Sunday, September 25, 2011

Life vs. the Internet

I spent the past week without the internet. Not because I had to, but because I wanted to.

See, sometimes I start spending more and more time on the internet, doing things that just waste my time. I have active accounts on Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, Protagonize, Pinterest and Polyvore. Just checking them is a time eater, and once you are on they suck you in and you end up spending hours.

Sometimes it begins to feel like your online identity is who you really are, that the internet is real life, and everything else you do is just what you're doing when you're not on the internet.

I decided last week that I don't want my life to revolve around computers, I want the internet to be something I use occasionally when I'm not out living my life. 

Here's some stuff I learned this week:

My life doesn't require the internet. I did hop on maybe twice for school assignments, but I didn't look at any of my favorite websites. I didn't even really miss it. It was almost a relief to have more time for other things without feeling like I could be on Facebook and was missing out.

Life is fantastic all on its own. There is plenty to do without getting on the computer. I read about three books this week. I haven't been doing much reading lately and it was nice to get back into it. I forgot how much I adore books. 

My family won't leave me in the dark about important things. I didn't miss out as much as I thought I would. One of my biggest reasons (excuses) to get on Facebook and Twitter every day was to see what all my friends and family are up to. I got back on today and I honestly hadn't missed very much. There was only one or two things I really needed to know right away and my family told me about them when they happened.

There is nothing prettier than a ripe cornfield, russet-gold against a blue sky. I have a new habit of taking the back roads whenever I can, because I can. It may take a few minutes longer, but I had extra time this week that I wasn't spending in front of the computer.

I found myself noticing things for their own sake, not as a potential status update, tweet or blog post. I used to think, "that was funny, I should remember that for when I get on Twitter later." It's more fun to be able to laugh enthusiastically and relax, with no pressure to remember what was so funny so you can share it with your world.

Anyway, I just thought I would share my revelations with you. I will be on the internet now, but I am still going to try not to make a habit of it. I want to make a habit of living a real life.


Monday, September 12, 2011

There's always today

I love the idea of today.

Most people love the idea of tomorrow, the promise of the future with all of its sparkle and shiny things, and they say that "there's always tomorrow," "the sun'll come out tomorrow," you can believe in tomorrow. I prefer to believe in today.

Because, when you think about it, tomorrow doesn't happen without today. What we do today changes tomorrow, and today would have been completely different if people had made different choices yesterday.

That idea sounds daunting at first, and extremely intimidating. It makes you stop and think about what you're doing, because anything can make a difference.

Today, as I was walking out of class, one of the other students made eye contact, smiled at me, and continued with her life. It may not have seemed like a big deal, but sometimes it takes one smile to make you realize how few smiles are exchanged at eight o'clock on a Monday morning. It made my morning better and I made a conscious effort to smile at other students on my way out.  If my smile inspired each of them to smile at others, then that one girl who decided to smile at someone on a Monday morning potentially made it a better Monday morning for dozens of people. Little gestures like that tend to have a ripple effect.

See what I mean about the actions of one person making a difference?

Now, there are two conflicting ideas about how today affects tomorrow. The first idea is what I've been saying, that everything we do today makes the future better or worse. The other idea is "don't sweat the small stuff." You have to take the long view and stop worrying about the little things because in twenty years it won't make a difference in your life. This theory comes in handy when you are having a bad hair day, or when you do something particularly stupid. It's nice to think that with time, everyone will forget about you tripping down the stairs or having something stuck in your teeth.

The beauty of it, and the reason that I really love the idea of today, is that both of these theories work. Smiling at someone will definitely brighten up their day, and may lead to them brightening up other people's days, which may lead to the whole world being just a little brighter, but chances are that the original smile will eventually be forgotten, along with the things you want people to forget. The person who received the smile may not even remember why their morning suddenly got better.

This should not be a discouraging thought. It just means that we get to live in a world where you can do stupid things and no one will hold them against you, and if you choose to make the most of your todays, you get to live in the tomorrow you helped create. Even if no one remembers your smile brightening their day, you will know that when someone smiles at you the next day, it could be part of the ripple effect you put in motion.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I've come to a point where I'm just mature enough to realize that I am still immature in many, many ways. For example, I have always tended to think that whatever I'm interested in at that very moment must be the coolest thing to be interested in. I've been really into Doctor Who (British science fiction show) lately, and now when I meet someone who has never heard of it I am inevitably surprised by the fact. There is no reason for everyone in the world to suddenly know about this TV show just because I really like it. In fact, a few months ago, I had never heard of it.

I guess the fact that I'm realizing that I do this is a good sign. I've been consciously trying not to think of myself as the center of everything now.

Another random thought... why do we think of time as being linear when almost everything else in nature is kinda circular? The water cycle is a circle: water evaporates and turns into clouds then turns into rain and fills the lakes and oceans and then evaporates and starts over. The seasons are circular as well. It is always the same pattern every year, with spring, summer, autumn and winter repeating themselves. If that is a pattern found throughout nature, could time have some circular elements as well?

Just speculating. Even though time travel is inherently paradoxical, it is fun to think about the possibilities.