Digital Minimalism Part 1: a Sisyphus moment
It has now been exactly 8 months and 5 days since I deleted most of my life on social media. Yes, I am a person who actually went through the 2-week process of deleting my Facebook page, and then Twitter, and Instagram, even SoundCloud.
Ironically, I did all of this 4 days before one of the most historically significant…and horrifying elections in my lifetime and so accidentally saved myself further insanity in having to relive the beginning of a twilight zone reality where villains become president. Despite my initial anxiety about this digital de-cluttering, I was able to maintain a regular life without the constant scrolling, clicking, liking, commenting, checking and digital stalking that consumed much of my daily life for over 10 years.
I realized very quickly that I didn’t miss it. Now, this had much to do with an existentialist crisis that forced me to re-evaluate my entire life, get rid of most of the things I owned, and move back to home to NC while I figured life out again. I needed to reduce any and all external stress triggers just in order to breath when it felt like I’d just discovered I had gills.
Three things I learned after going mostly off the grid:
1. I still get all the relevant information I need.
One of my friends sent me a screenshot of Facebook a few weeks ago reminding me that planning for our 10-year high school reunion is coming up ( yay…). I also find out about the same time everyone else does every time there is something dubbed worthy of panic in the world of politics.
2. I have yet to miss an event or a birthday for someone who truly matters in my life.
This is because I realized that my authentic connections were multidimensional and required much more than a Facebook happy birthday to sustain. The social separation helped me to take stock of what relationships were flourishing, which were superfluous and most importantly, which relationships I was neglecting and needed to water immediately before they started to decay.
What about those essential career make-or-break accounts? Welp, it turns out, the technology I use to keep professional connections strong do not rely on social media. This doesn’t mean they aren’t digital though, apps such as GroupMe, Slack, and Glide help me to keep in touch and don’t distract from my well being.
3. I must at all times keep balance in my journey towards well-being.
Just because I decided to strip down my social self, doesn’t mean that it must completely die. It is essential that I continue to think mindfully about what sites, mediums, and technological investments help me remain grounded, connected without being overwhelmed by data, FOMO or guilt.
I made some pretty rapid, necessary changes to live fully as the person I authentically am and desire to be in the world. It was confusing to some, insulting and hurtful to others, but for those few who truly know my spirit, it was commended and welcomed with a pretty colossal; well it’s about time!
I quit social media because I no longer understood where it fit into my life. I no longer identified with the public life I was presenting and more importantly, I was uncomfortable with the many ways this portrait could be perceived. I needed to step away to meditate and evaluate before entering this realm again.
I am happy to say I’ve slowing began to create a social version of myself that reflects my continuously growing, always evolving self. My self-care practice involves a weekly evaluation of how these platforms, connections, and applications are influencing my energy level, opportunities, and state of mind and as a journey onward in this minimal lifestyle, I am thrilled with the potential of an abundant life.