I’ve been thinking about it, and I have come to the conclusion that I am on my computer at least 5 hours every day (on average). I don’t even have a job that requires me to be on my computer for that many hours a day. I write this blog, yes, but that’s only about once a week. The other countless hours I spend on here consist of mindless messaging, scrolling, and binge-watching. It’s not fun anymore.

I was born right before the Internet took the world by storm. I remember when I first got an AIM account in middle school. I had approximately 3 people on my chat list. However, I could only chat with them when my parents didn’t need to use the phone (because wifi wasn’t a thing yet, and we only had an ethernet cable). My attention span only lasted about 30 minutes back then, so I never hung around waiting for someone to chat longer than that. The rest of my 23 1/2 hours of my day were spent in school, reading, or playing outside. I used to pretend that my bicycle was a horse named Black Beauty like the movie. The neighbor kids and I played capture the flag and kickball in the cul-de-sac.

I look back on my time as “just a kid” with great fondness, not only for my freedom in being unplugged, but for my constant creativity to ensure that I was never bored.

I get SO BORED now. Sitting at my desk and opening my computer is almost a reflex now. I wake up and that is the first thing I do, not because I have emails to answer or important work to do, but just because. Half the time when I open my computer I realize as soon as I open the Internet, I have no plan of action. I start scrolling through Facebook till my eyes feel dry. I check Twitter and Tumblr and WordPress and Youtube, entirely lacking a reason.

None of it satisfies me anymore.

Especially now, at the start of 2017, when political discourse has seemingly fallen to pieces, I regret how attached I have become to this device of mine. I feel nothing but frustration all the time. I feel more anxious than I have ever felt. I don’t go outside, even though this mild winter here in Nebraska is nothing compared to the tundra of Minnesota.

Rather than a tool I once used to do homework or to connect with people, my computer has become my captor. And I can’t be the only one.

Going along with my last post, here is another resolution I am making in 2017, starting now: to unplug.

This blog will continue, because it brings me more happiness than I could have ever imagined. However, my time of endless scrolling ends now, and I look to you all to hold me accountable.

It will start small — One hour. That is all I will give myself. One hour to scroll whatever I want to scroll. When I don’t have work to do or a blog to write, one hour is more than enough.

This will give me opportunities I alone am responsible for taking away. It is the opportunity to go outside and experience the world from somewhere other than my bedroom. It is the opportunity to actively participate in discussions with living, breathing people standing before me in the flesh. We’ll figure this crazy world out maybe one day, but we have a much better shot at doing that if we can only figure it out together. I need 2017 to restore some hope.

One thought on “Unplugging

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