As I write this, Cornell's network is down. It happened at about midnight - all of a sudden, everyone was receiving timeout errors and refused connection errors. I had some more offline work to do, so it didn't worry me too much, but I found myself anxious. I was anxious about the fact that I couldn't connect. In mere moments, the full realization that my connection to the world at large (alas, I have a dumb phone) was severed. After a minute or two of contemplation, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm: the world that I am in — the world of Cornell, and of Ithaca — was still very much accessible to me. The lack of an internet connection didn't stop me from going down to the café and enjoying a cappuccino and a nice book, nor did it hinder my ability to see those I care most about here. I felt at peace.
In addition to a newfound realization for what is around me here at Cornell, the internet's incessant nagging was finally put to rest. No more "1 Unread Message" or "248 Articles to Read". My lack of connection with the world was, for a moment, a wonderful escape from the unending barrage of information the internet presents on a daily basis.
This got me thinking. Born in the early nineties, I have always known the internet. In fact, I have never known a world without the internet, the personal computer, cell phones, and much more. I am truly a child of the information age. But have I been missing out on something? Constantly battling the perpetual influx of emails, tweets, status updates, and so forth, I wonder if I lose sight of ourselves. Moreover, I wonder if we lose sight of ourselves. (I know I'm not alone when it comes to the relentless flow of information heading my way.) I have a moment, indeed many moments, to truly self-reflect. This, I do believe, is what my generation lacks the most: time for self-reflection.
Thus, I challenge you today, to turn off your internet for an hour, or perhaps two. You may find yourself delighted to see what is awaiting you on the other side.