Connecting back to what really matters

Friday, May 26, 2017

It has been brought to my attention lately that I have been living and breathing the Internet. And yes, maybe I do have been spending the majority of my time scrolling through feeds of various social media, endlessly checking out every page of my liking, and reading countless of (in)significant articles just so I could be up to date. Apparently, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is real...well, at least for me.

I've realized that while I was busy tinkering through the web space updating myself with other people's lives, I was missing out on real life. I stopped reading, I stopped writing in my bullet journal, I even stopped updating this space.

Have you ever felt so restless that you just couldn't help but do other things instead of doing the stuff you are supposed to do? I don't know if you'd understand as I sometimes don't understand myself too. Some days I'm driven as hell, some days I'm as blank as a fresh sheet of paper, and I really get frustrated at myself. I know I have a lot to accomplish, but then I'd be just lounging around not doing anything productive to make those accomplishments come to life. I have this constant battle between myself and time. I become paranoid sometimes. I don't know, it's difficult to explain.

Some weeks before, I had a lunch date with Ate Ayeesha of ayeeshadicali.com. We talked for hours while enjoying the ambiance of a newly opened cafe here in Iligan City. What struck me the most out of all the things we've conversed with was her taking a break from social media. I've read tons of articles and blog posts about people doing this so called social media diet but hearing about it first hand from someone who was struggling to grasp the tangible life, that was the moment that really made me understand what being an internet addict really meant. What being a social media dependent had imposed in my life and how it was taking a toll on me every day. As I was listening to her talk, I realized I was facing the same battle as she is and I needed to have a break, too, and fast.

Social media is toxic.

That was the impression I was left with, and I cannot stress it enough. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube - all of these are no exception of how sometimes it gives me negativity, insecurity, and just plain BS (forgive my language). In the words of Ate Ayeesha, social media has contributed to my anxiety and feeling of worthlessness, I was filled with self-doubt and it just stressed me out big time. Seeing and reading about how people seemingly have these perfect lives makes me question myself if what I'm doing with my own life right now is enough. How could I not be like them at this age of 23? Career-wise, money-wise, life-wise(?) lol.

It was only then that I noticed how my mental state has changed a lot ever since I was immersed fully in the world of social media. It was draining my (mental) health and I didn't know it was an issue until I heard what Ate Ayee was saying. When I went home that day, I immediately read her blog post and I found myself nodding as I read paragraph after paragraph. Though some of the things she was experiencing were different than what I'm experiencing (and vice versa), just the very thought about how social media has been affecting our lives negatively is what really spoke to me.


I have been slowly taking control of my time since I had these realizations. Just yesterday, I spent my day reading and finishing a book (goodbye reading slump!), having fun with my friends, and just living in the moment. Although I haven't shut out social media entirely from my life (as my job involves using it and hello, millennial problems are real, haha!), I am proud to say that the time I spent using it has noticeably decreased than the last few weeks/days.

The process is tough as I was so used to beginning and ending my day facing my phone doing just about everything it could offer. Now, I try as much as possible to put my phone away before I go to sleep. No more late night scrolling down feeds, no more staying up till dawn to finish a KDrama (annyeong, oppa), no more late night playing game after mobile game (goodbye Sims and Sniper 3D). Also, more time for reading books, for talking with actual people, for scribbling down notes on my planner, for thinking about what to blog next, and for doing important things like cleaning my room(?). And lastly, less stress!

This experiment has been very timely as you are aware that Mindanao, specifically Marawi City, is in shambles right now. With the MAUTE group threatening the peace and quiet of our island and with the President's declaration of Martial Law on the whole island of Mindanao, dozens upon dozens of these seemingly "politically correct" individual have been throwing shade in every social media outlet.

Twitter, Facebook, and sometimes even in Instagram, you name it, these people have been relentless in sharing their opinions about what's happening in my home. I didn't want to rant my feelings here but some people are just plain STUPID that I can barely contain myself. People who are not living, have not lived, and who know next to nothing about Mindanao has the least amount of right to speak about their thoughts. (#triggeredt)

Here's my piece of cake: I live an hour away from Marawi City and yes, it is very alarming that these lawless men might invade the city I'm in, too (God I hope they don't) and that is why I am very thankful that quick action has been placed for the safety of the Mindanaoan people. Checkpoints and military troupes have been put in place for security, curfew hours have been strictly implemented, civilians have been highly encouraged to stay home, policemen can be seen in almost every corner of the city, and you know what? These things are OKAY. If it means I have to compromise and follow the strict rules to protect the security of my home, I'm all hands for it. Is Mindanao really okay now? Not yet, but being under the Martial Law has made me feel safer, made me feel that my city is safer. Knowing that there are men who will be on alert if ever the bad guys come running downhill gives us civilians the chance to be prepared.

Okay, my rant has been long enough. My point is that these feelings of being triggered, being stressed, being annoyed because of having read these irrelevant people's nonsense talk on social media has put me on edge, lately. And that is why my taking a break from the cyber world and connecting back to what really matters has been the best thing I've pushed myself to do. I still have a long way to go, I know that. But at least now, I know I can do it. I can live without social media. I can go on through the day without checking on Facebook (still working on my Twitter and Instagram addiction). And I can go through the day without opening my laptop (though I still can't live without my phone).

I won't deny the fact that the internet has been and always will be a part of my life now and onwards. But I will now promise to give myself more time to just be without being too addicted to it. So yeah, here's to a life lived fully, then. Talk later!

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