I went to grab my phone, but I couldn’t juggle it and hold the bike handles. I wanted to capture and share this moment. It was happiness. The sun was shining, the weather was perfect, and my heart was full. This would be so much fun to post to snapchat I thought. As I fumbled to grab my phone, I somehow was aware of just how ridiculous it all was. Why was it necessary for me to share this with everyone? Why couldn’t I just take a picture and let it be? I threw my phone back in the basket of the bike.
For the month of September I remained 90% offline. I would check Facebook and Instagram once a week. I rarely checked emails. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I felt discouraged and angry that my immediate reaction was to live my life through little squares. The constant checking of my email and continual content creation had taken its toll on me. In a month away from the internet here are four things I learned:
1. The internet is a tool. It’s not a lifestyle.
Somewhere along the way you have trained yourself to hop on the internet whenever there is a dull moment. You can’t just endure through moments without snapping a picture and feeling obligated to share it with the world. You maneuver your life to fit into little squares. You share too much, or you share too little. Regardless, you are controlled by the internet. Your motives might vary from mine, but regardless it is controlling you just as it was controlling me.
2. It feels freaking amazing just to be present.
You are distracted. There are moments within the past couple of years where I remember thinking to myself how sad my surroundings were. Both times I was either at dinner with friends and we were all on our phones or I was standing in public looking around at everyone on their phone. Scrolling. Scrolling our lives away, engaging in the conversation now and then. It was sad to me. This past month I have been 100% present. My phone stayed tucked somewhere; usually I forgot where I put it. Photos are precious, but scrolling your life away will never be something you can look back on and cherish.
3. Information overload is legit.
Videos here. Photos there. Articles everywhere. Everyone has some piece of mind they desire to share and they use the internet to do just that. I am guilty of that and I enjoy using social media to do that. However, there comes a point where you are filling your mind with stuff that just doesn’t benefit you. I started seeing the same content over and over. I would let minutes of my life tick away while I watched a video on Facebook and then couldn’t even remember why I got on there in the first place. I didn’t accomplish goals because I let distractions pull me away from really making things happen. Being informed is great, interacting with people online is awesome, but there is an issue when you are absorbing so much information and investing in online relationships, but never putting any of it to use or investing in relationships that are right in front of you.
The month of September I enjoyed a bike ride, went for a run, hung out with old friends, made new friends, traveled up to the mountains, went on a spontaneous trip to Charleston for a day, painted my bathroom, cooked yummy dinners, went to the zoo, read, watched movies, went to a craft fair, drank yummy drinks, and enjoyed beautiful weather. It was a month of change, challenge, and a full heart. I wasn’t concerned about what others were doing. That sounds selfish when I type that, but the reality is sometimes you get so sucked into sharing your life over just living it.
Maybe you need to hear this so you can put down your phone and look to your heart when it comes to the internet. What void are you trying to fill? What articles are you reading? How are you spending your time? A fulfilling life doesn’t come from scrolling through the internet looking at other’s lives but from going out and living your own.
Grateful for you,