…my home internet connection! I’m back online!
After being mostly off-line for a month, it’s nice being back, but I can see myself missing the distraction-less existence I had been living in until today. It’s odd how accustomed we can get to an alternate state of being in such a short time, especially one so alien to a digital-native like me.
I was thinking about my technology experience last night as Allan and I were talking about the generations and their traits. For instance, Generation X is generally those born between 1965 and 1979 and have experienced (as a generation) the Challenger explosion, the Iran-Contra conflict, social malaise, Reaganomics, AIDS, the safe sex movement, and single-parent families as the baby boomers began to experience family strife. And Generation Y is generally those born between 1980 and 2001 and have experienced the rise of the internet, September 11, cultural diverstiy, and two Iraq wars. I’m definitely a Generation Y’er. My students are … something else. They are not only digital natives, they are pretty close to cyborgs.
In relation to this, Allan and I were talking about our first home computers, our introduction to the online world, and how different it is for the new generation that is currently unnamed. When I was in fifth grade, my family purchased our first home computer, a Tandy, and this began my migration to the internet. I was young enough that I consider myself a digital native, whereas some people a few years ahead of me are digital immigrants. Even some of my peers were digital immigrants. I was one of the first among my peers to have my own email address (not a family address or using my parents). I remember what it was, too: email@example.com. And eventually it became firstname.lastname@example.org and various other addresses through the years as my personality, interests, and contacts changed. I remember when listservs were actually informative and a link to the world outside my doorstep.
And now, nearly 15 years later, my digital acumen increased with the technology and tools. I’m a hip blogger, Googler, social networking user, and instant messenger. It’s like I’m plugged in to the internet.
All of a sudden, I was cut off from that world for a month.
I went through withdrawal for a week, whining about not having access to my email, my social networking sites, my book lovers’ sites, and instant messenger. And then, a strange thing happened. I suddenly didn’t miss it so much anymore. I focused in on my curriculum planning and churned out document after informative document, read five books, and spent more time outside running, picking berries, and taking long leisurely walks. I spent more time in the kitchen trying out recipes. I spent time drawing, something I hadn’t done in three years.
And now that I have the internet back, I’m going through withdrawal again. I’ve spent the last four hours today, nearly five, getting reacquainted with the digital world. And you know what, I didn’t miss it as much as I thought. Sure, I certainly appreciate having access to my email, being able to post on my blog, being able to check for updates to blogs I read, and being able to do instant research; I don’t miss the time being online absorbs from my life and how I often have no idea what I’ve actually accomplished in a day. I think I’m ready, after all these years, to strike a healthy balance between digital and real life.