Last month I did something impulsive. I ditched the internet.
In a digital age where self-love “pins” took the place of practices and curated “grams” illustrating specific moments of “living one’s best life” are considered more than one-dimensional, there leaves a lot of room for interpretation by those who are entertained by their understanding of your shortcomings. Social media self-publishes our intimate moments to our worst critics. These critics are people who see your life as a source of their entertainment rather than a personal journey.
Earlier in the year, it was brought to my attention that certain aspects of my social media presence were being interpreted and written into a narrative without my creative direction – because often life’s truths are less cunning. In a storytelling tradition, gossip is exactly that… a story. This experience has forcefully guided me to reconsider my digital presence.
There was nothing wrong with my social media presence. I, like others, would share snapshots of my life such as the hikes my husband and I took, global travel, trends I was trying and food I loved eating and cooking. Occasionally, I would welcome views to see the hard work that goes on behind the scenes whether it be how I was coping with my personal health or the stamina required to achieve my professional goals. Where this became tainted was when unhappy people took it upon themselves to squint through my photos and/or
I previously wrote about “The Milestone Race” and how some people feel that we go through life in a sequence. However, to expect our lives to run in a linear direction cheapens the complexity of living. Just because someone veers “off course” does not disqualify their story. It gives them depth and makes life that much more beautiful. Furthermore, it is impossible to gain an understanding of anyone’s trajectories through social media. So while unplugging my Instagram and deactivating my Facebook might seem rash, going digitally rogue has allowed me to stay present – a benefit that I will not exchange quickly.
By excusing myself from the social media rat race, I have had time to engage in those items that we pin on Pinterest in hopes to accomplish “someday”. While leaving the internet behind may not be a feat you are willing to take on, I will highlight a few life changes that have flourished in my exit:
- All the self-care bullshit: Since leaving social media, every Sunday I do a face mask, a hair mask, my nails and I take a fancy spa bubble bath. Not just hot water! No, I’m talking essential oils in the diffuser, bath bombs, candles and the whole kaboodle. It does not take a lot of time out of your day once a week to do this and the emotional benefits are to die for! So, go to Lush, get a couple of great smelling bath items and be present for this routine – I promise you will not regret it. Side note, my nails are the healthiest they have ever been.
- Reading: Remember books? Remember as a child when you would lie to your parents that you were scared of the dark and to leave the hall light on only so you could get another chapter in? What happened to that child? Since leaving social media, I brought her back and am currently getting lost in the beautiful imagery that is J.R.R. Tolkien’s words.
- Preparation is key: By not mindlessly scrolling through other people’s lives, I am able to set myself up for success within my own. Sunday’s I often do a bit of meal prep to make my week easier (e.g., breakfast, roasted veggies, lunch ideas etc.) and I am able to participate in a productive evening routine that includes preparing my coffee the night before. Who knew that my goal of waking up earlier relied on what I do the night before!
- Authentic intimacy: At the beginning of a new month, I schedule my dates with my husband and time to spend with my girlfriends. Seriously, I write it in my calendar book. I find that by doing this, I am inspired to finish my work obligations in a timely manner so that they don’t interfere with the time I spend with my friends.
- Gimme those glutes: You know what I did today before publishing this article? 20 minutes on the treadmill, 15 minutes of weight training, 30 minutes of yoga and 20 minutes in the sauna (where you can’t bring in digital devices). Instead of mindlessly scrolling through the beautiful women on #fitspo and complaining to myself that I cannot achieve that look, I just go ahead and try.
As I move forward, I will be considering how I interact on the internet a bit more carefully and one way I intend to stay present is here on the blog.
How about you? In a digital world, would you step back in time and interact differently? Share your thoughts below! I would love to hear them!