Friday, March 18, 2011

Internet Addiction

Internet consumes me. Check my email. Check Facebook for new updates. Check Woot for the daily deal and new t-shirt. Check my bank account. Go back to my email. Look for new coupons. Open up my Google reader to catch up on posts. Chat with friends online. Play some games. Watch some anime. Look at some YouTube videos. So on and so on and so on. When I first wake up in the morning, do I go to the bathroom to pee? No! I turn on my computer to see if I have any new emails! Then within the next hour my bladder will bother me until I finally give in to my bodily urges.

Have I always been this way? No. What changed? Everything. Well, maybe not everything, but enough has changed to make me a lazy internet-addicted woman. I graduated college, but never got an actual job within my career field. I worked a few years at a part-time library job. I married my wonderful husband. I quit my job so we could move to Germany for his first duty station. Then for the last year I formed this habit of watching anime and TV shows and of surfing the internet. I do a bit of freelance editing here and there, but not enough to keep me busy all year. I've been too stubborn to work somewhere that doesn't require a degree. That's probably my first mistake. Or is not having a driver's license a worse mistake? No, that's not a mistake. That's more of an accumulation of years of having no one to teach me, or not having a car, or simply being too nervous to get behind the wheel. Either way, it caused me to stay at home more often. No job. No hobbies. No ability to drive. That's the beginning of my downward spiral of internet addiction.

Before we moved to Germany, I never really cared about Facebook. Now I spend hours on it. I want to see what everyone is up to back in the States. How are my friends? What is my family up to? What kind of games can I play to take up my time? Internet has become a distraction for me, just like reading books takes me to another world that isn't my own.

Why do I need to be distracted, you ask? I have a great life. I have a husband who loves me; I have friends here and back home; I have family who care. But I have no purpose. Purpose? What does that matter? Don't you ever get tired of doing nothing? There's much more to life than sitting at a desk all day staring at a computer screen, which eventually gives you headaches from hours and hours of staring at it. I thought I'd have a job by now that I loved. But now I just can't help thinking to myself, what do I love anymore? Well, I do still love to read. And I love tigers. I still want to cross off "petting a tiger" from my bucket list. I love my family and friends. Do I love the Internet? Eh, not so much. It's wonderful to have so much information at my fingertips, but do I use that information? No, not much anyway. I like to keep in contact with everyone back at home, but I can easily do that by picking up my phone. Though Skype is a wonderful thing.

What happened to me? Doesn't everyone have a passion, something that keeps them motivated? I thought I did. And perhaps I still do. I loved to write. I wrote poetry, and silly songs, and short stories. I aspired to become a novelist. I compromised though when I reached college. I can't make money off of writing, I thought. So I'll become an editor. I obtained my English degree. I've done some freelance editing, but I'm not sure I enjoy it. Do I still love writing? I don't know. That's what I'm doing here. For whatever reason, a reason that doesn't matter anymore, I stopped writing after college. I wrote a poem here or there, but nothing too exciting. I stopped writing short stories. Life got in my way. Laziness took over. And the ideas escaped my mind. Where did my muse go?

Perhaps the ideas have not gone anywhere, and maybe my muse (whoever or whatever that is) has not abandoned me. I think my mind just got sucked into the monotony of the internet and TV, though they are not to blame. I blame myself. I didn't want to think about my failures, my fears, my uncertainty about my future. So I stopped thinking altogether: the hugest mistake ever. If I only browse the internet and do not reflect on what I've read or learned or do not use the information, then my mind is inactive. How can I be inspired to write if I don't think about anything? How can I write if I give into my fears?

Today, I write this article, blog, or whatever you want to call it mostly for myself, though if someone reads this and feels the same way I do, I hope you take my words to heart and apply them to your own life. I need to start thinking again. I need to face my fears and my failures. I need to stop wasting hours and hours on my computer and start living again, preferably a portion of the time outside exploring the world. I need to stop listening to what others think I should do and start doing what my heart says I should do. And I hope I will hear or understand what God wants me to do.

I'm not saying I won't use the Internet still. That would be silly. I have my blog to look after now. And I need to stay connected with family and friends and the world at large. I'll still browse the internet to enjoy my favorite websites. And I definitely will still watch anime and my favorite TV shows. However, I want to stop using the Internet as an excuse to avoid certain aspects of my life. My goal is to be less lazy and more productive. I want to spend more time on my blog and on my journals. I want to be passionate about writing again. I'd really love to get back into fiction, but if I have to write a few articles about my real life, so be it. I will write about anything and everything...a few words, a few sentences, a few paragraphs...until ideas fill my brain so much that they shove each other for attention, demanding to be written down.

(I just took an internet addiction test; I scored a 33. That means I'm average. Sometimes I spend too much time online, but I can control it. Woot! So I'm not addicted after all... Wait... does that mean I'm just lazy? Well, not anymore!)