Monday, January 29, 2007

MY EXPERIMENTS WITH ABSTINENCE


No! I don’t smoke or drink or am not into any other weird stuff that the title of this post might help you imagine. I am an Internet junkie. I can, and, I do spend hours online, most of the times doing stuff that does not ahem qualify as ‘value-adding’. School got me used to 24 hours of high speed Internet. Post-graduation, I found myself in a big city where people were hard to come by. In these testing times the WWW was my only solace. My work in the tech-sector only further fostered this friendship and I guess I never realized when we became almost inseparable. Granny’s rants fell on deaf ears, dad’s disapproving look was quickly dismissed and mom’s Gandhigiri also failed to instigate a change. Like every addict, I was aware of my addiction and its ill-effects; yet I wasn’t doing anything about it and I liked to think I was helpless.
New Year’s time is usually a good time to take stock of life and make amends. It is during this reflective juncture that I happened to read this quote. Write it down. Written goals have a way of transforming wishes into wants, can’ts into cans; dreams into plans and plans into reality. Don’t just think it – ink it. It made sense, and so I penned all the do’s and don’ts and proclaimed it to the entire world here. Most New Year resolutions never go past the first few weeks of the New Year; so a research article claimed. It partially attributed the failure to the fact that the goals are not SMART goals. A quick look at my list and I realized that I needed to be more specific. With a long weekend on my holiday calendar I decided to take some real steps towards tackling my addiction. I promised myself that I would stay away from the Internet for 3 days. Talking about resolutions makes you stick to them, I’d heard; so I dashed a quick “Miss Me” note to some friends telling them about my resolve.
I lingered in the living room after dinner. “What’s the matter today? Aren’t you going to surf?” Granny asked mischievously. I was about snap back; “No I am going to be off it for 3 whole days and spend time with you instead.” I proudly announced. We chatted for a while before turning in. Yess! I had made a start; I congratulated myself. “What’s the username for our Internet connection? Have you changed the password?” - Dad. “There let me help you with that.” I promptly offered jumping out of bed. I was tempted to have a quick look at my email as I got him connected, but checked myself. “You will have to watch out for these weak moments for the next 3 days. They will be waiting to pounce on you at every corner.” I reminded myself.
Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. I sure felt great as I awoke to the sounds of the birds early the next morning. Chai-walk with Granny-jog-meditation was to be my morning ritual for the next 3 days. Gone was the feeling of “I need more sleep”, the dark circles and moi’s beauty gained a new dimension. As Dad busied himself with some work, I pulled out my lappy. “I am going to play you music over the Internet” I suggested enthusiastically. All I got is a cold stare to which I succumbed. Ah! Another small victory. Temptation usually comes in through a door that has been deliberately left open. Remembering this, I gave my lappy a goodbye kiss and tucked it safely into the laptop bag. This bag then went into my sister’s wardrobe. Out of sight, out of mind – I hoped this would work for me. The first day was really tough, every few hours I was seized by a strong urge to pull out lappy, hook it up and surf. Those times I tried to divert my attention by reading. One way in which the Internet has taken its toll on me is – lessened concentration. So reading didn’t come so easily too, but I just kept at it. “This would make a great story.” I thought and started observing my moods and thoughts more closely. Saturday (2nd day) went by smoothly; I was travelling and out of home all day. By Sunday I had sort of gotten used to not starting my day by booting the lappy. I busied myself with some household chores.
By the end of Sunday night however I was bursting to tell everybody what a good girl I had been. So out I pulled lappy dear and woohoo I was connected…
Looking back the 3 day abstinence worked out well for me. I felt relaxed and satisfied that I had not splurged my holidays. I think I am going to practice this more often….

8 comments:

Gowtham said...

@Akira,

Way to go! /me belies that such efforts have a two-fold advantage;

1. During the period of abstinence, we get to appreciate the value of other entities (like relatives, reading, chatting, etc) that we take it for granted and ignore.

2. After the period of abstinence, our addiction seems to have a very new meaning altogether - at least sometimes.

Does this mean you will abstain from your addiction every (long) weekend?

-gowtham
sgowtham.net

Akira said...

@gowtham: Thanks. I completely agree! :)
The freq. of the abstinence is TBD ;)

Nandan said...

Good luck :). Liked the post and the line 'Don’t just think it – ink it'.

Alpesh said...

Wonderful, reading the trip about Shirdi, i felt i also visited while reading. I am the one who visits Shirdi often, why it's here Shirdi Experiences

SimblyDimply said...

Just the thing I needed to read this evening. I have decided to move my computer to the living room. The lappy in the room, always invites me to check my e-mail atleast a 100times in a day and surf things that might contribute to overloading my cluttered mind. I shall also practise cyber-abstinence from now on..atleast once every week.. for a day..Nice post!

Akira said...

Thank you all. I am glad you could associate w/ it :)

Advocatus Diaboli said...

Exactly :). Information overload and wisdom underflow

Manisha said...

Well, I must admit, You are a very good writer.. How about trying this experiment now ? BTW, Im thinking of reading "The Life of Pi" this weekend after having read your article