I just returned from Spring Break and I have to share what I’ve learned. First off, before you assume I went on some educational trip, I didn’t. I DID have a break and went on a little vacation. That being said, I was blessed by the people that surrounded me during my week off. I learned so much about life, perspective, mental health, and living a fulfilling life. As a student, I am always under the pressure of finishing one assignment after another, getting ahead of work, actually working, and in the midst of it all, find time for friends, self, and God. I mean wow, as if life itself wasn’t enough! But being away slowed down time a bit, and allowed me to do a little self check.
Was I living my life to its fullest? Are the habits I’ve formed healthy and will they encourage me to live more fully, or will they hinder it?
Remember how I was surrounded by amazing, inspiring people? These were people full of love. When I say love, I mean love for every individual they met and knew. That in itself was a witness to me of how love is contagious and healing. I NEEDED TO LOVE MORE.
Those loving individuals also spent most of their time serving others in their own way. Whether it was through volunteer time, helping out in the school kitchen, giving talks on life advice to the youth, etc. They were fully immersed in serving and using their time wisely. I NEEDED TO SERVE MORE.
My favorite thing about my new friends were the fact that they were not immersed in the world of social media. Here is where my post’s title makes more sense. Now what I mean by this, is that they were not distracted by the most recent app, post on social media, or their phones. Their homes had no TV, and most didn’t have wifi or data. Why? Because they discovered they led more fulfilling lives without it…they discovered they didn’t need it. It was NOT a necessity as advertising tells us. Did they have laptops? Yes, but it was used for work. See, these are individuals with families and they realized that without the world’s distractions, they made more time to be (mentally and physically) present with their family. I NEEDED TO BE PRESENT.
This got me to reassess my own patterns in my addiction to social media and how it has been taking over my life. I no longer wanted to be a slave to this device, distraction, or whatever else you want to call it. I wanted to be PRESENT. Not only to those around me, but to my homework, my life, my driving. See my addiction was always in my mind. When I was with others, I had the habit of always checking my phone to see if I got a notification. While completing homework, I took way too many “breaks” by checking my instagram/snapchat/pinterest/etc you get the idea. When I drove, I found myself getting into a nasty (deadly) habit of checking my phone unnecessarily. I would lack sleep because I stayed up too late on social media scrolling and scrolling to no end. I became a zombie. Luckily, I had always noticed this problematic addiction I had, I just didnt make any effort to stop it.
So this past week when I saw these beautiful individuals live more fulfilling lives and making a stand against the trap of a screen, I finally decided to make a move toward the same lifestyle. Before I could stop myself, I deleted my instagram and snapchat from my phone. When I don’t have it on my phone, I don’t go on the app. “Out of sight, out of mind” right? Well, let me tell you, it’s been great so far. more sleep, less distraction, better focus, and more motivation to do something to LOVE, SERVE, AND BE MORE PRESENT. Now that I’m back in school, I’m excited too see how it will change my normal activities. I can already say, that I look for those apps constantly, but certainly check my phone less. I even too away the vibration from notifications so that I don’t look for it. Before, when my phone was on silent, the vibration would still distract me from a conversation with someone or the homwork I was trying to focus hard on completing.
Now I don’t want to give off a misconception that my friends NEVER touched their phones. No, they definitely still used it, but they were not CONNECTED. You see the difference? They answered their text when they could, not stopping everything they were doing to answer it. They didn’t have instagrams and what-nots, they made time for more fulfilling activities throughout their day.
I hope this becomes a new lifestyle. I WANT to love more, serve more, and be more present. It only makes sense to me. If social media is taking over my life, I need to get my life back together and be in charge.
This is a journey that will be difficult, but with my head looking down at my phone less, I’ve noticed just how badly consumed the world is by their little screens. People can hardly walk without looking down at their phones constantly, eye contact is no longer an etiquette but an awkward gesture, and verbal conversation is more of a rare occasion than the way of life. I know the influence social media has had on my life, I know I am addicted, and I know I’m not alone. If you’d like to reassess your life too, give it a shot. What have you got to lose? A good conversation? Quality time? Efficiency? No, you’ll only realize that you’ll gain more of that and more of your life back. Balance. In an age where screens are everywhere, it’s easy to be swept away by the current of influence by society and advertising companies. That doesn’t mean you can’t stand firm and fight the pressures though. If social media/TV/video games/etc has been a stumbling block in your life, I highly encourage you to make a choice to do a little self-check and ask yourself if a little media detox would do you some good. I share my experience and thoughts out of love always. Time for me to go on a little hike!
p.s. I write these in a “take-one only” kind of way. So I apologize for the little errors you might have encountered throughout! Your mental proofreading and corrections are appreciated, I’m sure it needed it 😉
p.s.s. I’ve already been asked “what about your pictures then? how do you advertise that?” Well, I’ve decided that I will be keeping it simple and let my blog continue to hold my photography. I’ll let it grow as it grows, despite the slower pace. I’ll keep it simple and stop using instagram as a source of advertising. I’ll just let the viewers/readers come as they go. After all, this blog was originally made to show my life of grasping happiness in simplicity.
SHOTS FROM OUR DAY TRIP TO GEORGETOWN BELOW