Before I start I just want to say there’s a chance someone might find this post offensive. So if you love your daily dose of Reddit, walk away now, this is your last chance!
A while ago I decided something needed to change in my life. I felt like I was just wasting to much time on pointless things that gave me quick fixes of…something. I can’t put my finger on what exactly, but I guess everyone who ever spent a few hours just browsing trough Reddit or 9gag watching funny stuff knows what I’m talking about.
I love Internet (or at least the not-to-wtf-parts of it). I think it’s awesome how we can connect, share and discover information. I stumble upon new things almost every day that makes me go “wow!”. But lately I have felt like something is not as fun as it used to be. It all started this spring. I’m not sure when it happened, but I’m kinda sure it had something to do with the fact that Internet memes that used to be kinda obscure found their way into mainstream media, and suddenly all you ever saw when you browsed Facebook was a news feed flooded with re-post after re-post after re-post of fun/serius/crazy photos and some kind of semi philosophic quote (preferably by some celerity like Dalai Lama or John Lenon). I know that the pages views of 9gag exploded this spring as well. Might have something to do with it.
Things Needed To Change
Anyway, I felt like there must be a better way to spend my free time than reading news on the Internet, browsing Facebook, browsing 9gag, reading some more news, reading trash blogs, back to Facebook and then some more 9gaging (this is alos known as “rundan” in Swedish, let me know if you got a proper translation of the word).
This can’t be it, I thought. There must be more to life (or Internet) than this. I think it really hit me one night when I sat in front of the computer and stared at an empty tab in Firefox. There I was, having the whole world at my fingertips, but I felt bored. That’s just insane!
Just One More Cute Kitten!
Maybe you experienced that late night feeling of “I don’t want to sleep, not quite yet…just one more cute kitten…” And what do you do? You watch more cute kittens and more photos of people doing stupid things. And in the end, what does you gain from it? Nothing.
And that’s want I was trying to explain in the beginning of this super long post. In the end I realized I don’t learn anything, I don’t create anything, it just keeps me from seeing my friends and doing, you know, productive stuff. I didn’t want to consume things that to me seemed more and more pointless, I wanted to create my own things.
How Did I Change My Behavior?
So the first thing I did was to ban all kinds of “trash blogs” from my browser. Let me explain. Trash blogs are blogs about things I actually DON’T CARE about at all. Things like teenage girls doing their boobs, shopping extremely expensive handbags or writing about how to loose weight by eating baby food.
I know that blogs like this have a huge amount of readers, and that some people find these blogs very interesting. Young girls even look up to these “role models” and start their own blogs based on what they read online. But it was time to throw my guilty pleasure out the door. The only reason I used to visit these kinds of blogs is simple, I was bored. But what if I drew a picture or read a book when I was bored? Or just did nothing at all, as an experiment? So I tried.
I gotta be honest with you. It was hard. Really hard in the beginning. Somehow all these trash blogs and meme tumblrs were rooted in my muscles memory. My fingers magically started to type the URLs before I even realized what was going on, as soon as I was bored. It’s like an addiction. But I took it day by day, and now I finally start feeling like I achieved something. I don’t spend pointless hours watching funny photos anymore, ending up going to bed all to late. I try not to browse Facebook the first thing in the morning. I turned off all push notifications on my smart phone. And believe it or not, but I realized I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I don’t feel like it’s a big sacrifice.
I think I have a set amount of energy each day when I wake up (sometimes less if it’s a Monday). How I choose to spend it is up to me. If I spend that mental energy on watching compilations of “Epic Sax Guy” or doing a tutorial on drawing birds is a concision decision.
But it is very hard to kick old habits. I’m fully aware of the fact that browsing Reddit after work, or spending hours on Facebook do fulfill a need. It gives us time to connect with people in our life, to realize other people do all those kinds of things you do (“like” if you remember these cartoons from your childhood), it gives you time to rest your brain more than anything else.
To watch a soap opera is much like eating fast food, sometimes your body (or brain) crave it. But it’s not good when that turns in to a habit or you get addicted or even makes you just a mindless puppet. The brain gets lazy. You wish you could get more things done, but for some reason you just seem to have the time or energy. That could be because you spent all your energy reading about some fashion blogger’s life all day or watching puppies on YouTube to 01:00 am. I don’t want to be a slave, I want to be the master of my own time.
I Made It! (I Think)
So how did I make it? How did I stay away from all those fun, exciting, mindless pages on the Interwebz? I a) made up my mind, b) made sure I had alternatives. Whenever I feel like I want to read about some scandal blogs or watch cute sloths, I talk to friends on Facebook instead, draw something or read a book irl. I created this web site to practice my English. I know some of you might think all those alternatives are as “bad” as my old habits, but to me it feels better, and that’s what matters in the end.
I’m judging anyone who loves Reddit (I admit the community is awesome), and I admit it’s fun to watch cats do funny faces. Do whatever feels right for you, be the master of your own time. And as long as I use the Internet I will never completely escape Facebook, Twitter and memes, I know that. It’s OK. But remember, don’t just kill time, because time is killing you.