Something that has been on my mind recently is the nature of social media to enrapture us in someone else’s story. Perhaps it was the hours spent alone and immobile, but returning to a place of health and productivity has produced some surprising changes in my perspective of the Internet.
I’ve spent a lot of time browsing the Internet and playing video games the last five years. I have no shame in it, they were two of the simplest pastimes I could have that did not exhaust my energy and made me feel like I was at least doing something rather than simply sitting and resting. While I learned a lot and grew in my creativity during that time, there were also several hours spent observing the lives of others—all of which made me wish I could travel, shop, and eat differently than I did.
I wouldn’t call it jealousy (though there were times it was hard to see because of the isolation and illness I was experiencing), but I definitely spent a lot of time watching other people’s lives and imagining what I could do if I had that chance.
It struck me one day how odd this was. I was watching someone else’s life and dreaming about what I could do… as in, I was sitting and watching someone else’s life and doing nothing to progress my own.
This made me stop and consider how I was approaching my personal use of social media. Did I use it for ideas, recommendations, ideas, and inspiration? Yes. But how much did I put those ideas into practice? I wasn’t sure.
I remember in my early experiences with Pinterest realizing that I could easily create boards of things I thought were interesting to do, but not things I would actually do. I could pin a hundred recipes and only make five. I could save fifty DIY home improvements and never do a single one. In the end the unused ideas began to clutter my favorite ideas, and I would spend more time wading through to get to a project just to decide that once I found it it wasn’t what I wanted.
I can’t help but notice that most social media works that same way. I can get so many ideas daily, but how many do I follow through? What do I really love and care about? How much do I focus on inspiration, and how much do I focus on creating inspired works?
As my health returns I find myself able to focus on various projects I couldn’t before, I find myself dropping back into the same browsing habits I’ve had for the last five years. One part of me recognizes it as a way to rest, find ideas, or encouragement, but the other part of me recognizes that at some point I can be more interested in someone else’s life than my own.
Right now I can’t give you any answers to this conundrum, I’m finding the balance between life and rest, busyness and responsibility. I have begun to trim my hours on social media, and am trying to limit it on the Internet too. What it comes down to is the desire to live not addicted to ideas but nourished by them.
It’s a bit like taking in a dessert slowly to savor the taste. It requires restraint, but I’m finding such rewards in it, both personally and in what I in turn consume.
Not all creativity makes equal, and while entertainment has its place, there is a beauty in somethings slow and steady. I suppose it is like much of life, learning where balance, absence, and abundance best belong in our lives.
Would you be interested in a post about what I am doing to balance social media and real life?
Let me know in the comments, and thank you for reading!