Two weeks has already passed since I ended my longest hiatus (40 days) from social media. Now that I’m back on the regular rounds of status, 3 x 3 grid, and more or less 140 characters to express my thoughts, I found myself thinking back to the time when I shut it off.
During the first week of my absence, my friends were wondering, Why did you disconnect? Are you deactivated? Why the need?
Well, because I was fed up. I was overwhelmed with all these things that a screen can present for hours without an end. The internet became a labyrinth that I didn’t know how to get out off. It was eating me up, and I was already beginning to feel lost. On the deeper side of things, I found myself questioning my own posts; do the things I post online still reflect a real version of me? Is there still authenticity?
I might be another bad case of being an over thinker, but it still bothered me.
It’s not that I’m putting a fake life for people to see, it’s just that my posts were starting to go through so many filters. I was glued to my phone most of the time, I look at a spot and think if it is instagrammable enough, I have conversations with people that only left me thinking if it will get likes if I post it. Being online 24/7 was a clear sign that I needed to be away from all these hullaballoos. So I did.
The first few weeks were difficult. There were times that I found myself wanting so much to log in, just because…I want to (hahaha). On the 21st day, I was starting to rationalize that it was enough. But then, giving up on that day would defeat the purpose of why I even started. I haven’t fully reclaimed my identity yet, so I ended up extending it to a maximum of 40 days.
Time began to slow down. I realized that when we free ourselves form the distractions of social media, there is actually more hours that we can focus on doing what is essential to us. Inspiration abound in every corner, and action can finally take its place. Before, I was intimidated and jealous of the artistic creations that are being posted on Instagram, it made me think that I’ll never be good as them; not knowing that endless scrolling robbed me of time to practice my craft. I was pressured to pursue stuff, just because I was blinded by what others are having, or what others have achieved. Social media can spark an endless game of comparison.
That’s why, being away did me good. It gave me time to reconnect with people, to talk with them with intention, to value real-time relationships not bounded in likes or comments only. It was also a time of allowing God to open my heart once again. I let my soul breathe out of its constricted space (more of this later). I’m writing this not out of boastfulness to say that I manages to live without these icons on my phone for a while, but instead this is a reminder that real life happens outside of our screens.
The real challenge for me now is to keep this lifestyle as I go back to these socializing world. There’s the need to find balance of staying offline when needed. To know that not every moment needs to be captured and shared – you just have to live it.
P.S. This article by Hannah Brencher and blog post by Rhonda Mason is very much on point as well.