But when I stopped seeing my life in the context of "I don't use the internet," the offline existence became mundane, and the worst sides of myself began to emerge.
...sums the article up in one sentence. I remember my mother said to me one time, "You spend too much time on the computer." I was probably 16. I, in my estimation, spent about as much time on the computer as any other 16 year old, possibly less. I didn't mind. I definitely had my vices at 16, but this wasn't one of them. "Spending time on the computer" (and by extent on the internet) isn't a thing, I thought. I was baffled, so I went back to reading or listening to music or writing and lost a wee bit more respect for my mother.
That's why this guy's sabbatical, his modern-day Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, was doomed to fail. Spending time working is a thing. Spending time reading. Spending time listening to a new album. Spending time gaming, if you're into that. Spending time "on the internet" doesn't mean a damn thing -- what, spending time on reddit? That's still something, isn't it? If it's not, you're doing it wrong. Do people really sit and stare at Facebook? I don't know.
So I didn't understand when my mother said that to me, just as I didn't understand why a lack of internet connection changed the Verge writer's life so much early on. It's not a lifestyle, it's a tool. Nothing about your computer stops you from playing frisbee or losing weight, for god's sake. Your inherent lack of motivation does that. Checking out of the internet for a while can be a superficial excuse for why your life seems better, it's true -- but it's a placebo effect, as is clear from his later regression in the article. The euphoria wears off, and he begins to wonder what the hell he was trying to prove to his therapist.
Sad story, to be honest.