I miss my childhood years.
Every time I picture my life without the internet, I miss my own, indeed, very romanticized but still very real childhood:
Reading a full novel a day or reading in bed every night until I almost fell asleep. Daydreaming vividly and engaging in sensational day to day monologues about my life, setting goals. Valuing small incidents stronger than I do now. I remember boredom, lying on the couch with my legs dangling over the armrest doing nothing in particular but then jumping up with an idea for a picture, a movie or a poem.
I had a lot of time back then. I didn’t have it solely because I wasn’t busy with school work - I didn’t have any work either, in the past few months. I had so much time because I was not constantly distracted by the internet.
I remember borrowing the Sims 2 from a friend as soon as I got my very own laptop. I played it all day long, 8 hours in one sitting. It was much more fun than anything; it was much more fun than the real world. After a while, I associated the Sims game with being uncomfortable: Aching body, wanting to stretch but too tired to move, tired eyes that would dream up a 2D world as soon as I went to bed. After a year or so, the craze had ended.
But it really went downhill when a friend introduced me to boybands, tumblr and manga. In my teen years, 13-15 most likely, I spent the majority of each day on my phone, scrolling, reading, watching, “fangirling”. And because this happened on the internet, it also redirected me to hacks, comedy, vines, beauty tips, drama, shocking content, etc. Things that didn’t interested me but things I watched nevertheless.
I’m 19 and it got much better in the past two years. I focused on school, friends and my creativity. I got awesome grades, made memories and created stories and musical pieces.
I still feel very prone and vulnerable to the addictive qualities of social media, maybe about as much as anyone is. I feel uncomfortable thinking about a day without my phone, I catch myself seeking attention on reddit, craving news and controversy on websites or in the comment section; and sometimes I’m even scrolling down Instagram videos for beauty or cooking tips I’ll never use.
It’s my free time that is affected. I get my things done, but as soon as there is too much free time, I’ll use it up online, without me intending to do so. Officially speaking, I don’t have it under control.
If I’m forced to think about this, in the context of this journal, I am certain I’ll get to reflect on it more. It’s only when my brain “shuts down to automatic” that I’m online. I need to live more deliberately. To control what and how much I consume. To keep it at a minimum. And to spend more time creating and living.
I know that you can’t get your childhood feelings back. Your brain is different now, few things are new to you, nothing is as exciting.
But to reduce stimulus means to be more open to and to seek out low-stimulus activities: Nature, reading, thinking, daydreaming, …
I want to live simpler as I do now. I don’t want to miss out on the day to day magic of life.