It may sound like blasphemy coming from someone who spends so much time online, but sometimes we need to unplug to reconnect with what matters most.
I took a minute to unplug this weekend because I wanted to be fully present in the moment–I had two concerts to go to and a brother’s birthday to celebrate, and I didn’t want to miss a moment of joy. It’s a bummer to duck into the bathroom to scroll through your Insta feed when there’s people you love and enjoy spending time with just a few feet away. It’s absurd to engage more fully with the political rhetoric on a Facebook feed than you do with your partner, friend, or child. And no matter what business you have to conduct through the interwebs, responding to an email while you’re out with your beau is simply bad form. I know that there are many who might disagree with this, but I’m okay with that. In a culture that expects you to be on-call 24-7, it’s totally acceptable to say “No, I can’t reply right away.” It’s perfectly legitimate to say “I don’t work weekends, so I’ll get you that pdf on Monday.”
Whether you work or play online, it’s important to create boundaries with the folks you interact with so no one gets offended if you don’t reply to a text ASAP. We’ve become so accustomed to instant response gratification that if someone doesn’t get back to us within ten minutes, we assume that a) they’ve snubbed us and don’t like us anymore, or b) something awful has happened to them. Somehow, we don’t consider the more probable alternatives: they’re taking a nap because they had a rough week at work and they’re exhausted. They’re cooking dinner with friends and family. They’re at a movie. They simply aren’t in the mood to text or chat right now because it’s their human right to have a bit of privacy.
Requests for privacy have become indications that a person has something to hide. We’ve forgotten the virtue of privacy–some things are better kept under the radar until we decide they’re fit to share (if we ever do).
In no way am I suggesting that we purposely veil or distort the truth in order to save our own skin or play a situation to our advantage. Rather, I’m suggesting that no one’s entitled to someone’s immediate response to a question or a request. Noe one’s entitled to our undivided attention at a moment’s notice regardless of how quickly a smartphone gets us in touch. The people you dig most on Facebook, Insta, and Twitter? They have a right to check out once in a while without facing judgement or demands from others. And you have the right to check out if you know it’s what’s best for you regardless of what people have come to expect. Whether you’re stressed out or overwhelmed or you simply want to enjoy the company of the people who are in your immediate proximity, taking a social media break is legit, and if it’s something you need, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t take it.
This rant of sorts isn’t in response to anything in particular. In fact, the people I interact with online are overwhelmingly respectful and understanding–the cream of the crop, for sure (I love you all. Thank you for being the best of the best <3).
The expectation of immediate availability, however, is one that our culture has born and nurtured. It’s one that I’ve had to lovingly contend with in terms of my life and my business, and one that I’m sure to confront again and again. I just wanted to let you know that if you feel pressured to spend more time than you’d like scrolling through Twitter or posting cat memes or responding to every comment you’ve received, you can give yourself permission to pull back and step into the moment. You can heed the message from my new stalker card from The Universe Has Your Back Affirmation Deck:
So Much Love and Joy,
Need some help reconnecting with your roots? Check out the Rewilding Reading.