Going Offline  by Desi Anwar
The online life that provides many benefits is not supposed to eliminate us from our pleasure of life now and interact with the physical world.

The online life that provides many benefits is not supposed to eliminate us from our pleasure of life now and interact with the physical world. It is supposed to make us not forget how to communicate with real people and appreciate our environment as well as not make us get lost in constant distractions.

When most people on this earth right now are doing self-quarantine at home and most of us are forced to stay connected to other sides and work, count on the internet during the coronavirus outbreak, the Indonesian senior journalist and author Desi Anwar invites us to put down the gadgets. What?

Well, in the era of fast-paced technology, we are required to get information quickly. Through social media and virtual reality, online life keeps us connected and always active. Our smartphones are the first things we achieve when we wake up and the last, we place before going to sleep. The small screen in our hands provides comfort, friendship and stimulation that keeps us constantly interested and excited and distracts us from the real world. With it, we rarely feel bored or have time to just sit still and daydream.

From her latest book Going Offline: Finding Yourself in the Age of Distractions which was released early this year, Desi offers other activities that can be done without using a gadget, just simply conversing with others, reading physical books, or walking around the house and observing nature. Perhaps, it sounds difficult but we can try it step by step.

Going Offline book invites us to rediscover the simple pleasures of spending time offline. A time where we can connect with the beautiful things around us— not with text, video, emojis, but with our eyes, ears, touch, feelings, imagination, and all our senses. Take a journey that takes us to the heart of real life itself, to discover the world outside and even to discover the world inside, to the heart where our identity is.

“This book is very suitable to read to deal with the current situation, beside coronavirus pandemic we are also facing infodemic. So many news, true or false, that we receive in minutes that make our life become uneasy. Whereas now is the best time for us to stay away from online, we have much time at home.” Desi said in reviewing her book on 15 April on Instagram Live.

The book is divided into two parts with several chapters with not lengthy discussions so it doesn’t make readers feel bored to read it. From the first part, entitled Appreciating Life and Life, Desi talks about maximizing the five senses. According to the author, in fact, going offline makes us easy to find the true heart of ourselves, in addition to appreciating life and pursuing happiness. Just simply to ‘make friends’ with our senses: eyes to see the beauty, such as paintings and nature as well as walking around the house complex can be very good therapy.

“While working from home now, the sounds of nature are more audible, too bad if we ignore it and prefer to focus on our gadgets. So far, we have been communicating in an inhuman way through our gadgets and it will be dangerous for the next generation.” She added.

In the second part with the title The Art of Life, Desi defines FOMO (fear of missing out) with fear of exclusion which happens which those are usually not online and miss the news or things that are on trending topics. We usually spend hours to check our social media feeds and find many characteristics of the people that make us confused which consequently causes anxiety.

Desi said that in this world there is such a thing as occurrence and reactions. Anxiety is a reaction from what we face which is divided into two things, choices, and habits. It’s one of the mental health problems caused by nescience and not understanding what is happening.

“We hold the gadget then we look at social media, we throw opinions and think our opinions are the best Then seeing other opinions, anxiety arises and finally makes noise. Though, we should use our online world for clear purposes. We must know when we use our smartphone and when to put it down. We must grow our mindset so that the gadget we use is a tool, don’t let the gadget control us. All kinds of notifications in our earnings are proof that we are being manipulated. Every now and then we want to check what the notification is. Turn off the notification if you want to avoid anxiety. We must control circumstances, not circumstances that control us.” the author explained.

Desi revealed that the most difficult thing to do is to control the mind. The key is, we must communicate with ourselves to find our true self and get happiness. We can cultivate our negative thoughts through positive things, for example doing things that we haven’t done in a long time and doing something new that are full of benefits.

“Going offline is the way to reset our relationship with ourselves and the time to give appreciation to life. We can take advantage of this break during the coronavirus outbreak to charge ourselves totally. This time is very luxurious.” the author said.

Sari Widiati

Sari Widiati

Sari has been an arts and culture enthusiast for many years. She has written extensively on the arts, travel, and social issues as Features Writer at NOW! Jakarta.