A few days ago, I went to marching band camp to take some pictures for my job. The band went on break as soon as I got there, so I took pictures of them relaxing. One of the guys laid on his back next to a line of tubas and held his phone in the air above him.
“The 21st century college student,” said Dr. Weaver.
“Hey, I don’t have internet or cable at my apartment, so it’s like Amish time,” the boy said.
He made “Amish time” sound terrible. There are many atrocities in the world: starvation, genocide, murder—and then there is Amish time. Nothing is more horrifying than having a phone that does not connect to internet, which means that no one was happy the previous thousands of years humanity existed.
I wanted to tell him that I also lack internet at my apartment, but that I like it that way. In fact, I’ve decided to keep it that way for the time being. Instead of wasting time surfing the internet or binging on Netflix (I meant to write "researching screenplays), I read, clean, or go for walks. Walking to campus only takes me about then minutes, so anytime I need to use the internet (like now), I just go there.
I've noticed that I feel happier that way. Instead of looking at what everyone else is doing or posting, I'm spending time with myself, which makes it easier for me to accept who and what I am.
With the exception of one or two years, I didn't have cable growing up, so I spent hours upon hours reading and daydreaming. So much of what I am and have accomplished has been based on that. However, when we did have cable or internet, I would sit in front of the screen like an addict.
Lately I had been binge watching shows on Netflix, spending at least an hour or more watching shows almost every day. If I spent that time writing or practicing music I could accomplish so much and would be closer to who I want to be. Now that I don't have internet, much of the craving I feel for watching television has faded.
That's not to say I haven't watched any television for the last two weeks; I certainly have. The difference is that instead of watching it alone as an isolating activity, I have been watching it with Naomi, which actually brings us closer together.
Now I'm wondering why I ever felt I needed internet so badly in the first place. I kind of like my little Amish paradise, and because of my place in life (and proximity to free internet) I am able to make it work.
However, I do live in the 21st century. I realize that people need access to internet in order to do their jobs or correspond with people, but wouldn't it be nice if those were the only reasons we felt that we needed it? If we didn't sit in front of a screen for hours?
Here's a challenge: take stock of how many hours you are on the internet for leisure. Don't become guilty though. We do need time to relax, and for many people that means getting on the internet for some reason or another. Instead, make it a goal to dedicate a few minutes of that time to something else that will bring you closer to your goals.
But first, watch this video.