Clearing Out the World Wide Cobwebs

The Internet is a strange and wonderful thing, isn’t it.

At this point I honestly have no idea whether I love it or hate it. Back in the days of dial-up, posting 20c coins in a jar each time I connected (my Dad was a thrifty man), I don’t think I had any idea how much of an impact this global computer network would have on my life.

It’s 2017, and I’m grateful to say my life has never been more rich and full. I have a daughter (Isla) and a wife-slash-best-mate (Laura), we live in a rental at the foot of the Blue Mountains, we’re happily settled in Australia after years of travel, Laura’s a Mum, I’m a freelancer, we have our family around us and enough money to pay rent, wear clothes and eat food.

Despite this recipe for life satisfaction, I always feel—to some degree—overwhelmed. For me, that means an over-stimulated brain, filled with both positive and negative thoughts, all vying for my attention. Whilst there are a number of factors that contribute to this clutter—not the least of which being my personality—I attribute a large portion of blame to being constantly connected.

My line of work invites a lot of time spent Internetting. Which is totally fine and great. Access to the kinds of resources, tutorials, connections, discussions and opportunities afforded all of us by the Internet has been a huge boon to my career. But I am just now appreciating the enormous responsibility we accept when we choose to open up a browser window or pick up our phone.

I suppose the kicker here is the “when we choose” part. Like anything good, the Internet is best consumed in moderation. Too much of a good thing is, by definition, too much, and I am consuming too much of the Internet. I don’t sleep very well. Do you think it has anything to do with checking my emails in-between REM cycles? I get fairly frequent headaches. Uncannily, it’s often around the same time I’ve spent the better part of an hour thumbing through my Twitter timeline. I regularly experience career-envy. That couldn’t possibly have anything to do with constantly and eagerly consuming every single post, image and achievement published by my peers on social media… could it?

I can’t even seem to enjoy a quiet poo without checking Instagram.

Needless to say, I regularly flirt with the idea of a full social media purge. Imagine how liberating that would be. How freeing, to move about uninhibited by the relentless hum of social media timelines. That’s a genuinely nice idea. However, if I’m being 100% honest with myself, it would be an oversteer. The Internet—social media platforms and all—is as powerful as it is soul-sucking, and I can’t deny its usefulness as a tool for research, skill development and self-promotion.

So I guess I’ll have to learn to exercise some self-discipline and find a balance.

If anyone reading this has trodden the same ground and has words of wisdom, I’m all ears. I’ve wrestled with whether or not to share this publicly, for fear of adding to the very noise I’m struggling to lower the volume on. But I’ve pressed publish in the hopes that we can compare notes and grow as a result.