The Art of Logging Out
Goodbye Social Media!
Since leaving home at 18, I always believed that finding my purpose in life involved a job title. As I slide past the half-mark of my twenties I have realized that a sense of purpose is not something I will find in a job description. I have been taking some time recently to understand what I need on a spiritual level. I have spent many hours engulfed in books filled with every religious concept known to man. Out of the thousands of pages that I have read, there is one philosophy that really stood out to me. I read it while reading about Ancient Egyptian beliefs and it states:
“Be diligent as long as you live, always doing more than is commanded of you.Do not misuse your time while following the heart, for it's offensive to the soul to waste one’s time. Do not lose the daily opportunity to increase what you have.”
This quote resonates with me deeply. For over four years I believed the more I worked, the higher my chances were of being successful. I thought that working was the only way to make my day purposeful, so I spent 70-80 hours a week working. I had this warped perception of having a deadline to meet so that I thought if I doubled the time I worked I would somehow get there faster. Now I look back and see the past four years of my life were a blur because of the time I wasted working jobs that I had no passion for.
Somewhere between the age of 18 and now I outgrew the dream of a 9-5 job. It just felt like that was what I should want: land the perfect job, find the right guy, have the kids and live happily after. It's the one-fits-all dream. I, like many unsatisfied t-shirt customers, have learned that one-fits-all doesn’t really work for me. The only dream I owe myself to follow is one that has been tailored for me, by me.
For many years, I have had passing thoughts about writing a book. But it has always been something I’d do “ one day”. I have attempted to include writing in my daily life. But when you are working 70-80 hours a week, it becomes little more than a small collection of unfinished pieces. As I am on this path to better understand myself I have realized I can't keep putting off my real dreams out of fear of failure.
This was solidified after I joined a writing group on Facebook. When I scrolled down the page of posts, there was one that stood out to me. It was of a man ranting about how dissatisfied he was with his life because he thought his life’s purpose was writing a book and how after many years of saying he was starting his book he was left with nothing but a series of blank pages. This can't be me
The first step I took after that was acknowledging that writing a book was a real dream of mine. The next step I knew I’d have to take was to make more time for my writing. I knew I'd have to eliminate the distractions in my life, which is why I decided to practice the art of logging out and have taken a break from social media.
I needed my free time to actually be mine. The second I post a post a wave of anxiety takes over. Is anyone going to like it? Is the one person I want going to see it? I am going in and out of the app hoping to see a notification notice. There’s an instant feeling of validation that is given to you by that little red notification icon. It feels like an exhale. Okay, I matter. It then becomes hard to disassociate your worth from your follower count or the amount of like you’re getting on a post. Next thing you know your spend hours chasing that validation
It’s like when you’re on a diet and you eat a cookie, the minute or so while you’re eating it feels amazing. Then, a few minutes later the bloating kicks in along with the guilt, and with every cookie you eat, it worsens. One cookie won’t break your diet, but you know if you continue your bad habit you won’t meet your goal. Social media is my cookie. But I refuse to look back a few months or years from now and wonder what it would be like if I had met my goal.
I know that writing a book is a big goal but it’s the one goal I have made that makes me feel most like myself. I have also taken some big steps to accomplish it. In addition to my hiatus from social media, I have also enrolled in some creative writing classes at a local community college. Also to help me stay focused, I have created a routine that involves yoga and regular exercise. I know that this journey I am about to take is going to be both frustrating and exciting, but I'm excited to find myself through new characters, plotlines, and world-building. Stay tuned!