"So, have you seen 'Stranger Things'?" my coworker asked me. I stared at her, wondering if it was an appropriate time to launch into my well-worn speech about the Internet.
Here's the thing: I don't use Netflix. I don't want YouTube videos except at work. I don't watch Hulu. I only listen to Spotify when I'm driving. I don't download music.
I don't have good Internet. It's truly the tragedy of my life.
Ok, actually, I should clarify. I do have good Internet in that it is very fast. I don't have good Internet in that I have a data limit. 15gb, in fact. The average movie on Netflix uses about 3 or 4gb to stream. So, we don't watch videos; we limit photo uploads and downloads; we don't use wifi on our phones.
Living with bad Internet--that is, Internet that operates on a data plan--is extremely stressful. I pay an insane amount of money every month for the Internet we have and I can barely use it. Blogging stresses me out because each moment I spend writing a blog post, each time I upload the wrong photo or have to redo my graphic on Canva... I stress out. If I use an extra amount of data, I know it will bite us in the butt at the end of our billing cycle.
I take extreme measures to prevent unnecessary data expenditures: I use AdBlock purely to prevent auto-playing video ads (the worst, they are my nemesis). I also have a Google Chrome extension that stops news website videos from auto-playing (another nemesis). I have to turn on settings in Facebook and Twitter to prevent auto-playing videos. Same with Instagram.
It sounds incredibly whiny to say "it's hard to have to do these things." But as someone who works primarily on the Internet (even at work), it is really stressful. I try not to work from home because I end up using so much data simply because of Slack and email and sitting on a computer for 8 hours straight. I try to do all my blogging at work on my lunch break or after I'm done with work. I schedule my weekly Twitter updates at work or on my phone while I'm walking through the grocery store.
However, there are some benefits. Danny and I spend a lot of time together, reading or writing (our wifi turned off on our computers). I bullet journal every night. I take baths. After I get my work done (as quickly as I can) and bills paid (again, as quickly as I can), I cook and clean and meal prep... and then I have time to spend with Danny or go walking or work out.
Sometimes I get frustrated that I miss out on some major cultural happenings--like 'Stranger Things' or other Netflix and Internet trends--but on the other hand, I also feel like I can more effectively read books and connect to the "real" world. I might not be able to chat about 'Stranger Things'--in fact, I might have to stare blankly at a new coworker as I explain, again, that I don't use Netflix, because I can't, because I don't have good Internet--but I can tell you about the last 10 books I read, the story I'm working on, or the podcast I am listening to right now.