Me again, back so soon. This has been one of the most beautiful parts about doing without social—the energy to write, and write, and write is so present.
I met up with an old friend from high school today and we got to talking on all this. (He's actually made a substantial body of work on the themes of social media and identity, and so I couldn't have been sitting across the table from a better person.)
I shared with him that, where I once would have poured a micro-desire to create into the generation of an Instagram story, I've now a notepad full of notes on my phone of topics I want to explore through writing, in a far less ephemeral way. It's been interesting. To see a deeper form of creativity bound back so quickly after stopping up the drain where it was all leaking from is inspiring. It suggests to me how much potential there is within the mind for the creation of important work.
That's not to say, of course, that every random note in my phone is going to evolve into "important work." Of course not. But I do know that out of the bundle there is some ten per cent that is going to spin to a form of gold. I know this because I've already begun to see it weave into action. One idea I pitched to an outlet I've loved and admired for a long time, and yet haven't personally contributed to in years due to being too busy.
"Too busy." Right. This is probably the point where I should mention numbers to paint a more vivid picture. So, here it is: my screen time went from 4/5/6 hours each day to 1 hour after pressing pause on Instagram. That is sizeable. In that ~4 hour difference there comes the opportunity for a lot. Like, the opportunity to write a whole book that may live on for decades. Or, the opportunity to build a business that may serve for decades. Or, the opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones, or yourself.
I know this is not shocking news. Hell, my mentors have been saying this to me for years. And, yet, still I found myself in this place of forking over roughly 35 hours per week to IG, which is 1820 hours per year—the equivalent of 2.5 months per year. Scary stuff.
A large part of what snapped me out of this, aside from that which I discussed in the last post, was thinking about how short life is. I do this a lot because it works. I'm on the brink of 27. Women, on average, live until 81. That means I am roughly one third through my life. That's enough to make one stop and think.
Are you thinking right now about your age? The average life expectancy of your gender? Are you thinking about how you want to spend the rest of your years? What's coming to mind?
I'm not here to judge. Some people do, in fact, want to spend their time on their phones. If that's you, if that's what lights you up, by all means. I just know, for myself, that the universe presented to me through my cell, through Instagram, doesn't feel all that nourishing. In fact, right now I feel downright malnourished and desperate to stay out here on my balcony—where, I can't not add, that I'm currently watching the sun stripe through the sky as it sinks and prepares for rest. The moon is already out. I love it when that happens, when you can see both hanging out up there together. Even if just for a little while. It's like we're catching a glimpse at the oldest friendship that's ever existed.
Anyway, I want to acknowledge that I will not be on here just writing about spending time off social from now on. That would be a bit silly and defeat at least a part of the purpose. For now though, I'm detoxing, I guess you could say. And when that happens, you tend to think of the toxin a lot, until eventually your mind clears out and welcomes in fresh thoughts. I can't wait to get there.
Until then, I will be working on a piece for the previously mentioned outlet that personifies time. I'm titling it The Lost Hours: On Social Media As Warden. Or, something like that. It's fun to fall back into the land of metaphor, twist it up with the real world. Ah, writing. I love it so much.
On that note, that's it from me, my loves. I am so hungry and the mosquitos are coming out, eeep.