Unlimited

What would you do if you knowingly had an unlimited amount of something? If you think about it, so much of what we do relates to things that are limited in some way. Our time is limited and so is our money. Our patience and our strength are limited, too. So is our ability to love and our willingness to forgive, if we are really honest with ourselves.

This question about having an unlimited supply of something comes to my mind as a result of recently switching to a so-called unlimited wireless data plan for my family. I can’t recall ever having this before. It always cost too much money, really. But our cellular provider is currently offering a very good deal and my wife and I decided to make this switch. It made me stop and think about implications. For as long as I can remember, I worried about running over my data limits (previously, about three Gb per month). Can’t do this, can’t watch that, can’t stream whatever unless or until I am in a wifi hotspot. Or so my thought process went, and that mindset is now deeply ingrained.

Having unlimited high speed wireless really changes things. I am not so reliant on my home wifi or on someone else’s wifi that happens to be “free.” I can watch a movie or download a new app or FaceTime with someone while out and about, and not have to worry about running over. Perhaps more importantly, I don’t have to worry about my late teen/early 20s kids on my plan who constantly are connected via all kinds of bandwidth heavy ways, and hector them to remember not to use all of our wireless allowance. Of course, there are caveats, and our cellular provider says they reserve the right to artificially limit bandwidth if demand is high. I get that. Even so, it feels oddly liberating to have an unlimited data plan.

It seems to me that we are entering a new era of Internet accessibility, and the ability to have (relatively unfettered) access on connected devices is the present day equivalent to living near where a railroad is built or a new highway. I am very lucky to be able to afford this access, and I realize it is denied to or unreachable by millions of people around the world. Many people, including those in my chosen profession of librarianship, rightly see this as a social justice issue. So in my own case, I write all of this without any sense of gloating. Instead, it makes me realize just how fortunate I am.

Consider: what would you do if you had an unlimited supply of something? How would it change your world?

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