A blog post that’s probably not going to change your life. But for me, it changes everything.
There’s a lot of noise out there. Even as I sit here contemplating what I am going to write, I think about how many other people are spilling their thoughts into Medium blog posts, how many people are pointing a camera at themselves and uploading it to YouTube — people that my 12 year old brother might watch later today on his phone — how many people are working an angle to get there message out there and capture people’s attention. It’s exhausting and overwhelming just thinking about it.
I spend hardly anytime on YouTube browsing through the millions upon millions of videos, because I think most of it is a waste and a distraction from the actual life in front of you. I don’t use social media a whole lot for the same reasons. It’s kind of like how some aspiring actors get to thinking: wow, there are a lot of us out there… does the world need another one?
No, it doesn’t. The world doesn’t need your thoughts. It doesn’t require you to pour yourself out for its entertainment. I’m sure a lot of you know about the viral filmmaker Casey Neistat. Well, in a recent commercial for Samsung, I believe, Casey makes the case that it is these creators, these makers, the ones willing to pour their souls into their craft, who are moving the world forward and keeping the creative engine of humanity humming.
I don’t know. I don’t know how much of this, how much any of this is truly essential. I know I’m bordering on a very nihilistic attitude here and already I’m sure some readers are thinking, “who the fuck is this guy shitting all over creatives just because he’s too preoccupied with his own world to engage and get in the game?”
Hey, I hear you. I haven’t had much skin in the game up to this point. Every time I justify or rationalize my reasons for staying off of meaningless social media or shunning my phone and the idea of recording and documenting myself and my life, I preserve my safe little world where my thoughts are my own and no one can challenge them.
It’s safe. It’s definitely easier.
Engaging with the world and putting yourself out there, whether online or in person, is exhausting. It’s a lot of work and a lot of times not a lot of (apparent) reward. Much better to take the “high road” and stay away from the dirty affairs of people’s base thoughts and preach the moral dangers of technology. I don’t waste time on Twitter, or IG, or YouTube, or Snapchat. I’m “present”. I’m in the “real world”. Check out and check in, man.
It’s a convenient scapegoat for what really amounts to simply my own insecurities and difficulties sustaining the every day interactions of people. The thing is, it’s quite convincing. We’re, of course, becoming so aware of our dependency on technology and our consumption of it — scratch that, its consumption of us — that it’s become quite trendy to eschew the huge beast that is social media and the over-consumption of it.
Part of me would really love it if I just left it at that, turned a blind eye, and lived in my ignorant bliss. As the comedian John Mulaney said, it’s so much easier to do nothing, that it’s a wonder that anybody does anything: “In terms of like, instant relief, cancelling plans is like heroin. Such instant joy.” Isn’t it easier to just stay in and watch a season of Friends on Netflix than go out and engage with the world? Oh wait, I’m contradicting myself here — I don’t do technology. Sorry, it’s just so hard to find the real world Joey, Chandler, Ross, Mon, Phoebe, and Rachel! I can’t help it!
Of course, being a social hermit has its advantages — for a time. But the under belly and long term consequences of it are dangerous and insidious, as the effects largely go unnoticed. The more we seek out only those things that affirm our own inner worlds, the more our outer world shrinks. In fact, you do so well at surrounding yourself with people and experiences that affirm your beliefs about the world that you think you’re simply doing better at life. However, all the while your world continues to shrink. It shrinks and shrinks, and eventually suffocates you in the vacuum of your own perfect little world.
Wow, sorry. That’s dark. But it’s true. I should know, I’ve operated that way most of my life. I’ve been the extremely outgoing and gregarious hermit that seems to be on the periphery of everything but always far enough away from the center that I can bolt to the next thing when the going gets tough.
That procedure — that way of moving through the world — definitely seemed to serve me well. But it feels ever so increasingly claustrophobic. No, that world, as cozy as it is, needs to collapse — before it collapses me.
So, how do I reconcile this need to reengage with the world with the insecurity of feeling like just another actor in a world with more than enough actors? How do I post this when part of me feels like it will just be more noise in a world with constant static in the background?
This writing isn’t for the Medium stockpile. It’s not another post in a sea of posts. It’s not another call for attention or an attempt to change any one’s mind. I can’t cut through all the noise out there.
This post is for me. This has been an incredible opportunity for me to get to know myself better and possibly to cut through my own noise — my own bullshit. Is that selfish? Is that self serving? You bet. I’m not going to pretend that I’m doing this because of some altruistic mission. I’m not gonna lie to you. I’m going to speak my truth. And guess what?
A lot of you might not like it. Oh well.
I’ve spent most of life trying to please other people — which is to say, I’ve spent most of my life hiding — to the detriment of both myself and others.
So, how altruistic is that, really?
[Think of something warm and fuzzy to end this post]
Nope, I got nothing.