Life

From Digital Depths to Real-life Delights: Embracing Offline Joys in a Hyperconnected World

I was formerly enamored with the cyber realm. I forged connections, engaged in discourse, perused electronic tomes, and explored various social networks. All my attire and daily requisites were procured via the internet. Additionally, I utilized an application to procure groceries and morning sustenance. It appears that the lifelines of all are tethered to network cables, and the narratives depicted within social circles are predominantly resplendent.

Gradually, I discerned a waning enthusiasm for posting Moments, including within myself. I recollect, a few years prior, abstaining from posting on Moments for more than a week would elicit inquiries from former classmates, “Is something amiss? Your absence has been noted. Has an event befallen you?” Perhaps, during that juncture, there existed circumstances hindering my presence within the social circle. However, presently, a month’s absence from Moments carries scant significance. Conversely, my terrestrial existence burgeons with contentment and felicity.

Since embracing a British Short Blue feline named Baggio from the Shanghai Stray Animal Sanctuary, my leisure hours have been predominantly spent in feline frolic. The cognitive capacity of a feline undeniably rivals that of a toddler, and little Baggio possesses a repertoire of eight hundred antics. Conceivably owing to its past of forsakenness and vagrancy, it harbors a modicum of distrust towards humans. It rebuffs attempts at caress and harbors grudges, manifesting in occasional nips. Upon my initial homecoming, subsequent to trimming its claws, it vehemently assailed my ankle. Nonetheless, through continued geniality, it sheds its defensive facade, exposing its tender underbelly for caress, transmuting into a peculiar and affectionate creature. It transpires that a feline has the capacity to bestow immense joy upon individuals, assuaging a plethora of negative emotions. Humans and animals, in symbiosis, provide solace and rejuvenate one another.

With diminished online preoccupation, ample time has been liberated for pursuits of personal inclination. For instance, perambulations to the local market afford an opportunity to discern the freshness of vegetables firsthand – potatoes caked in earthiness, eggplants glistening with allure, and August’s lotus roots, tender enough to rival fruit… Such tangible gratification eludes those confined to online vegetable procurement. Is it not gratifying? Each item nestled within my basket is handpicked, obviating the inconvenience of online purchases and the occasional erroneous substitution of green garlic for scallions.

Weekends are earmarked for urban strolls, discovering beauty latent within familiar vistas. On the eve of the Mid-Autumn Festival, I embarked on a Huangpu River cruise with my kinfolk for the maiden time, beholding the effulgent cityscape flanking the watercourse. Zephyrs tousle the tresses of tourists, the night embraces with tenderness, and moments of felicity linger indelibly. Queueing for my preferred fresh meat mooncakes imparts a surge of dopamine sufficient to kindle euphoria.

Resuming the perusal of tangible volumes is a recent endeavor. Initially, for the alleviation of ocular strain, and secondly, for the tactile comfort conferred by paper tomes. Notably, I delight in underscoring and annotating passages of particular merit. Cherished volumes find sanctuary upon my shelves for future perusal, whilst those of lesser allure are proffered to comrades or vendored via second-hand platforms. Such rituals imbue the act of reading with gravitas, a marked contrast to the transient nature of e-books.

Lately, I’ve delved into compilations of epistolary exchanges amongst luminaries, offering a glimpse into their virtual existences of yore. In a missive scribed by a youthful Wang Zengqi to his mentor, Shen Congwen, mention is made of Huang Yongyu’s prodigious talents, beseeching assistance in acquainting the world with his genius. “Huang Yongyu is not one to succumb to the trappings of early success. I implore you to unveil his brilliance to the world.” One cannot help but marvel at Mr. Wang’s benevolence, extending concern even within correspondence. Their erstwhile online interactions revolved around literature and sentiment, imbued with the warmth of handwritten missives, casting illumination upon otherwise dreary terrestrial existences.

Epochs have transmuted, rendering online and offline realities wholly disparate.

Once enamored with perusing online short-form content and scrolling through Weibo, I found days slipping away, yielding not happiness but rather a sense of vacuity and disquietude. The transition from virtual to tangible existence engendered a paradigm shift, fostering a state of contentedness, serenity, and empowerment.

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