Photo courtesy of XKCD Comics

By ELIZABETH BASTIAN, Managing Editor

It’s one of those annoying habits that seem to linger around after high school that you think you have managed to outgrow. Everyone has them, right? For some it’s pulling your car into a parking space at an unnecessary speed, or insisting on a “’sup” nod instead of the more popular hand wave.

Habits do tend to vary, after all, based on personality and experience.

For me, internet window shopping has increasingly become my go-to, alternating from a source of stress relief to a time killer when I feel I have nothing better to do. I used to do this all the time in high school, spending aimless hours looking at clothes I pretended I could afford. I haven’t done this in almost three years, but the habit has been creeping back into my life, and I am not okay with it.

I rarely actually purchase anything, which I guess is the silver lining to this cloud. But still, there are several issues I have with my particular behavioral problem.

First off, I do have better things to do. Even if there is that off day when I don’t feel swamped with homework, I really don’t need to spend more time on my laptop. I could be reading something that’s not required for school, or baking delicious snacks, or going for a run, or organizing my bookcase. I waste enough time doing meaningless things on the internet as it is, and looking at more things I don’t need is not bettering my quality of life.

Second, it is distracting. And worse, it is distracting for nothing. I am scatter-brained enough as it is without having stock photos of shoes, clothes, and furniture floating around my head. Also, I am feeling increasingly creeped out by the Ad Choice advertisements on the sides of websites. They know where I have been on the web, and they know what I supposedly like, and are encouraging me to buy more of it. I feel like I am being watched by some sort of Big Brother, and I am not okay with that in the least.

Most importantly, I thought I had outgrown this needless sense of materialism. Oftentimes I feel as though I am being suffocated by the objects I already own, and will go on a purge to rid my closet and my life of the things I don’t need. And yet, if this is the case, why am I looking at boots? Why am I ogling over Tiffany bracelets when I don’t even wear jewelry? Honestly, the only thing that has changed from when I was fifteen and sixteen is the websites. Instead of Hollister and American Eagle (yup, I was that person), I now spend hours scrolling through Modcloth dresses and trying to justify buying one, or ten, of them.

Not only do I have better things to do, but I thought I was a better person than this. I don’t want to be this kind of consumer. Frankly, I am not even sure if I want to be considered a consumer in the first place. I am not the type of person who goes out and buys things to make myself feel better; so why am I acting like I am?

If it comes down to it, I am going to have to start using a website blocker to self-police my needless guilty pleasure that really isn’t pleasurable. Improving my quality of life comes from the things I do, not the stuff I have. It’s high time for that sixteen-year-old remnant inside of my brain to grow up and realize that.