[I’ll get the update crap out of the way quick. At the outset of November, I was hoping to achieve a revision of a work-in-progress, but I quickly realized that it would necessitate a change from third-person perspective to first. While a big project, I wasn’t daunted or disappointed–it’s just big. I made a lot of progress. But life, as it always does, got in the way. Retail is very demanding this time of year. No mercy. And I’m not very good at goal-setting without external deadlines. This is possibly part of the reason why I am nowhere in life. However, the work-in-progress situation is not hopeless so I should resume soon.]
Alright, now my actual topic–Internet addiction.
On Black Friday I had to be at work at 5am, which meant getting up at 3:30am. Now, I don’t fall asleep until 1:30am on any given night anyway (this post explains why). I went to bed relatively early and yet, after I turned off the light, I was compelled to scroll on my phone for at least a half an hour. Even on one freaking night of the year, I can’t just put it down and go to sleep. I functioned amazingly the whole day, but it all caught up to me on Saturday and I could barely stay awake.
I’ve been addicted to going online for a little over twenty years (by the way, it is terrifying to hit an age at which you can clearly remember twenty years ago), but it has accelerated greatly since I got a smartphone, which was maybe two years ago. People used to laugh at me and my cheap go-phone, the kind you have to press each button fourteen times when you text, as though I were some stubborn Luddite. No, I have two computers and a tablet. The problem is that I knew very well that if I got a phone I’d be Googling every stupid damn thing that popped into my head all day on that too. At first I didn’t buy a data plan so that I couldn’t use it outside of Wi-Fi areas, but that eventually went out the window. So now I can go online any time, any place my phone has service and I need to know why my pinky toenail is small.
My YouTube bingeing habit began a few years ago when my pet died and I started watching YouTube videos all day long to distract myself. I didn’t realize what I was doing at the time, until I thought about it later on. By then it had turned into a chronic habit.
I am also addicted to talking to people online. As soon as I started going online (we got our first computer when my sister started college), like everyone else, I used chatrooms and instant messenger to talk to strangers. It’s a miracle I’m even alive today (well, I guess that depends on your perspective…). A lot of it was excitement and novelty, but I was also going through a lot of crap and alienating real-life friends, so all I had were online ones.
Nowadays, it’s a voluntary preference. I’m embarrassed to bother people and I panic when people call/text me in real life, so blogging is easier. I can just put it all out there and let other people decide if they want to say anything and to do it on our own timelines. And it doesn’t hurt as much when they gradually stop talking to you because you can rationalize, well, we’ve never really met after all, so it can’t be that there’s something wrong with me mumble mumble mumble. There’s divided opinion on online friends, some say they’re not real, others say they are; I happen to believe you can make real friends online.
My worst, most shameful habit–Reddit. I hid the app so there’re extra steps to access it on my phone but I still go to it. I don’t think there’s a dumber place on the Internet than Reddit. Well, there are probably technically worse places, but it definitely ranks up there. The hive mind there is incredible. And you can’t even properly troll people (troll=disagree with the hive) so what the hell’s the point? I try not to do it on WordPress, though sometimes I just can’t resist a hit-and-run. I try to stick to YouTube but getting banned is highly inconvenient, so I’ve toned it down a lot.
I wish I could remember what life was like before I could go online any time. Going home from school meant being cut off from most of the world except a friend or two. When I was in middle school and high school, I was limited in how often I could go online because it occupied the landline, so I had to be real sneaky about it. But I wasn’t so dependent on the Internet as I am now. My default entertainment was books, music, and drawing. Television I was sneaky about as well because I don’t like when people know what I watch.
I think I was more creative when I had to resort to solitary pursuits. I can detect a clear correlation between excessive YouTube and Reddit usage and abysmal creative output. I feel real disgust with myself when I’m binge-watching something as though I were doing something immoral. I suppose wasting your life this way is, in fact, immoral. It’s just that I get this “fear of missing out” that if I don’t scroll, scroll, scroll, I’ll miss some important news. And then I lie to myself and say, see, I must be online so I know what’s going on in the world. But really, I’m no better informed spending a hundred hours a week online than none. Am I smarter? Healthier? Fitter? A better writer? Less crazy? More independent? No, no, no, no, no, and no.
I was better off in terms of style/creativity when I was left alone in my own crazy head. Sometimes I want to just ditch the epilepsy meds and untether myself from mundane reality and float away back to my inner world where strange colors burst with meaning. The rush of emotion when nostalgia explodes in your stomach is like no other. I’d quit the meds cold turkey, seizures be damned, if I knew I could feel that again. I can only imagine what it’s like for people with stronger cases of temporal lobe epilepsy than my pitiful case. There was no one to share those feelings with so I had to write them or draw them as they bounced off each other in my psyche, gaining momentum, and even writing or drawing was no real release because I was only communicating with myself, over, and over, and over, but it was a satisfying lack of satisfaction.
At the very least, I could improve the situation tenfold simply by reducing my Internet usage and allow my thoughts to talk to each in original conversation, rather than fill my head with garbage from a subreddit.
[I’d be remiss not to mention WordPress. It’s important to me to keep up with other bloggers and right now I’m falling behind because of work and wasting my time as described in this post. I’m so lucky for all the people I’ve met and I can only count the “blogosphere” as a blessing and not a waste of time at all. I would never have written as much as I have in the past couple years if it weren’t for WordPress. So it’s not you guys I’m talking about. Communicating with you is not a waste of my time; rather, I value it very much.]