For the past week I decided to unplug from social media and reduce my internet use. Why? mainly because I feel that this tool in my life is becoming a weird addiction. It is disconnecting me from the present moment and giving a sense of connection with others that doesn’t particularly run deep.
It is Monday, day one, I sit waiting for coffee and automatically reach for my phone, then stop because I can’t. Instead I look around. I notice that the baristas all have beards, and smile at a group of trendy elders who laugh at each other’s wit. Well hello world, here you are.
It’s amazing the space in my mind that is taken up with thinking about plugging in. Take a photo to share, look up this fact, find that thing, quick who is doing what? Reaching for my phone or computer is like an itch, annoyingly wanting to be scratched and encroaching on my day.
As the week goes on it becomes much easier. When I think of something I will need to research online I write it down. If there is a friend I need to contact I text or call. I pull my lap top out of the draw for a little during the kids nap then again at night. But I am not sucked into an ever updating newsfeed of information I was not conscientiously seeking. Instead I check my email, go through my research list and then complete projects offline.
Sunday eve and I am considering checking back in but I feel really strange. It’s been a week without the constant sharing back and forth. I know when I open up the portal to life online it will not have missed me. Though I thought about it often and somewhat compulsively, I have no doubt my lack of presence went unnoticed, the constant stream wouldn’t look blank because I didn’t post. I know my need for plugging in is not a reciprocal one, and that makes me feel tuned off to it all. I have always had a thing about feeling special, but social media can make you feel like the over zealous lover of the biggest player on the block.
So what have I learnt? I definitely have an addiction to plugging in, and it is not one that is serving my best interests. I was able to achieve quite a bit when I left the distraction of social media and constant internet perusal. There were projects I had been meaning to get to for some time that actually got DONE. The other thing I realised was I was externalising my worth, throwing myself and a pretty version of my life out into the world for someone, anyone, to approve and validate. Without the constant intention to share my experiences I was able to enjoy them for exactly what they brought to MY life and to MY family.
I am not ready to give these tools away, lord knows most of the word runs through them, but I am more then happy to commit one week a month to unplugging.