Nathanial Garrod

My Eyeballs Hurt

I’m severing my umbilical cord to the internet.

I grew up reading. A lot. Everyday. My routine was a daily trip to the library to find a new selection of volumes to read. I moved through books like an alcoholic moves through his/her first drink of the day. Quickly, with an insatiable burning desire for more.

As I moved on to public school, I still read but I had less time to make those choices for myself. I followed the instructions of teachers. Granted, there was the incentive of the “free-reading” program the English classes at my high school required. Even that was not nearly as much as I had read before public school.

Then I got my own laptop. An incredible privilege. Like Ben Parker says, with great power, comes great responsibility. And sometimes it takes failing your responsibilities to realize that you are not living up to the purpose of your power.

I have spent the past three or so years attached to the internet. Almost non-stop. In my free time I have either been in front of my computer, or the TV that my roommates gave me. I have read countless status updates, tweets, blog posts and news articles. I have favorite hundreds of YouTube videos out of the thousands I have watched. I have listened to and acquired thousands of songs, and spent countless time hooked in, listening to this music.

After hours and hours of having earbuds in whilst listening to my music, they start to hurt. And so finally, after years of spending all this time in front of a computer screen, my eyeballs hurt.

I had a conversation with a supervisor the other week. She asked me what books I had been reading lately. I sheepishly hung my head and muttered that I was guilty of being attached to my computer. Even when I am not on the internet, I am doing something.

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is check my e-mail. In the evening, before I fall asleep the last thing I do is plug my earbuds in and turn my iPod on.

I’ve been constantly connected. I closed my Facebook awhile back, in an effort to distance myself from so much negativity. A recent article in the New York Times asks “Do Social Networks Make You Feel Left Out?” This article resonated highly within me.

A graphic found on Tumblr suggested that time spent reading Facebook statuses could better be used to read classic novels. This only holds valid if one actually uses the time to read classic novels. A San Francisco Chronicle article suggests that there may be a certain level of what the writer calls “Brain Drain” that occurs from overstimulation via status updates, tweets and apps.

So all this information at hand, and my recent purchase of a Kindle?

I think I am going to spend a significant amount of time reading now. I have years and years of reading to catch up on. So I am going to use my university library and my newly acquired device to do so. I am going to use notebooks to write (like I used to) instead of Microsoft Word.

If you see me around the internet less frequently for the next couple of months, that is why.

One Comment on “My Eyeballs Hurt

  1. Abria
    April 22, 2011

    It’s great that you’re making the effort. I’ve had to do similar things to stay focused while I work. A few months ago I hid my web browser icon in a really hard-to-reach place just so I wouldn’t be tempted to goof off online when I should be working. It’s amazing how much more time becomes available when social networking sites aren’t a priority anymore.

    Keep it up!

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