My 2023 theme: UNplug and play

Airplane mode is not just a setting on your phone. It can be a whole way of life.


— Austin Kleon

I waste too much time online, which is odd because I haven’t had a social media account since 2015. That doesn’t stop me from spending tons of time searching, scrolling, lurking, and overloading my brain with information of dubious quality, though. It usually starts innocently enough, when I need to look up a specific thing. But after finding the answer I’m looking for and studying it from every opinion and angle, no matter how trivial, an hour has passed and I find myself in yet another rabbit hole.

It’s the curse of the infinite scroll combined with the brain’s desire for novelty. I’ve had this problem even before social media came along. What can I say? I love learning new things. But do I really need to spend two hours researching a $20 purchase? Do I really need to read everyone’s opinion about the outrage of the day (or the hour)? Do I need questionable advice from internet strangers about my life decisions? Of course not.

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot less time online, even going as far as blocking search engines from my browser and using the internet only for necessary tasks like email at specific times of the day and checking the weather. Those are the days when I feel most like myself, which doesn’t say good things about how the internet affects me.

This year, I want to be even more intentional about staying offline. I know my online habits have stolen far too much energy from things that are more important and rewarding but, like any real-life activity, more difficult to implement. I want to cement my guitar and writing practices, for starters. I want to get outside, be more physically active, and explore my community. I want to spend more time with family and friends. These are such simple, healthy things, yet it’s so easy to be pulled away by all the forces (marketers, media, politicians, etc.) that want to impose their vision of the world on me. It’s annoying and disrespectful and I’m sick of it. Attention is even more valuable than money, and it’s about time I treated it that way.

So “unplug and play” is my theme for 2023. It’s a simple one, but it’ll have a positive domino effect on other areas of my life.


This month’s link: When I vist the Asian grocery store, I always get a kick out of seeing the odd English on labels and gift items. Duolingo recently showcased great examples of Japanese-to-English mistranslations in The Museum of Wonky English.