I get reminded of this every time I come back from a trip. It’s like learning to walk again — it’s that disoriented feeling you get when you return to using a computer after not doing so for a while. The more frequently you use a computer, the greater the effect for you. You feel it ESPECIALLY moreso when you’re active on the Internet as well.
This was the case after spending a weekend in Montreal for my bachelor party. That was 3 days. What’ll be the effect of 3 weeks?
And more importantly — does it even matter? What will I really be missing out on by taking a break from the Internet?
When I came back the following Monday, I found that I wasn’t really interested in interacting on the social media platforms. Not that there wasn’t interesting content, but I’d changed gears — no longer was I at the frenetic pace of the Internet, charged with the need to have new information and content YESTERDAY. I’d slowed down, awaking later, eating whenever and exploring my environment at my leisure. Truth be told, I didn’t really get back into my vibe until just a few days ago.
So what did I do after skimming my Twitter feeds and lists and finding I had little to say? I sat down, made some food, and made some progress on my to-do lists. Free of the itchy smartphone finger
, I needed an outlet for my energies.
And it was weird.
The things that I’d previously built up as chores were fairly painless and opened the door to other opportunities. I was getting things done with greater ease than before!
What the heck was going on?
I think — for lack of a better term — I was unplugged.
It’s a very strange concept for those of us who’re constantly plugged in to imagine a state where:
- We don’t have access to instantaneous information, constantly consuming it in real time
- We aren’t replying to texts, e-mails and instant messages reflexively and right away
- We spend more time AWAY from the Internet than we do USING it…
…or letting it use us. You see — and I know I’m not the only one — there’ve been plenty of nights where I’m online ’til 2 or 3 in the morning, really for no good reason. Plenty of times where I’m online, yet still feeling bored despite the voluminous sources of entertainment on the World Wide Web.
I think that — especially in our great modern metropolises — we need to unplug in order to maintain (or restore) our personal balance.
There is joy to be found in not having to answer to what we PERCEIVE as crises right away.
There is joy to be found in lounging away on a couch for an evening with a good book, with not a sound nor a care to distract you.
It’s something I think we all need to do at times, and while your ranking might drop on the social media scoreboards, while you might not know the latest topics to talk about at your next dinner party…
…for once, it might be better to enjoy whatever’s in your scene and not the pixels on your screen.
–Casey E. Palmer