As you’ve seen, I haven’t written many blogs in recent months. Most of it is because I don’t know what to write. I’ve been writing my new novel ‘Calmer Suits Her,’ and besides that, I haven’t felt very inspirational or a solid single parent. And the real reason, is that I have dissolved my life into voyeuristically seeing what everyone else is doing to keep themselves happy. It hasn’t mattered if it’s people I know, people I don’t know, celebrities or people with a cause. And in recent months, it’s all become a haze… I actually haven’t been looking at what these people are actually doing, just hypnotically, almost automatically, just going to different people’s pages for absolutely no reason at all. I don’t even recall what anyone has said, or did, or bitched about. If something did resonate with me, it was usually seeing someone’s holiday pics, happy that they are doing a trip of a lifetime, but at the same time pangs of jealousy overcame me with my inner desire wanting to escape the normality of life.
And to make things worse, are all those inspirational quotes out there tell you that ‘you deserve better’ or ‘you are the beginning of whoever you want to be’, ‘the dream can only come if you take the first step’… whatever it is… you start to believe that even if you are doing something right, none of what you are doing is good enough.
But under it all, how many people are we seeing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc portraying the ‘happy’ lifestyle, or putting on a show to tell their friends or fans (or anyone seeing their public profile) that life is great, but in reality, they go to bed crying every night, or fighting with their partner, or dealing with real life problems like illness, drug issues, mental health issues, loss of job, death or the day to day concerns of parenting?
Through it all, how much of this voyeuristic social media watching is pleasurable? And how much of it is upsetting us in one form or another? I would say ninety percent would be upsetting us… if it’s people we know not including us in a social gathering, wishing we were on the other side of the world because we miss our family/friends over there, someone chucking a hissy fit about being treated badly, someone accusing someone else, not getting enough likes for something you thought people would like, some unfriending happening or even blocking, someone not accepting a friend request, someone dragging the mood down with awareness of domestic violence, cancer, sick children, war, etc… Is it all killing our vitality because we are too busy looking at what everyone else is doing and not living our own lives?
And I’m guilty… guilty of all the looking. Guilty of wondering why I’m not fitting in. Guilty of caring too much about innocent children in war zones and helping with my meagre donation each month. Guilty of being upset by people who unfriend me and reading into it more than there really is. Guilty of doing the same to others. Guilty of contributing with comments or a ‘like’ when someone has a strong opinion to make. And I’m also guilty of not living my life because of all of it…
So I take a stance… I haven’t actively looked at my Facebook page for almost a week now and I really have no urge to do so. I haven’t posted a pic to Instagram for a few weeks. I delete all emails that aren’t work or children related. I don’t do Google searches on anything that isn’t research for my book, work or my kids. I haven’t got my phone stuck to my hip all day every day. I don’t even care too much what the news has to offer… And in reality, ignorance is bliss, because you can get on with what needs to be done. You go out and enjoy the weather and the people that you love. You focus on work and get things done quicker. And, my God, you sleep so much better. The latest thing that’s become a comical phrase I say to my kids is “get off your phone!” Just so that we can listen to music, have a conversation, take in the world, look after each other and be the family we need to be.
And in the end, you feel more positive about yourself again. You’re not undermining yourself anymore because of what everyone else is doing or saying. And things start to feel right again… you stop questioning yourself, you stop feeling guilty for seeing something you weren’t supposed to see and you make time for the important things in your life.
Life doesn’t need to be documented and shared to appreciate all the good you already have. Life only needs to be documented and shared if it’s for the good of others appreciating it. And the best way to do that, is in person…