I’m one of those annoying people who still list down New Year’s goal. It’s a tradition of sorts that started when my father used to promise every new year that he’d stop drinking, ironically amidst the holiday’s (drunken) revelry. As for my part I would promised to understand him better, become a better student, better daughter blah, blah, blah. It’s been a while since my father and I had one of those “heart-to-heart” year-end talks. When I’ve matured into the daughter with own salary, own apartment, own life, and own money to buy my own alcohol, I realized that a promise to break up with bad habits is always easier than done. Unfortunately for my father, it took an episode of aneurysm before he finally made good with his promises. I, on the other hand, kept the tradition of listing down New Year’s goals.
While for many 2019 is the end of a decade, for me it marked a decade of living abroad. I arrived in the Netherlands on a snowy day in 2009, when the Lowlands was covered in pristine, white powder. In my eyes there couldn’t be anything more beautiful. Through the years, this country had revealed its ugly sides but despite that, I am becoming more at ease calling it home. After all, the Netherlands, its passport and its opportunities allows me to enjoy a convenient life, with all the trappings of a modern life, including a smart phone and fast Internet. And this is where my problem had taken root.
You see, I have a slight addiction to my phone and the Internet. Despite trimming down my social media to only two accounts, I’m still spending an embarrassing amount of time online. Now that I’m writing this, sort of confessing to a crime, I’m a little ashamed to admit that I’m online at least 3-4 hours every day, and that’s the average. (Go ahead, judge me). That’s including Whatsapp (which I used mostly for work), Facebook messenger (for keeping in touch with the rest of my family), Instagram, Youtube (watching trailers and teasers of Filipino telenovelas, I know!), browsing through photos in my phone, searching for recipes, checking my bank accounts (like 10x a day), reading news from the BBC app, online window shopping, checking my emails (a million times a day), etc. etc. In short, all the things that many people in the first world (read: fast internet) spends their time on. It might be this decade’s new “normal”, but I don’t like its effect on me. I pride myself at not being vulnerable to addiction of any sort but the Internet has clutched me in its distracting claws and I’m struggling to wiggle my way out of it.
I want to stop being so distracted by the Internet because of two reasons; my daughter and my intelligence.
Since having so many loved ones and acquaintances dying on us in 2019, and worrying about my own demise, I realized that by being online so much, I am taking away precious time from my daughter and spending it on basically unproductive things online (for the most part). The height of this addiction was when pnce I refused my daughter’s request to dance because I was busy browsing through other people’s lives on Instagram. That felt like a mockery to motherhood. It sounds exaggerated (and I’m a big proponent of me-time among mothers) but it’s not like my Instagramming is actually making me a better mom.
The Internet is making me stupid, seriously. I used to be able to finish a Dostoevsky in a week, read a whole magazine in one sitting and actually understand it’s content or write proper articles. Nowadays my comprehension, my attention to details, my grammar and my writing have deteriorated so much that I’m becoming one those people who only read the headline but talks as if I knew the whole story. Shameful! I blame this on the hours I spent online. I used to be proud of my memory, my ability to remember vivid details but now I cannot even memorize my husband’s mobile number.
On top of these, I feel like I’m becoming unproductive at work. I’m losing focus and I couldn’t complete my daily tasks, especially the important ones, without being constantly distracted online. (*sorry boss). I’m hitting my targets but I feel like I’m not working at my full potential and that leaves me feeling unsatisfied. If I don’t do anything about it, I’m afraid it would lead to something like a bore-out, a burn out or worst complacency.
So in 2020 I’m going to reclaim myself from my phone and the Internet. How exactly am I going to do that? That’s a topic for another post.