A world outside Google Reader

Posted by on July 25, 2010 at 6:31 pm.

Time is a funny thing.

In college, we go to class about 15 hours a week, do homework another 15-30 (approximately, or at least we’re supposed to), then spend 20 hours a week at a paying job and another, you know, 10-20 hours working and not getting paid for it, whether it’s through unpaid internships or campus organizations. I would guess most college students have about 80 hours of structured activities a week.

Then we get thrown into the real world. Forty hours are accounted for. Now, what are we supposed to do with the other 40?

It seems that our parents generation filled in this extra time by watching television or having children.

Our generation doesn’t want to pay for cable, and isn’t really ready to have kids. For sure.

I know myself and most of the other #Lifers spend most waking moments connected to the internet. Recent studies have found that we spend about 7.5 hours online per day. In an appropriately headlined NYTimes article, “If Your Kids Are Awake, They’re Probably Online” the reporter explains how we “pack on average nearly 11 hours of media content into that seven and a half hours.”

What did the generations before us do with those seven hours?

As I’ve settled into my new job and city, I’m discovering I have a lot of free time. I spend most of it online.

I bought a one-month gym membership two weeks ago. I’ve gone to the gym 4 times. It’s felt wonderful to be disconnected and accomplishing something with my spare time instead of just reading the New York Times and Google Reader for hours on end.

Today, I went to my favorite bookstore and asked about volunteering. The lady at the desk suggested I come back tomorrow and pick up a job application. Adding another 20 hours a week to the 40 I’m working doesn’t seem at all overwhelming. Maybe I’m just young and energetic and naive.

There’s only so much you can do each day on the internet before you feel like you’ve exhausted it. I know this seems like a silly concept to grown-ups who understand the vastness and depth of the internet. But for those of us who spend all our time here, it can get a little stuffy. It’s like being in your hometown. After a few years, you know which parts of town you want to hang out in and which you don’t, but you’re getting bored with your usual circles.

Maybe it’s time for a vacation from the internet.


  • Ryan says:

    Life without internet? Sounds more difficult than breathing without oxygen, but I believe in you. 🙂

  • Tina says:

    Take on all these jobs while you still have that energy. We can laze on the internet in retirement, or, you know, use whatever newfangled technology is out there.

  • Julia says:

    I can’t really swear off the Internet all together, since I use it for work and talking to important people (boyfriend, parents), nor would I want to live without it completely. But perhaps setting aside a few hours each day to be disconnected, purposefully, would be a good step. I think I’ll start with trying to do something away from the computer for 3 or 4 hours each day (naps and sleep don’t count).

  • Gwen says:

    We don’t have cable installed in the new apartment yet, so I’ve been experiencing a bit of a forced Internet vacation myself, outside of work. You’re right about it encouraging productivity in other areas — unpacking would probably be going a lot slower otherwise.

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

Leave a Reply