The Verge's Paul Miller is a brave man. Despite being neither Amish nor, to our knowledge, a masochist, Miller set out 365 days ago on an experiment whose basic concept strikes fear into the hearts of bloggers everywhere: He spent a year with no Internet access.
Miller came back online last night, and has a great essay about his experience. It turns out that there are things that exist outside the Internet — who knew! — and that embracing these things can, on balance, make a person's life better. Miller reports: "My life was full of serendipitous events: real life meetings, frisbee, bike rides, and Greek literature ... I lost 15 pounds without really trying. I bought some new clothes. People kept telling me how good I looked, how happy I seemed. In one session, my therapist literally patted himself on the back."
Despite the overdone premise of living a stunt lifestyle for a year and then writing about it (which is so common that it has even inspired a meta-stunt), Miller's lessons seem actually useful. Even though he says his Internet-free life "wasn't real life" and many of his good offline pursuits eventually dissipated into new, web-free ways of wasting time, he still regained his attention span, became more observant of the world around him, and deepened his human connections.
On the minus side, he missed a lot of amazing "Harlem Shake" videos.