Iss. 1 || March 21st, 2022

Connectivity and Detachment

I have been in a pretty bad mood these last few weeks. I'm sure there are a lot of factors as to why, most of them due to my own choices and revolving around things that I can change, but I'm only really going to be addressing one of those factors right now. I think technology is really doing me a disservice lately.

I have known for a long time that I use the Internet and assorted electronic devices too much, and I have wanted to break free of this habit for an equally long time, but it's very hard to do this when many of the things I genuinely enjoy are based in these devices. For example, coding - which I find fun, rewarding, and valuable simultaneously - would be impossible without technology. I have made a lot of dear friends online that I care about a lot, and I talk to them using Discord. I use digital art programs far more often than I do a pencil and paper.

However, too much of anything can be a bad thing, as we all know. Discord is perhaps 'less' of a social media than Instagram or Twitter, but the instant call and response still tugs at your attention and encourages mindless interaction time, especially if you're in lots of groups. Plus, all it takes is for one Discord notification to pop up, and suddenly your phone is in your hand and 20 minutes have gone by. I'm extremely guilty of wasting time scrolling through the exact same thing over and over, even though I don't use any traditional social media any more - Discord and YouTube can get a grip on me very easily. This is particular egregious when I'm trying to sleep. I often waste 2-3 hours on my phone at night even after I tell myself that it's time for bed, sometimes more if I'm unable to resist even worse habits.

I know that it's affecting my mood. It's hard to convince myself to try to lessen my time on Discord, since I really only have one friend in real life that I spend time with, and even then it's usually two or three months before visits. I don't go to play Yugioh anymore since my job tires me out too much, and I just genuinely don't enjoy doing many things in the first place. Discord is a way to pretend that I'm getting the social interaction that I need while not actually serving any real purpose. Thus, I encourage my bad habit (endless scrolling and hurting my sleep schedule) while receiving, yes, some benefits - but hardly enough to validate how much I'm hurting myself at the same time.

For the time being, I'm trying one of my often fruitless Discord cleanses. I hardly ever make it much more than 24 hours without caving and logging back in, although even those short breaks do help... I'd like to make it a bit longer this time. It's hard with work, though, and craving any instant distraction possible during the downtimes. I'll have to try harder than usual.

Also - and I'm very excited about this - I bought an MP3 player yesterday. I bought an 8GB SanDisk Clip Jam. It's so tiny, I love it. I realized that I could help cut my Internet use at night if I was listening to music on something that couldn't even get to the Internet in the first place. I used it for the first time last night and really liked it, although I do have a few notes.

- The device can display Japanese characters, so there's no danger of songs showing up as [][][]. (+)
- The backlight only lasts for 30 seconds to a minute, and only turns back on if you physically press a button. (+)
- Very long battery life. I left it on all night and it was still at 85% or so. (+)
- Only two volume setting, and even the higher one feels just slightly too quiet, which is a little frustrating. (-)
- Different options for audiobooks/podcasts, etc., and music, so the two sections don't get mixed up. (+)
- Supposedly, they're very fragile, which makes sense as they are quite cheap. It would probably be bad if you rolled over it accidentally. (-)
- If you want to see the time, you have to go into Settings and find the Time setting; the screen doesn't have room to display it automatically. (-)
- It did come with its own pair of headphones (+), although they are quite uncomfortable. (-)

Even after just one night, using the MP3 player instead of my phone had palpable results. I didn't check my phone even once. I feel like I slept soundly, but my body was unaccustomed to that, and woke me up several times. I did also take melatonin, though, which helps me sleep but doesn't keep me asleep. Tonight I will use the MP3 player but won't take any melatonin.


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