The Validation Cycle
When I first hopped online in the mid-90's, I remember browsing newsgroups for everything from James Bond to NASCAR, and being thrilled that there were others out there who shared my interests.
I think the dopamine hit that I got from discovering content that interested me, rewrote some pathways in my brain all those years ago. Prior to Google (well... sort of like Google is now), I'd spend hours looking for fan sites and websites dedicated to whatever passing fad interested me at the time. That became my default action: discover something new (or remember something old) hop online, find folks who also like/remember it, and consume whatever content I could find.
And so... I repeat this cycle of validation every day, several times a day, and I have done this almost daily since somewhere around 1995.
Sadly, nine times out of ten, what I find frustrates me. For example: this weekend IMPACT Wrestling decided to change its name back to TNA Wrestling, which brought up some feelings of nostalgia. I was happy about it, and then I stupidly needed some sort of validation of my excitement and the next thing I know I end up reading comments that were well... disappointing. I felt my excitement taper and I think that was when I realized that I needed to stop this insanity.
My return on investment when it comes to the internet is not good. I pour so much time into looking for content that interests me or is of high quality, and it's just not there. I took a step back this weekend and even contemplated if it’s time to just leave it all behind? I mean, obviously I can't "quit the internet" since I still have to do business, pay bills, and what not, but maybe it's time to stop using the internet as a hobby and invest my time and energy elsewhere. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it sounded like a good idea, so I did what any insane person would do, and I figured I should do a quick Kagi search on "How to Quit the Internet."
I didn't actually do that search, but it did prompt me to write this post. I think it’s time for me to make some more decisions that don't involve doing an internet search first. I think it's time to evaluate how I want to spend my time because if there is one thing I know, I'm not going to be on my deathbed wishing I'd spent more time online.