We need to take a break, social media, I’m not sorry about it.
I don’t know if you have picked up on it yet, but I have a lot of interests. I’ve done theater, interior design, I read a lot, I like pop culture and fashion, I have a million writing ideas that I am scared of forgetting, I have two jobs, I am in school, I was trying to learn how to play the ukulele, and I am also trying to start relearning french. I also try to maintain strong relationships with friends and family. I’ve been trying to learn to meal prep, I’m learning about financials and boosting ones credit report. I’m trying to move and find my first apartment, I have more than a casual interest in the Sims. I love tv and movies and podcasts. And I have reached the point where I want too many things and I want to know too many things. I have been broken by my own curiosity.
In theory, I claim to balance all of these things as well as my delicate health. But the reality is that I get so overwhelmed by all that I want to do, I end up doing nothing but wallowing in misery because I can only multitask so much and so often. I have found myself getting bored with books because I am distracted by ten others I want to read. I’ve been getting bored in classes because I have such restless energy I can’t even focus. And then there is the anxiety that I get from realizing ALL of this, that I get even more overwhelmed – I have to find a way to chill out, essentially.
Growing up, my mother restricted my computer and tv time. And even then, when I was on the computer I was playing math and grammar games. I felt like I had the most brilliant imagination, playing with my barbies until I was 16. I spent hours reading anything I could get my hands on, even really big hard books, even if I didn’t actually understand what I was reading. Now days I get bored so fast that I have to force myself to keep dense books on my radar. It’s something I feel ashamed about. I want to go to school forever! I want to spend my days talking and learning surrounded by other academics. I want to tackle difficult literature and learn about the great academics before me. But I can’t do that if I can’t even get through biographies about people I admire. What good is it to read stacks of books, if I wasn’t once challenged?
For the past week I have allowed my phone to track how often I am on it. Even though I carry a book with me everywhere, I have noticed that if I am in line anywhere, or waiting for a bus – or even waiting for someone while they run to the bathroom – I pull out my phone immediately. I didn’t even have a phone with internet access until 4 years ago, so this habit where I spend all spare time scrolling is a new one. I am hoping that because it is so new that I can easily break it. In the past week I have spent an average of 2.5 hours every day on my phone. I will say that a lot of that was while multitasking, because I watch shows when I put laundry away or cooking, and I watch shows on my phone while I play games on my computer. With that in mind, I am honestly surprised that the average time wasn’t higher. But that is still two and a half hours I could have been doing something else.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the ease of social media. I love that I can hear an interview with my favorite Egyptologist a mere hour after she gives it, and that I can hear interesting people write or talk about their lives and perspectives. Those stories are really important to me. They help me relate to the people around me and help me form my own opinions on things. But I also know that I am not spending 2.5 hours everyday partaking in that. A lot of that time is being spammed with ads for foods and lifestyle trends that I don’t need or have interest in. A lot of that time is spent reading comments written by people I don’t know who aren’t doing anything proactive but are very angry. A chunk of that 2.5 hours is spent locked in my echo chamber.
For the month of October I am removing Facebook, Instagram, tumblr, and all the games from my phone. I am logging out of them on my computer. I am going to train myself to stop reaching for my phone for those few minutes I am waiting somewhere and learn to stand there waiting doing nothing or reading the book in my purse. My phone will be to stay in contact with people and to take photos. I am allowed to post to my blog page on FB if I write something – but otherwise you won’t see me until November.
As much as I love being a part of the community that I have created here, I want to be able to look back and recognize accomplishments that I made, not just articles I shared on Facebook. I’m excited to get lost in my books and my classes. I’m excited to let myself be flooded with writing ideas. I’m excited to daydream again, and to get bored and not have a safety net waiting in my pocket. I’m excited to meet my imagination again. I’m just really excited.