So, that was a fun blogging break… Unexpected and spontaneous, but that’s nothing out of the ordinary whe it comes to my blogging, let’s be honest. Truly, I’ve just not felt like writing recently, besides I’ve had very little to talk about, and even less that I want to talk about. I could have rolled off a couple of generic, shitty posts about cats, creepy psychopaths on the british public transport system, or whatever else, but if my heart isn’t truly in it, I know you can tell.
Over the last couple of weeks, I think, finally, that I’ve got it — I think I understand now.
“What though, L? what do you understand?”
Summing it up in a word, a phrase — even a sentence — is near enough impossible, and as I’m a boy-of-many-words (and no spelling ability), I’m going to describe it instead.
Let me start with an example: in the past, when I was on my phone (or when I had my phone in the near vicinity), I would immediately look at every single notification that made its way to my phone’s lock screen. If it was a twitter mention, I would instantly like and reply; if it was a text message, I’d immediately respond; if it was a game notification, i’d open up the app straight away, and do whatever it was that the notification was prompting me to do. There was no: “I’ll have a look in a moment”, or even: “ah, it’s only” (app name) “so I’ll look properly after I’ve finished this”. everything had to be instant, but why?
I think, honestly, it was a combination of the fear of coming across as rude, and the need to be doing everything and being everywhere all at once. I used to be terrified that, if I didn’t reply to a text message immediately, the sender would decide that I was rude, or that I was ignoring them, and they’d consequently see me as a bad friend, and not worth their time or attention. At the same time, I had a childish phobia of not knowing — FOMO, if you like (fear of missing out). If there was a breaking news story, I had to read about it — I HAD to be in the know. If there was a Twitter conversation going on between three other people, I had to be on top of it, knowing exactly what was happening, who was being reasonable, who was being funny, you know?
Recently though, I’ve noticed a change. Not only have I noticed it — I’ve embraced it. I’m not too sure how it started, or why it happened in the first place, but I couldn’t be more grateful for it. For the sake of consistency, let’s use another example, to demonstrate the differences in my behaviour as of late.
On Friday evening, I was out in town — L, the social butterfly, at your service. I had my phone on mute, as I so often do, but noticed that I had received a text message; my iPhone still vibrates on silent. At the time, I was in costa Coffee — a popular british coffee shop chain — with one other person. Of course, I wouldn’t have checked it there and then, but then the other person went to the toilet.
And I didn’t check my phone.
It wasn’t an intentional, purposeful: “I must not look at my phone”; it was more subconscious than that. I knew I had a text message from someone, although of course I didn’t know who it was. I wasn’t, however, desperate to read it, desperate not to seem rude or impolite. I didn’t end up checking it until around 9pm that night — 3.5 hours after I’d noticed its arrival.
Then, on Saturday morning, someone else sent me a text, which I had to speak to someone else about before replying. I knew that it wouldn’t be long before I spoke to that person — maybe an hour or two at most –, and so I left the text, and waited to reply. It sounds uneventful, I know, but for me, this is huge.
Somewhere in my mind, I wonder if this is something to do with my lowering anxiety levels: I’ve noticed that lately, I’ve been just slightly less stress about things. I was asked to read something out in front of the class on Friday, with only about 30 minutes of warning; it was a piece of my work which I’d completed for homework. Usually, I’d be FREAKING OUT right up to the moment of the reading, but on Friday, I was calm. I don’t mean relatively calm — I mean, calm.
It was oddly refreshing, but I liked it.
Maybe, then, that is why my obsession with being socially active 24/7 is slowly declining, morphing into what could probably be called a healthy relationship between me and the online world. Perhaps,my anxious, overactive brain has been stimulating this whole FOMO online… I suppose that would make sense.
As unrelated as it may seem, I’m noticing improvements in other areas, too. I’ve gone back to reading a lot more, a habbit which I’d put on the backburner pretty much since starting secondary school three-and-a-half years ago. Thinking about it is making me smile: I’d forgotten, until recently, how relaxing and immersive reading a book can be, if you allow yourself to slip into that state.
Finally, I’ve been finding it easier to think. I don’t mean generally, but more independent thought. In past times, I used to envy those who were able to sit for 30 mins, and just think and reflect, without any other distraction. Now, though, that’s me. I don’t even notice time passing, sometimes — it just flows by, whilst I lose myself in thought, and only begins to become meaningful once again when I gently return to a form of reality. It’s so relaxing.
I guess this post is more of an update. It makes me so happy, being able to write this, and I hope you’ve gained something from reading this. If nothing else, know that it’s possible to have a balanced, happy life and use social media too: you don’t need to quit Facebook or whatever to be happy.