I gave myself a gift last night, and it didn’t break the budget. In fact, it didn’t cost me a thing. Cool, huh?
I turned off my computer. I watched a little retro TV, then turned that off, had a nice warm shower, and crawled into bed to read and doze and shut off the lights before midnight, and I slept well. Ahhhh.
It’s been a while since I’ve given myself a computer-free night, and while the temptation to get online and check my email and Facebook and the blog stats was there last night, I resisted, and I’m glad I did. I needed that little respite from being plugged in so much of my day, from sitting hunched over the keyboard and mousing and typing and constantly surfing. Sometimes, I really have to wonder just what it is I’m looking for during all those hours online. Sometimes, I wonder if my life has become such a void that I can only live it in an artificial construct. And sometimes I think too much, but I still say that’s better than thinking too little.
I’m constantly reminding myself that the computer and the internet are tools, but they’re not real life. They allow me to keep in contact with near and far-away friends whose presence in my life enhance it, they offer me near-instant information and entertainment/timesucks, but they are not real life.
I know, I know—I may be shooting myself in the foot here when I say it’s a good thing to shut your damn computer off once in a while and try to forget it, and the phone, and the TV, and whatever other gadgets pull you in. I wouldn’t have my blog or the readers I have—and just an aside here, but I’m still astonished that anyone looks at this thing, but I’m grateful that you do, whoever you are!—without the internet. I get that. But it’s not real life.
For all the happiness I’ve derived from the internet—I’ve met so many friends online, and I met Mr. F online—it’s brought me misery in near-equal measure, too. Having your relationship end via a Facebook message stinks. Ask me how I know. Hours and hours have been wasted online that could have been used more wisely, and even as I’m sitting here now typing away, there’s a beautifully sunny day beckoning me. I think I need to heed that call.
So, I’m giving myself another extravagantly free gift today, and I’m shutting off my computer and getting out to enjoy this day. It’ll do me good.