In our generation, disconnecting from social media sites is comparable to being nonexistent.
Right now, I’m alive and perfectly content being disconnected, thankyouverymuch.
After my birthday, I purposely deleted Instagram (my go-to for mindless scrolling) and Facebook from my phone – and blocked the sites on my laptop as well. [Happy birthday to you, delete-delete!]
I attempted to go off the grid earlier in the year, but much to my dismay, Melbourne kick-started my relationship with social media (damn you, amazing Melbourne – practically the capital of all things holy in Australia).
How pathetic do I sound with that struggle? Very.
Okay, maybe I wasn’t that bad. It may sound a bit extreme to just cut myself off (especially while traveling), but the people I want to know my whereabouts will always know. Others – well, I decided I don’t want my life as an open book anymore, except for what I choose to write about here.
The truth is, I’ve noticed a dramatic decline in my emotional well-being and mood
sometimes always after scrolling newsfeeds. It’s gotten to the point where I just get frustrated over the stupidity of people, the logic behind certain posts, or struggles over how to continue living outside America. I remember my biggest struggle earlier in the year was comparing my journey to others – feeling like a failure because I didn’t see certain things, because I didn’t stay in X location longer, because I didn’t know what the heck I was doing with my life (note: I still don’t, and for the first time ever, I don’t care anymore – I’m just letting life happen as it’s meant to).
I needed to regain focus on my life – and my own decisions – once and for all.
I’m cutting myself off because I’ve gained absolutely nothing from learning about who got engaged recently, who was complaining publicly yet again (I’ve determined that Americans do this far more often than Kiwis and Aussies), who had another baby, etc. Everyone who posts new photos and statuses want to share them with their network, yes – me included.
But why? WHY do we need instant gratification? Has society become that shallow? Ten years from now, will you remember the places and faces you’ve seen, or how many likes you received on that one Instagram photo?
The longer I’ve been away from my comfort zone, the more distant and disconnected I feel from everyone – and everything – I left behind. I had a reason for leaving, and the changes I’m experiencing only grow stronger by the day. The feeling of not touching my phone for hours on end may seem absurd, but it’s so liberating. And while I happen to be lucky that I don’t need my phone for anything except the camera (although my GoPro is now my go-to), everyone has the willpower to truly disconnect if they really want to.
I have absolutely no idea what my “social network” is up to, and frankly, it’s not my concern anymore. It’s a beautiful feeling. I don’t want to seem ignorant – I just want to be me, digitally unclipped from everything. When I turned 24, I felt that desire to change. I wanted to be happy in my own life, not knowing or constantly comparing mine to that of others.
Rather than preoccupy myself with others’ lives, I’ve replaced the black holes of Instagram and Facebook with Feedly (thanks, Jannae!). Feedly is an absolutely amazing site that allows you to group all of your favorite [worthwhile] sites together in one spot. Now, it’s just news and travel articles every day (and the occasional BuzzFeed article – for the laughs). Boom, that’s all I need.
There was life before social media – and there certainly will be life after it, whether you use it or not. It’s really not the end of the world if you don’t have a smartphone or social media accounts. Because at the end of each day, guess what? This is your life – and your life should never be defined by a piece of technology, for crying out loud. If you’re not living in the moment, experiencing things firsthand rather than through a stupid screen (be it a phone, laptop, tablet, or TV), then that’s your decision. And all the facts support how dangerous and time-wasting these sites have become.
I remember my first experience of “letting go” of social media when I was phoneless for 1.5 weeks upon my arrival in New Zealand last year. It was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. From there, I learned that it seriously doesn’t matter if you check your social media accounts once a year or once a day (unless that’s your career).
So when people start speculating if I was eaten by a crocodile, am just plain ignorant, or living under a rock – well, I could really care less. I am not defined by these websites, and I certainly refuse to allow them to dictate my productivity and moods.
I’m going off the grid indefinitely for myself – for my sanity, well-being, and a new chapter in my life.