Be inspired. Trust your instincts. Relish in the unknown.
These are the significant lessons I have learned after giving up the Internet for an entire month.
This was not as much of a sacrifice for me since I have not yet obtained a smart phone, so my usage was solely restricted to my laptop. I was allowed to use the Internet at work, of course, but once I left work, a whole other life began. I could not look up answers to questions that instantly popped into my mind. I could not pass the time aimlessly on Pinterest, the only social media site I indulge in aside from the occasional glance at LinkedIn. Then I began to adjust and compensate by using physical bus schedules instead of Google maps to plan my trips or by filling my time with activities like leisurely reading.
I was most excited about the fact that I now had more time to read, something I have always loved but that had become more of a wish than a reality in the past few years. I longed to soak up the stories and information through the pages as if I were in grade school again, like when I literally used to walk off the bus with my nose in a book or when I was scolded for reading during math class. I was now making even more of an effort to get out and take the bus in order to experience the world with all my senses instead of only with my eyes from behind a screen.
Not only did my habits change during this month, but my thoughts did as well. I was no longer weighed down by the shackles of inundating stimuli that had convinced me to believe that the answers to everything I could ever wish to know were just a click away. Instead, I began to rediscover that sense of spontaneity, curiosity, and wonder that is found through realizing the power within our fingertips and within our interactions with the world and its inhabitants. The sense of imagination that I so valued as a child had returned quite easily, and now, paired with the wisdom I had gained through the years, it seems as though I have the tools to actually make my dreams a reality. Throughout this process, I am also continuing to value the process of making and then learning from my mistakes, which is such a treasured privilege that many seem to dislike and take for granted in this day in age.
I have come to the conclusion that there is a reason we are not meant to know everything. We are finite, limited beings and despite this vast and seemingly beneficial information database of knowledge known as the Internet, we as a human race are continually striving to know all even though this is a feat that cannot realistically be accomplished by one being alone.
So the next time you decide to use the Internet to guide you toward an answer, take a moment to pause. Ask yourself: “Is this something that I can figure out on my own?” “Do I really need to know the answer to this or can I allow myself to find inspiration in the ambiguity?” “Is it absolutely imperative that I find the exact answer right this moment?” You might gain wisdom despite the lack of immediate knowledge or figure it out with your own gifts and talents. Plus, you will always have that safety net as a backup to re-direct you if you stray too far off course.
Jeanette “Eunice/Batman/Cool RA of the VVC House” Lesenko uses her encyclopedic knowledge of movie quotes and songs to provide a consistently entertaining substitute for the Internet. In her free time she imparts nuggets of philosophical wisdom (often shared while actually eating chicken nuggets), leads her community in dramatic reprisals of Les Miserables‘ song “One Day More,” and indoctrinates her friends into sharing her love for the TV show Community. Next month she hopes to whip her co-workers into shape as the no-bulls*** coach of St. Vincent de Paul’s softball team.