idiots people on the Internet inform how you live your life.” This is the mantra we should all live by in 2015 and it feels insufferably impossible because the Internet is rife with eye-roll-worthy clickbait titles that you can’t even knock for trying. Like, all of these writers and #content #creators are vying for the number of hits that only a video of an infant — who’s recovered from some life-threatening thing and talking to a baby animal with a time-lapse of his bearded Dad who’s holding the hand of the beautiful Mom but like, in every country across the world and you can see all the sunsets — can collect.
The good stuff though. New music. Old comedy sketches and cartoons you gathered ‘round the PC to watch on YouTube in middle school. All the 90’s your nostalgia-craving brain and handle and all the Pinterest cooking tutorials your stomach will, let’s be real, probably never stomach. But whatever, because it’s fun.
The Internet is dope and there’s no question that it gives you good stuff. There is this question, though: how much of your life is URL and how much of it is IRL?
We let people on the Internet — friends, families, purveyors of listicles (the site you’re on now, hi!), randos on Twitter and Instagram, people who are funny on Vine, dumb celebrities who say too much — tell us how to live our lives.
We let the Internet take up the space that ‘real life’ should take up and you know what? That’s normal. It’s 2015, of course you need technology. I am not a high horse hater of technology and do not think life would be better without it. I don’t think you need to go on a retreat and if you can afford to do so, I think you should spend that money taking a class on something you don’t know shit about.
I also know that I don’t know much of anything, because I am 24 and can scarcely decide how much of what to buy at the grocery store so that I can feed myself for more than five days.
But I do know that hearing the Internet is bad for your mental health — constantly scrolling without actively participating and listening, without having someone to talk with in real life, to tell you about yourself and challenge things you think and be like “you’re crazy, get a fucking grip. Are you hungry? Should we get fries?”
Without that IRL connection to sift through the URL bullshit, the Internet can be mad useless. It can be a constant feed of the stuff you’re already fed via all the other media around you, just positioned in the most obvious way. It’s like your mom nagging at you to do the thing you know you should do, the thing you will do: “honey, 25 Signs You’re On The Right Path! Dinner’s ready! Don’t Forget To Do This One Thing Every Day! Clean Your Room!”
You feel cynical and ungrateful and shitty for hating the fact you even have to hear it, because all the good you get from mama Internet compensates, right? After all, this shit raised you.
But dude, it didn’t. The Internet raised you and it still does, but it’s not your mother. It’s not your friend. It’s not even your shitty ex. It’s just a college campus, a dorm room even — it’s a place with seemingly infinite resources and you can fill your tiny part of that place with whatever you want. For better or worse.
So avoid the shit that makes you feel shitty without making you think anything or question anything. Seek out the stuff that makes you feel good and leaves you with questions, or the stuff that gives you chills and leaves you with questions, or like, the pictures of naked humans that make you feel like you wanna see naked humans IRL instead of just gaze at more on a sad screen. Seek out stuff that keeps you seeking. Avoid everything easy, as often as you can. Avoid me. Do whatever you need to do to stay bright and shiny and buzzing, because if not?
You’re dead. In need of a charge.
Effectively useless. And baby, you were not born that way. Not even close.