Did you know I took the Summer of 2013 off the internet? An internet seclusion, one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish in the modern age.
I don’t know why you would know that… It’d be kind of weird if you did. But, and this is extremely weird to say, but after I graduated high school I made the firm decision to avoid the internet for a whole two months because I thought it would help me spend a lot more time with friends and family before I went off to college.
My High School Summers
I spent most of my high school summers doing basically nothing. Eighty percent in front of a Windows XP desktop using the internet; fifteen percent in front of a 40-inch CRT playing Xbox 360; and five percent watching midnight releases at the local Carmike Cinemas.
I also participated in marching band practice. That took most of July and August away each year, because practice was very rigorous. But that didn’t stop me from making grandiose plans all the time! Big novels, experimental music albums, Homestuck fan comics, the works…
None of it ever worked, though. I just played games and browsed the internet all day.
Internet Seclusion At Work
This final summer, however, would be different. Sure, I’d still play a lot of games, but I’d read a lot of books, write a lot of stories, spend a lot of time with friends, and maybe find a romantic summer fling if I was lucky.
So I made a plan!
I started this plan after seeing an article where some journalist took six months off the internet as an experiment and reported on some very positive results. At least, that’s what my memories tell me. I actually can’t find this article to link to this post (maybe this one?). But just know that, in 2013, I trusted journalist opinion pieces enough to drastically change my life for no reason.
I started in mid-June, right around the release of Man of Steel (my most anticipated film of the year). Then, I planned to end after the release of Pikmin 3 (my most anticipated video game of the year). After that, I’d have two or three weeks to prepare things on the internet, then it was time to go off to university and become a real adult.
As you know, plans like this are idiotic and should not be attempted. I really liked the idea, but the reasons for doing so were very silly. I didn’t hang out with friends any more or less than I would have otherwise, and I certainly didn’t end up any more productive in writing. In fact, the entire summer, I only wrote two things: three chapters of a fantasy-detective book I never finished; and outlines for a young adult sci-fi book that remain some of the most embarrassing things I’ve written.
Most of my summer, instead of chatting in IRCs and browsing social media, I spent playing really long RPGs on 3DS and being antsy about the fact I couldn’t look stuff up online. It was just about the same as any other summer, just dumber. And then it turned out that, because I ignored my e-mails for so long, I had some really urgent roommate-related stuff I was way behind on. Oops.
The whole experiment ended about two weeks early thanks to the university stuff and eventually giving into my desire to chat with internet friends again.
Did Internet Seclusion Even Mean Anything?
You know what? I don’t regret it. I had fun secluding myself from the internet for a couple months, at least until I had actual responsibilities that I was abandoning. The outage bored me into trying new things and I got plenty of chances to explore my identity as an adult.
Maybe it would have worked if I only excluded myself from the internet except for, say, an hour from 7 PM to 8 PM only on weekdays, or something?
Either way, it was mildly fun, even though it accomplished absolutely none of what I had originally set out for it to do. A pretty familiar experience.
Summer 2013 was a major turning point for my life, for many reasons. One reason? Pacific Rim. Yeah, you gotta read about that.