It was the summer of 2018. I was a bit burnt out by a mix of anxiety, work and a bloody hot week. So, I decided to go to my parent’s mountain house. The plan was straightforward: go there, disconnect from the world, write fiction, read books, do long walks in nature. I wanted to do the things I used to do a long time ago when life was breezy :D.
However, after just one day, I found myself doing the same things I usually do at home: checking news, looking for interesting, reading opinions, checking Twitter and so on. It was then that: I did not know how to relax anymore. I did not know how to be creative anymore.
The point is: I do not know anymore how to get bored. I do not know anymore how to have meaningful leisure. I do not know anymore how to let the mind roam around, make unpredictable connections. If creativity needs something, that something is boredom. I am way happier when I am more a producer than a consumer; nevertheless, I was sucked away.
Then, I realized that it was not my fault. It is the system that is designed this way: the most valuable commodity of this decade is “screen-time,” and the best mind out there are actively working in corporations whose only goal is to mine screen-time from your day. And they know how to do their job.
I am not telling anything new, there are tons of books and blog post discussing the same thing. It is just that I am sick of it and I need to vent out.
Then I realized that I have a lot of time. Last year I read 20 not-work-related books. I hit my goal, and then I thought that I could not have done better because I had no time.
But I read six books this month alone. Did I have more time this month? No way. I just trashed all the digital crap mining screen-time. I have the same time, I just spend it more interestingly.
Then I realized that when I am sad, the siren song of the digital crap become sweeter and more powerful. Because when I am happy I want to spend my day in a more meaningful way: play music, work on side projects, do a walk; I do not want o look at memes.
We know that social-medias make people, on average, more anxious and sad. I am starting to think that this is not an unexpected side-effect: it is a design feature.
Then I realized that it was, in fact, my fault. I was giving other people an incredible power over my existence. I allowed this, and I keep allowing it every time my muscle memory open some mindless surfing web page. This will be no more.
I want to be clear: I am not telling you what to do. But at some point, we will need to face the consequences of all this distraction industry.