Last Saturday I went nearly four days without the internet. There was no warning. No time to prepare myself for this respite. Initially I came to despair this annoyance. I couldn’t read the tweets as Port played its round three fixture. I couldn’t keep up with my regular schedule of downloading my favourite television shows, but most of all I would be out of the loop: news would go on without my cynical remarks. Would people even notice that I was gone?
I decided to pass the time by trying to be as productive with my thesis as possible. Despite taking a day trip to Brisbane on Sunday, I resolved to work steadily on Monday. The theory being of course that with no internet there would be less distraction. That held true to some extent. Research was easier, plans were streamlined, words came out of my brain at a steady stream. But I was missing something. It was the power to share my ideas with others.
Despite two very good excursions outside the house in those 92 hours, I felt as if the world was passing me by. I could not read the articles of some of my favourite writers, let alone the nine newspapers I consume on a daily basis. More importantly, I missed the ability to communicate with the online periphery: those who know how to contact me online, but don’t know how to contact me personally. The respite showed me who should move from the periphery to the centre, as well as who should do the opposite.
Life without the internet gave me time to stew in my own solitude: think about what will be important as I move to Brisbane (hopefully) soon, what questions I need to ask myself in order to be happy again.
Happiness I have concluded is the hardest thing in the world to achieve. People think it is easy, but most who think this live in a world of self delusion. Half the time humans think they are happy, but are really wholly unsatisfied. So instead of experiencing the loneliness that the internet has provided me with in recent times, I was confronted with an entirely different form of the same emotion. Rather than trying to seek happiness and coming up short I felt isolated as well as literally and figuratively disconnected.
Those 92 hours served as a microcosym for the past 18 months, as I was stuck in a holding pattern, with no real solution as to how to escape it. It confirmed to me that although I am frustrated almost every hour of every day, at least I’m choosing the right plans of attack, even though they seem almost impossible to implement.
The emotion that swirled around me the most in those four days was jealousy. It is such a useless emotion. I want what others have and more than likely they want what I have. And so on Tuesday I was reconnected in the literal sense, but certainly not metaphorically.