Getting Back in the Swing of Things: Internet Addiction

(Note: Did you know Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is streaming now on Netflix? What a wonderful world we live in!)

So I’m back from vacation. Returned from the land of me-not-having-internet, and boy oh boy does it feel good to be–OH MY GOSH! THERE IS SO MUCH WORK I HAVE TO DO!

Seriously, people. Can’t you all just put everything on pause when I leave? Life would be ever so much easier. Hundreds of emails, thousands of blog entries–just so much to do.

Which has led me to a realization: I might be addicted to the internet, and not in a good way. I was talking to my friend Dan while I was on the trip, and we were both without internet. He was talking about how liberating it was. How much he enjoyed not having to worry what was going on everywhere else. I was talking about how much I missed it. I like knowing what’s going on. Hearing from my friends from around the globe.

Telling all you people what I’m doing.

It seems crazy to me (and maybe it is), but after years of blogging, I’m to the point now that I sometimes don’t feel right–don’t know exactly what I think about something–until I’ve blogged about it. A ton of things happened to me on my vacation. I got massively ill on the way home (so what else is new?), got a migraine and discovered ibuprofen really can cure them for me (HOORAY!), revisited where I lived on my mission–did all sorts of interesting things. And I had many interesting thoughts, and I’m going to try and write up some of them over the coming week or two, but who knows how good they’ll be by then? (I always blog better when the thought is fresh).

So this leads to the question: is my life better or worse due to the amount of it that’s led online?

In some ways, I don’t think this question is entirely fair. Yes, I’m online a lot, but then again, my career is related to technology, and being an author requires (in my opinion) one to be online a tad, too. And even then, it’s not like I’m on all. the. time. I’m not locked up in a basement 24/7. I get out. (Really! I just went to Europe.)

But still, I think it’s a valid question, and one that needs to be asked. Between the news sites I check, my Facebook and Twitter feeds, and my blogs that I follow, I invest a good portion of time into the interwebs. Could this time be better spent elsewhere? (This is a question I try to ask myself about a lot of the things I do. Because time is limited, and I want to use what I have in a way that I’m happy with.)

I believe you should do things because you want to do them, if at all possible. Some things you have to do so that you can do other things you want to do. Work is like this for some people. Some days it’s like that for everyone. But for the most part, I think a great goal is getting to the point where you can say “I only do what I want to do.” This isn’t to say that you then live a self-centered life. It doesn’t have to be just about you. Ideally, you choose to spend some of your time helping others, caring for your family and friends, making the world a better place. But if you’re doing things like that because you want to, there’s a big difference.

Why bother making a ton of money, if it doesn’t get you closer to this goal? What’s the point in having lots of doo-dads if you have no time to use them? Getting rich, getting a better job title–all that is a means to an end. If it becomes the end, then . . . that doesn’t seem (to me) to be a very pleasant end.

This is getting off track. Sorry. Too many thoughts stored in too small a brain for too long.

What I want to say is that I think I need to trim down a bit on how much I’m online. Maybe declare some “Internet free” times during the day. I’ve already done that somewhat by banning devices at the dinner table, but I’m thinking of extending it to other activities. I find myself checking my email or Facebook during movies. Movies! If the movie’s that bad, that why in the world am I wasting time watching it? I check email first thing when I get up. Maybe it would be better to just leave myself some surprises for when I get to work. I feel obligated to read about what happened to everybody in my Twitter feed–maybe I need to just see the highlights.

I don’t know. I *do* know that it’s goal setting time for me for the year, and this is one category I’m considering implementing. Any of you have any thoughts?

2 thoughts on “Getting Back in the Swing of Things: Internet Addiction”

  1. JBC and I have decided to declare 9-10 pm a phone-iPod-iPad free time. A week and half in, we’ve enjoyed talking to each other a bit more than in the past. Its been a good thing.

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