thoughtsharing* by Caterina Baffa, ’17

I haven’t watched a youtube video or gone on Buzzfeed since Wednesday, February 10th.

Every spring, Catholics across the globe celebrate a Church season called Lent. “Lent” means spring; just as spring represents rebirth and new life, Lent is the season which prepares people for the new life to come at Easter. Many people abstain from a particular food, practice, or item for the forty days of Lent in recognition of this preparatory season.

This year, just I have the past few years, I have abstained from going on the internet for fun. Now, of course I can check my email for important messages and go online for school work and the like, but there are no more hours of scrolling through interesting stories and videos just for the sake of it. Theoretically, this abstinence during Lent should allow me to reflect more on my religion and relationship with God—I’m surprised to say that I think it did. Suddenly, funny cat videos could not prevent me from  thinking and reflecting, and not just on religion, but on my life overall. Just as surprisingly, over the past few years, I have come to look forward to Lent and the freedom that giving up the internet gives me.

Despite all the benefits of communication, knowledge, and community that come with internet use, I can’t help but think that sometimes the internet becomes a giant crutch which replaces independent thought. A constant barrage of opinions and decisions, the internet serves as a wonderful starting point for collaborations and evolving beliefs, but so many young people become fully dependent on it for entertainment and distraction. We too often go on the internet to escape real life and feed into our laziness. Having avoided the depths of the web for a month, I find myself increasingly conscious of my actions and thoughts, knowing that they are my own. I am more engaged in my life because without the internet, there is no other life to experience.

This Sunday, when I finish my temporary break-up with the internet, I’m definitely going to check Buzzfeed and watch a funny video that a friend raved about to me… But I’m also going to be more aware of how much time I spend wandering around in other people’s thoughts. I will internalize the ones I want.  I will learn to say no to the ones I don’t.

* “Thoughtsharings” are pieces of art, usually writing, in which members of the Red Ink staff and Wellesley High School community share their ideas and beliefs, with a particular emphasis on people’s thoughts about events and circumstances surrounding their current lives. Check right here on our website for regular thoughtsharings! *

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