"What do people do online?", our friend asks. "My wife is sitting in front of the computer at 3 in the morning, and I have no idea what she does."
"Does she play games? Read blogs? Post stuff on Facebook?" I ask.
"Is she part of online groups?" I try again. "Maybe they are chatting?"
"No idea. I think she's tweeting and instagramming and all that."
"You don't instagram on the computer, you do it on your phone." I inform him.
"Hrumph, it's all the same to me", he grumbles.
We drop the subject and talk about something else.
However, on the way home I bring it up again with my husband, because it is a question that fascinates me: How exactly do people spend so much time online? What do they do?
I myself am no stranger to getting lost in the online world. I'd say I spend at least two hours on my computer every day, and that doesn't take phone time into account (if we're being honest here, that time probably doubles when I count all my time spent on Instagram).
But as I was quick to point out to Richard, while I use the internet passively by reading and scrolling (aka "getting inspired" as I like to call it), I'm also an active contributor.
Richard agreed, and even went one step further: "You create content for them to consume. You are a maker."
That's high praise from a man who is still deeply suspicious of the world wide web, and gave me a warm, happy glow.
I'm sure every blogger has had moments where we ask ourselves why we do it. We are all part of a never-stopping treadmill, churning out content that's quickly consumed and soon forgotten, just to be repeated the next day. There are probably millions of blogs out there - why even bother? Would it make a difference if I took mine off?
To the world, it obviously wouldn't. But how about yourself? I don't know about you, but to me my blog is a source of pride. Writing and creating content for this space gives me great pleasure and satisfaction. And the thing is: You never know where it will lead you. Blogs have inspired their creators to start their own businesses, become photographers, authors, web designers, teachers, entrepreneurs - the list goes on and on.
Many of us set out in life on a pre-determined path: school, college, job. A straight road that would lead to a "normal" life: 9-5 in an office 5 times a week, and the weekends spent doing the activities that the people of this particular income bracket do: mowing the lawn, playing golf, going to the movies, raising 1.9 children.
You may be totally content with this arrangement, and if you are, more power to you!
But what if you feel a bit restless? A bit bored and dissatisfied, without really knowing why? Something is off, but you can't put your finger to what it is.
There is a desire deep within you, so deep that you have trouble seeing what it is. But it is there.
Here is the thing: Doing something new and different from your normal routing may unearth this desire. Starting a new hobby, writing a journal, picking up photography, or starting a blog may all help you to connect with your inner self.
We live in a world where we love to watch other people live their lives. Reality TV and social media seduce us to lean back and be entertained, instead of entertaining ourselves.
We have become passive spectators instead of active participants.
But we are missing out on so much by doing that! I find no pleasure in watching other people make mistakes and laughing about it. I'd rather make them myself.
Because I always try to picture myself as a grey-haired old lady sitting in her rocking chair on the front porch in 50 years, thinking back on my life. You only remember the things you have actually done.
The countless hours spent in front of a screen, be it TV, computer or phone, won't have any memory value unless you created something.
Don't just be a spectator, be a creator!
A creator of your own, unique life.