I am getting ready for my trip to the mountain this weekend so things are crazy (to say the least). I wasn’t sure if I would have time to write about this week’s burning question but I wanted to give it a shot. This week’s inquiry:
What do you want to stop doing?
Now, I could have definitely written about some heavy stuff I want to stop doing in my life, but since last week was a deep topic, I figured this week could be more on a practical (but still really important) tip.
I want to stop spending so much time online.
Ok, wow I just said it, I actually put it out there! Does that mean my computer is going to explode in my face, or that the online coven of powerful internet goddess will blacklist me forever? Probably not, but admitting that I spend too much time online is really tough for me so bear with me. What started as a fun distraction from work and school has seriously drained WAY too much of my time, leaving me feeling like I just wasted three hours of my life.
Now don’t get me wrong, the internet is one of the most amazing things in the world. For real. It has connected me with fantastic people, enriched my academic experience, given me a incredible political education and has allowed me to share my life, identity and space in this world.
But it has also sucked tons of my time away from more important endeavors. It has hypnotized me into reading/looking at/blankly staring at articles, pictures, tumblrs, facebook statuses and other things that don’t satisfy me at my core. How much time can one spend on Google Reader before everything starts looking the same? How many recipes can you browse before you are so overwhelmed, you end up not cooking anything at all? How many articles on inspiration and motivation can you read before you forget the most important part – actually applying those things to your real life.
And that’s just the thing. While I appreciate all of the beauty, fun and inspiration the online world(s) give me, I lose the beauty, fun and inspiration of my offline world in the process. Spending hours reading travel blogs while never using that time to hop on a bus and see where it takes me bothers me and makes me sad. And while I won’t ever stop reading blogs, or saving beautiful images to my desktop, I want to take that energy and effort away from the isolated experience of me and the computer and into the universal community experience of shared moments with others and with nature.
Once a month, for the three days I am up in the mountains of Santa Cruz, I am completely offline. No twitter updates, no Facebook statuses, not even a single e-mail. And you know what? It is a time of complete joy. Without the temptation/obligation of being connected to everything and everyone, I am free to enjoy what really matters to me: catching the sunrise, hiking in the forest, sacred song and spending time connecting to like-minded community. I am allowed to be completely immersed in the world, without the internet zapping my energy.
So that is what I want to stop doing. Stop spending so much time in the online world and more time in the offline one. I am implementing “switch-off sundays” again and I have installed Leech Block as a step toward spending less time on the computer. Eventually, I want to be off the computer every weekend but we’re taking baby steps over here.
What is your relationship to the online world? And what would you like to get rid of?