I know I shouldn’t, but I do it anyway. I have to know what’s going on. What if I miss something really important? What’s happening isn’t right, it isn’t fair! I’m in disbelief.
“I feel compelled to look,” I said. “I can’t help myself.”
“That sounds like an addiction,” he stated matter-of-factly.
—My world stopped!—- Sadly, a part of me knew right then and there that he was right and immediately I knew what needed to be done. The short term solution? A detox of sorts. But me? Needing detox? Nah, couldn’t be, but… I think so.
Admitting an addiction is nothing short of pride-swallowing and writing it down, even more so. God forbid I come across as weak and incapable of controlling myself. I mean, what would people think? Should I care? Maybe?! But not really. What really matters is what I think and that’s the whole problem. Once again, as of late, I’m not super happy with my own behaviour. Disappointing others is one thing to deal with, but disappointing myself is always a tough one. After all, I have to live with me and I have an innate tendency to re-live my personal disappointments over and over, but I’ve done it before and I’m pretty sure history dictates that I’ll do it again. I guess my own predictability factor in that regard is somewhat comforting if nothing else. Well, that’s what I’m telling myself anyway.
So, what’s up with the shroud of secrecy up to this point? As I alluded to before, thinking or talking about my faults is one thing whereas writing about them takes it to a whole other level; it’s equivalent to that jumping off point wherein you know that there is no turning back. Isn’t it funny though how many of us often think that we are managing to keep something from others (sometimes even ourselves) and yet, the truth of our being is already out there for others to pick up on whether or not we realize it? That’s why friends and family, even strangers, seem to know things before we do; usually a product of us not feeling ready to disclose or more accurately, ready to accept our own truth for fear of looking vulnerable or appearing less than perfect to others. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, no one is really hiding anything from anyone because it is my belief that we all share a connectedness, an energy that cannot be denied despite our efforts to the contrary. In this particular instance for example, even through a screen, I’m guessing that a good many of you have already clued into the fact that my demon to conquer is internet related, and you would be right. Specifically, I’m referring to my recent obsession with social media. See… you probably knew that because I already put my truth out there in the universe and intuitively, you picked up on it. Of course, my picture caption was a bit of a giveaway and maybe, just maybe this same issue hits close to home for you which may have heightened your own radar.
Since recovering from surgery at home this past year, the amount of time that I have been spending on various media sites has been slowly creeping upward, as of late especially. Given that WordPress is obviously a form of social media, I suppose you could lump it in with my usage on my other accounts. In saying that, I’m not sure that I would put it in the exact same category as the others because writing has been a healthy outlet for me over the past few months and I feel that that is a good thing. However, the line has become much more blurred on other platforms and I can feel it. I can feel the emotional toll that it is taking on me… I’m too involved. I’m having difficulty walking away. And, the worst of it is that I am overindulging in something that is ultimately counterproductive. I get it. It’s just hard to stop. Addiction? Yes, the ‘not being able to stop’ would classify my behaviour as such, wouldn’t it? Gees, it even sounds icky when I put it that way, but I best own it if I’m going to do something about it.
My justification has been that there is good reason behind my following of certain news and group feeds. And there is. For all of us. Around every corner, one media outlet or another has as much coronavirus coverage, each with their own slant, ready for the taking. Let’s face it, the pandemic is very pertinent information given our present circumstances–just how pertinent is the question. I guess I’ve been ‘taking’ more than my fair share. While our household cut out TV news a long time ago (I’ve always strayed from its negative influence), our phones have remained conveniently handy devices with all of the same kinds of angles, likely more. I’ve been bad lately at cutting myself off. On top of the latest virus counts, etc. which I try to stay away from, add in all of the ludicrous decision-making from our government over the past while (more ludicrous than usual) and it’s been a bit disastrous really. As in, Ahh!!! I just want to scream! For the record, my issue is that I *don’t* like being toyed with and I certainly dislike when the powers that be are making shudder-worthy, irresponsible decisions that will end up affecting my personal welfare and the welfare of my fellow human beings, including family and friends for a long time to come. Thus, the tricky part in my social media detoxification comes in drawing the line between staying up-to-date while also staying out of the fear-mongering, incessant mixed messages and flat-out stupidity. (Let me clarify that while I am not AT ALL a fan of the word ‘stupid’, it is more than warranted in this case believe you me.)
So, what do I do? Well, to begin with, I’ve decided that I need to get back to living my life. My in-person life. Maybe you’ve noticed that I haven’t posted as much lately or done as much reading of my ‘jibberjabber’ folks as I would normally. I knew and have newly discovered that virtual living isn’t where it’s at for me and while it can be nice in small, purposeful quantities, I want out of the rest of the nonsense as much as possible. Is it reasonable to enjoy writing and sharing thoughts on WordPress? Absolutely. Is it a good idea to keep in touch with distant family and friends who are aplenty at the moment? Definitely. Can it be a good thing to look at funny memes, pictures of fluffy kitties and vibrantly, blooming flowers? Sure, why not to a certain extent. I mean, it could even be considered unrealistic in this day and age to not do some Instagramming, Facebooking, You-Tubing and the like, while also scrolling through the latest on COVID-19. For that matter, virus protocols have even necessitated more of a virtual presence from us. For example, I’ve never placed so many online shopping orders in my life due to store closures, curbside pick-up, etc. Hello Amazon Prime and the like! Kind of neat and exciting in some ways, but could also very easily become a problem in and of itself. Thankfully I’m too cheap to go crazy on that front. Separate from ‘checking in’, responding to and sharing in things on social media, there is no need for me to be spending excess time reading through people’s comments and all of the different viewpoints every single time that something personally relevant is posted on my group feeds however. While I agree with much of what is being said and value various perspectives, complaining about things, speculating and/or ranting is unproductive. I may not have a choice in the decision-making processes of the powers that be, but I do have a choice in how I respond to it and right now, I’m not doing a very good job in choosing. I can and will get better though.
Thankfully, to further my own ‘recovery’ efforts, the weather here has finally smartened up and lent itself to being able to spend more time outside, including lake time. 🙂 Conveniently, our lake lot has terrible internet service and it is exactly what I have needed the past few days so much so that I plan on going back for more of that kind of time this very weekend. My time away, unplugged, was refreshing and oddly empowering in being able to move away from Pavlov’s pings and dings and constant notifications which I have now shut off and/or changed the settings for. I don’t want to live a life of being tied to my phone–a concern that I bet has crossed a lot of other people’s minds if not before, now without a doubt. The very reason that I didn’t get an iPhone until long after their debut on the market was that I saw how entranced my friends were with their devices and the whole idea of not communicating in person or over the telephone was pointless to me. My thinking was that if I’m reaching out to you, I want a conversation, not a tidbit left here and there or the promise of an answer whenever it’s convenient, so to speak.
Admittedly, my thoughts changed when my husband bought a phone for me as a wedding present. According to him and many others, I had to get up to speed in the world of texting at minimum and I was ‘falling behind’. I was and am grateful for the gift and its use since, but as I saw back then, there has to be a balance. At least I have the wherewithal to recognize that I am presently unbalanced. That gift of self-awareness means that I can do something about it which is key. I’m also aware that my greatest fault lies in multi-tasking with my phone by my side wherein notifications and messages can be easily seen/heard. Unnecessary. Plain and simple. From now on, I need to devote my attention to ONE thing, or person, at a time and avoid distractions from my phone or anything else for that matter–granted, we do not have children. Parents, it is a given that you are constantly multi-tasking, bless your hearts!
The takeaway? In having next-to-no service whilst camping over the last few days, I’ve learned, or shall I say re-learned, that it is not only possible to unplug from technology, it’s necessary and unexpectedly rejuvenating in so many ways. It’s just that you have to actually DECIDE to walk away and when you do, I promise that the world will not fall off of its axis. My world more than managed to stay in tact and if anything, I felt as though my very essence, my being, grew exponentially in just a few short days. If phone use is mandatory (i.e. work), which soon might be the case for myself, then I will have to consciously set limits–self-imposed, healthy limits. I/WE DO NOT NEED TO BE AT EVERYONE’S BECK AND CALL, INCLUDING THAT OF OUR EMPLOYERS. We are NOT that important, that indispensable and if someone thinks we are, perhaps we ought to examine that relationship, work or otherwise. We need to determine for ourselves if/when we have crossed that boundary between a life lived behind a screen versus life lived outside of that. *WE* get to choose when it’s too much of one and not the other. I, personally, am choosing real life. Never thought I’d have to say that, but the planet is a different place these days and I/we need to be ready to change with it WITHOUT compromising my/our authentic self/selves. I see that now.