My Digital Diet

1 Feb

Something lifestyle-changing happened to me last week: my laptop was attacked by a virus and I had no access to the internet all week. I am not someone who uses a lot of technology in my daily life: I do not have a Smart Phone, I am not a member of any social networking sites and I don’t even use an mp3 player. I thought that technology didn’t play a large role in my life until I spent a week without the internet.

In the ‘internetless’ week I had no headaches and my eyes were never sore. I felt less agitated and fell asleep easier. I got out of the house more and read more in a week than I have done in months. I sorted out things in the house that had been in a mess for weeks. I read magazines that had been lying around since September and I even wrote a letter to a friend. I went for more walks, I cooked more and I was more active overall.

“What do I do in all those hours that I spend on the internet?” I asked myself when I saw how much I was getting done without it. I was shocked to find that I had no answer. Another question followed: Why do I spend so much time in the virtual world?” To this question I did have an answer: “Because it is easier than the real world”.

It is easier to surf the internet than to clean the house. It is easier to check e-mails from acquaintances than to talk to a loved one about one’s troubles. It is easier to watch YouTube videos than to try out that dance class. It is easier to read friends’ blogs than to get started on that novel. It is easier to find out about other people’s adventures than to go out and experience our own.

The internet has always given me an escape and an excuse. I can avoid the challenges and problems of my real life by distracting myself on the internet. What’s more, it is now socially acceptable to spend the majority of our time in front of the computer. It is even seen as odd or old-fashioned if someone isn’t married to the latest website or social network.

My week without the internet made me realise that I had become so good at living in a virtual world that I no longer knew how to live in the real one. I thought that technology was saving me time, when, in fact, it is making me waste away precious hours (or days, weeks, months?!) of my life.

After experiencing a week without the internet, I understood that there are so many activities that could bring a positive change to my life. I understood that I could dance more and write more; I could cook more and meditate more. I could explore the city more and read more books. I could laugh more and hug more. And I realised that the only way of finding time to do all of these wonderful things is to cut down the time that I spend on the internet.

A life without the internet isn’t possible in our society, nor is it something I wish for, but I hope that my week without it will always remind me to put real life first.

Do YOU need to go on a Digital Diet? Take The Telegraph’s Digital Diet quiz.

You may also find useful the Digital Diet quiz based on Daniel Sieberg’s book of the same name.

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8 Responses to “My Digital Diet”

  1. Karina 02/02/2012 at 04:48 #

    Uncanny isn’t it. The internet was made to connect people worldwide and it has become the biggest disconnect in the history of time.
    I walk down the street, jump on a train, sit in the car with my finance and we are cut off from verbal communication by our phones, facebook and cyber world.
    Interesting topic. So much more too it as well.
    Im glad you got to experience a week of real connection 🙂

    • l0ve0utl0ud 03/02/2012 at 13:27 #

      I agree with you completely – there are often moments with friends or family when each of us is in our own digital world, missing out on the precious moments that we spend together. It’s a habit our generation has and it will take a lot of effort and consciousness on our part to break it!

  2. strawberryindigo 02/02/2012 at 05:57 #

    I might like to do the same thing and take an internet vacation but I don’t know if I could do it. I think circumstances would have to force me. Great post. ps…Welcome back to the virtual world! 🙂

    • l0ve0utl0ud 03/02/2012 at 13:28 #

      Thank you 🙂 I wanted to take a break from the internet for a while, but never ‘dared’ to do so. It is definitely the circumstance that forced me!

  3. Leslie 08/02/2012 at 00:50 #

    Oh, I completely understand this! I just deactivated my Facebook account, and after only a short time, I can tell a difference in my day without THAT. I can’t imagine what my days would be like without internet at all… what a great experience for you! This has helped motivate me a little bit in my Facebook-free venture; thanks for sharing, and good for you!

    • l0ve0utl0ud 08/02/2012 at 22:41 #

      I’ve been Facebookless for over a year now and I can tell you that this has had only positive effects on my life. Good luck in this first period without it – this part is the hardest 😉

  4. loustar02 08/02/2012 at 13:32 #

    Fantastic – good for you. Perhaps there was a purpose behind you being forced to have a break. It certainly helps to see that life is there for living and how much you can lose by just being internet focussed. So much of experiencing real life can get lost. I am so pleased that you made the most of that time and really experienced something wonderful from it.

    Great blog by the way!

    • l0ve0utl0ud 08/02/2012 at 22:45 #

      Thank you for your wonderful comment. It was truly an enriching experience. Thank you for stopping by!

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