End of Old Habits
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End of Old Habits
I bid farewell to the internet for this assignment. There was a call for changes in habits, and I decided to challenge myself and let go of my addiction. The internet is my ultimate modern comfort. It is my perennial companion. It is great for keeping with communication with friends here and across the world and looking up new and interesting discoveries such as underground Brazilian techno bands. With the internet, have made new friends, found novel information, and seen things that are not available where I am. I enjoy the internet and use it everyday. Yet, I have always had this sneaking suspicion that I could probably be doing more things with my time than just staring at the computer screen. As I read articles chronicling the rise of four nineteen-year-olds from garage bands to festival headliners, I get the feeling that I can also do it. The feeling goes away, though, as soon as I click on that hilarious practical video on Youtube.
The assignment was a chance for me to see if there are any validations to those feelings, and in any other cases, I have been told that I was spending too much time on the internet. I decided to stop using the internet for these couple of weeks. Unfortunately, I could not fully go cold turkey on the internet. I cannot not use the internet everyday. One reason that I got into the internet so much was because it proved itself essential in fast and reliable communication, and access to information. I gave myself an hour everyday to use the internet for checking if any important message comes up in my email and do school research. One hour – nothing more, possibly less. It was time to see what else I do with my time.
Not much it turns out, at first. Used to going on the internet for hours, I was left with a huge gap in between activities and I did not know what I could fill it with. The first day was the easiest one. I checked my mail and went to my favorite site to see if anything has been added, and then went off the internet. The next couple of days were harder because I was getting more curious about what new details have been added on all the sites I used to go at and one hour was not enough for me to check it all out. The feelings I had were a mix of being annoyed, tempted and very bored. I knew this was the opportunity for me to do something else, something great and something productive but I thought about hanging on to my habit.
Finally, I forced myself to decisively kick out the internet from my daily routine, excluding the one hour email checks. I could not replace internet with video games and watching DVDs as I realize that this was sort of cheating. It was pretty much being unproductive as being on the internet. To replace the internet, I decided to hang out with my friends longer. We talked more and played more. We played video games too, but I thought that I was at least doing it with other people instead of being alone. They were even pleasantly surprised that I was spending less time on the computer. Some other activities I did to avoid the black hole of the internet include partially successful attempts at exercise, experiments in the kitchen, free time for books and comic book reading, music sessions with friends, unexpected good conversations with parents, a trip to the school library for research that ended really early, and in between activities, a quiet time for myself. The long and short of the activities was more bonding time with people I care about.
The experiment period is over, and I did get back to using the internet for more than an hour per day. However, I did realize my priorities, and I came to understand that there is more I can do than just go online. I still hang out more with my friends and just use the internet before the end of the day. I think the internet is here to stay as it important and very useful for our daily lives, yet there is more to life than it. People should not live to use the internet. Further, I really enjoy my online discoveries. The internet is a window to other people’s lives. I see other people doing great things, making use of their talents, and being brave enough to post them online. I realize then that being logged on to the internet all the time, watching is all I do when the truth was that I can do more. Limiting my time for the internet allowed me to experience more of life and actually do the things I see on the internet. During the assignment weeks, I was not able to form an indie rock band that became an immediate global sensation. However, with the new insights I have gained, I would not put that behind me yet.