My One Week Hiatus
P.Jenkins 2018 October 3
When I had made my initial commitment to remove myself from Facebook, Instagram, Kakao Talk, and Facebook Messenger, it was all in the intention to redirect my focus, but I discovered there were other reasons. With the political climate constantly clouding my sunny day and the polarization I felt every time I got on my feeds, I wanted to walk away. Not to turn a blind eye, but to prevent myself from being sucked into a vortex of political debates that 90% ended in another blackhole – empty and void of any real resolve.
On top of that, I found that social media would bombard me with negative feeds leaving me feeling jaded about people. There are too many other important things to address than lampooning or degrading another human being. Frankly, I wanted to step away before my own heart became cynical and judgmental about people I had no personal interaction with.
As a young professional, I didn’t need to waste my time on social media. I’m not here to paint social media as a sinister villain, we know it has it’s place. It was my need to develop some healthy boundaries and reestablish what it was I wanted from my social media network.
After a week's hibernation, I can guarantee, anyone is bound to learn a little more about themselves.
This is what I definitely learned after shutting the social media world out:
I was no longer wishing I had accomplished A-B-C-D things on my list, I mean I got A-B-C-D checked off my list. I wrote blogs. I created the videos that had been sitting on my desktop for months. I finally got to updating pages on my website I had been neglecting. I spent more time with the people around me. I cooked more. I attended seminars and lectures. I learned. I grew intellectually. I read more. I listened to podcasts. I educated myself on the frontal lobe. I researched the various neck muscles and the importance of spinal alignment, something I had been wanting to do, but put off because I was too busy getting lost and distracted by social media.
Some may chalk it up to lack of self-control, but I'm pretty certain, those that jump to that conclusion are as guilty as I was in spending time on their social media, more than they had intended. I mean we're human, we get distracted. Who doesn't?
I began to micromanage the importance of my time and saw where it was going and how I was spending it. Just like a good financial advisor would say, invest in things you want to see grow. If you are a content creator, you’ll want to invest that time actually creating. Don’t compare what you see out there. But do what you can do to invest in what matters to you.
HAHA! What I mean is I intentionally meditate on the beautiful things in life. It’s like this verse that keeps coming back to me, although I have paraphrased it here, it basically states we are to meditate on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praise worthy (Phil.4:8). I spent a lot of my evenings going for a walk and taking in the sunset. I would watch the rays dance across the sky and try and learn from the things that surrounded me. I’d find object lessons in everything that I was doing. Sometimes I’d learn something, other times, it was just a normal task. Either way, I kept meditating.
This may seem narcissistic of a statement, but what I mean is that I appreciated where God has taken me and who God made me to be. Sometimes we get so caught up on what we think we should be doing or not doing at a certain point in our life and in reality, He’s saying, “Just keep going. Don’t look to the left or the right. Keep going straight ahead.” I’m learning to appreciate where I currently am in life and am trying not to overthink where I assume I should be. Anyone else feel me on this?
Yeah, pretty important part - I neglected to share what I was doing. So disappearing suddenly freaked some people out. If you decide to take a break, just make sure you let people know. For me, I didn't want to be that "person" who megaphones an announcement "I'm breaking up with my social media! See you in a week" haha. But seriously though, let people know, or else you'll return with a butt load of messages.
I remember a conversation I had with someone a few years ago, they once said, “My biggest fear is that if I disappeared, I won’t even be remembered.” Two things came to mind when I meditated on this statement.
1) Why are we trying to base our fulfillment in life on whether we are remembered? There have been over a billion people that have lived and died and we have no memory of every single one of them. What I think the focus should be on, is whether you are happy with the results of the way you live your life. Are you proud of who you are growing into? If not, what needs to change? These are far more important questions to be asking ourselves.
2) The people who actually care about you, will keep in touch with you. If they really want to have you in their life, they will go out of their way to find you and contact you. The only people who will remember you are those you actually engage with. These are the people that will matter the most in the long run, they are there in your weakest and strongest moments. Just make sure these aren’t toxic people. You need to surround yourself with people that build you up and vice-versa.
We have all experienced that one person in our life who is the living breathing Jekyll and Hyde; one way in person, but completely different on social media. And social media tends to be this way too, it paints the world in darkness, and skews what the average person may experience. Obviously, one's daily experience differs in what culture and country one may come from. However, social media tends to manipulate us into believing that the outside world, is unsafe and creates in us a distrust for each other. Kinda like Rapunzel's mother, who preferred to keep her locked away in the tower so she could maintain her youthfulness.
I'm not saying to throw away your discretion, but having traveled alone for nearly eight months, have proven that the world is far better than what I've been bombarded with on social media. It's like what Max Roser, an economist at Oxford, University stated, “We live in a much more peaceful and inclusive world than our ancestors of the past”(1).
Recently, I attended six different business related social meet-ups all of which were cordial and friendly. Everyone was respectful and considerate. We were a melting pot of various ethnic backgrounds, experiences, ages and lifestyles. No one seemed to care, what we looked like, what our political, socio-economic standing or religious affiliations were. We saw each other as people helping people. It was no different in Thailand, Philippines, or right here in the U.S. People were still genuine in helping people whether I was in Arizona, Oregon, Nebraska, or Washington. Good people are everywhere and there are more of them than we are willing to recognize.
I found that being spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically grounded was essential in my sense of well-being. It's too easy to get carried away on what you see in social media, despite the fact that we know that most of it is unrealistic, we can still get sucked in by its propaganda.
For me, spending time in morning devotions and meditation, established the way I would handle the rest of my day. But that time wasn't meant just for me. It was a time of lifting the people I loved and cared about. Taking time out of our day to think of others instead of wrapping our minds in our own woes and tribulation can help keep us grounded. It reminds us that we aren't alone. It allows our mind to shift our focus off of ourselves and onto others.
So, if you’re noticing yourself needing some social media space, don’t feel ashamed. It’s a healthy mental break that may get you to start being productive again. It isn’t like the internet is going anywhere. See you soon.