepting them, and they pray on that flaw in human nature. I really hate the hypocrisy they manage to muster. These companies prey on our laziness, and we are at fault here. Nobody else. And I truly understand the reasons why we rather accept and move on, and not object and have our lives a little more difficult. They have perfected this through years of small changes that make us a little more dependent on them. You could not convince a person to give away all his rights and data in one day. This was gradual and slow. And it caught us all in surprise. When I really stopped and thought about it, I felt repulsed. By really stopping and thinking about it, I really mean stopping and thinking about it. Thoroughly and in depth.
Each step I took depleted my character a bit more. Like I was trading myself bit by bit without understanding what it all meant. What it meant to be a full person, not divided by all this bought attention they want from me. They don't just get your data, but they also take your attention away from you. They scatter your and go with the divide and conquer tactic from there. And a person divided is a person not fully there. Not at the moment. Not alive fully.
I was unable to form long thoughts. Well, I thought I was. But now that I see what being a full person is again, I can see that I was not at my 100% back then.
A revolt was inevitable. There was no other way of continuing my story without it. Without taking back my attention, my thoughts, my time, and my privacy, regardless of how too late it maybe is.
This has nothing to do with conspiracy theories. Even less with changing the world. All I wanted was to get my life back in order and not waste the energy that could be spent in other, better places.
I started reading more. I can focus now fully on things I work on. Furthermore, I have the mental acuity that I never had before. My mind feels sharp. I don't get angry so much. I can cherish the finer things in life now without the need to interpret them intellectually. Not only that, but I have a feeling of belonging again. Sense of purpose has returned with a vengeance. And I can now help people without depleting myself.
The last step so far was to finish closing all the remaining online accounts that I still had. And when I was thinking what value they bring me, I wasn't surprised that the answer was none. I wasn't logging in them and using them. I stopped being afraid of FOMO. If somebody wants to get in contact me, they will find a way. I am one search away.
We are not beholden to anybody. Our lives are our own. So dare yourself to delete Facebook, LinkedIn. To unsubscribe. Dare yourself to take your time and attention back. Use that time and energy to go for a walk without thinking about work. Read a book instead of reading comment on social media that you will forget in an hour. Enrich your life instead of wasting it. It only requires a small step. And you will feel the benefits immediately. Lose the weight of the world that is crushing you without your consent.