Social media has become a phenomenon that has totally changed the world in the most incredible of ways. Everything and anything that crosses our consciousness can be accessed visually via social media in a nanosecond. It is a marketing dream come true, reaching billions in moments. I use it successfully to promote my music primarily, but I also can keep up to date with just about every single thing that anyone is doing should I choose to. While the technology has helped me infinitely, and I am continually amazed at what these platforms can do for businesses, creative endeavors, social awareness, etc., I also feel the huge price of this enormous entity that has literally taken over.
I have yet to speak to a fellow Gen Xer that doesn’t long for the years before it all. There was freedom and presence, and most of all, a security that is sadly gone unless you are a true purist.
I have realized that there is enormous peace and mystery in the “not knowing” of things. Social media most definitely put the kibosh on this with everyone’s curated lives and experiences carefully displayed in a play-by-play manner. I don’t exclude myself from this, obviously, but its excessiveness weighs on me mightily if I am honest. I have been giving this careful thought in recent months, and while I work hard to keep my mental game solid, the weight of social media can make me feel like I need a perfect cleansing. This has been especially so since many of us relied on social media platforms during the ongoing shutdown.
The truest truth is this. If anything isn’t making you feel good inside, it’s just not worth it, period. If I find myself comparing who I am to anyone other than who I was yesterday, it’s time to put myself back into the real world of calling a friend (since these days it’s not so easy to see our friends face to face), a real paper book in my hands, a quiet walk into nature, or the warm arms of a loved one. These are the things that are real and filter-less, imperfect and wholesome, messy and human. These are the things that anchor me deeply into my heart. When I am there, the rest falls away, and I remember what is really real. The virtual world can never hold a candle to what is real, not ever.
I took a week break from social media right before Christmas. It felt so good not to worry about curating posts, finding the best lighting, etc. I was able to really focus on my family and try to make the holidays meaningful. I knew I needed the break for my mental health too.
Now that we are in 2021 and it’s a fresh year, I remind myself that it’s okay to take breaks as needed. I don’t need to be on social media constantly. I still need to keep a healthy connection with myself, my family, and my small circle of friends.
Today's world is wondrous, but it’s also incredibly toxic if we don’t remember what it is to be deeply human in all of its real and complicated glory.