Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Totally Turned Off

Last night I was reading through some of my old journals. I was immediately imported to a simpler time, and despite the terrible grammar and obvious teen angst, one thing I could not deny about teen-girdle is her originality, honesty and consistency. It got me thinking about my current writing habits, or lack there of. The sporadic nature of my journal entries made me concerned for my career as a Journalist and I realised that there is one huge difference between my journal entries then and now. That difference is distraction.

At the age of 14 I didn't have a laptop, I didn't have a smart phone, I didn't even have a crush. My room was a sanctuary completely separate from the outside world where I could create, dream, process, explore and write a heck of a lot of pages. Today I am constantly checking my phone, replying to texts, wondering if I will get texts, stalking relative strangers on facebook, searching 'inspiration' on instagram and tumblr, engaging my heart and efforts into the plethora of distractions available at my finger tips. I realised that I have lost the art of being present, switching off and engaging with what is in front of me, even if that is just a blank piece of paper. I am reminded that once upon a time that is all it took to excite and ignite me.

Tonight I put my Iphone in my mothers safe (extreme I know, but that is how little I trust myself), didn't allow myself to go onto any social networking sights and spent the night in my bedroom alone. Truly alone. Alone in the way that you can only ever experience when you are apart from technology. I have no idea if anyone tried to call or text me tonight, no idea if any of my posts got "likes" by people I wouldn't cross the road to say hi to, no idea if anyone posted anything new on instagram.

And you know what this taught me?
-I am no where near as important as I would like to think I am. The world didn't end, nothing burnt down, nobody died. I don't need to be contactable 24/7, the world will go on without my attention for a few hours.
-I can achieve a lot in one night. I finished an essay, I wrote in my diary, I read 2 chapters of a book that has been sitting on my bed side table waiting for me to give it some love, I washed and dried my hair and I wrote this blog. How much time do I waist everyday on these stupid time drainers and ego boosting conversations? Why do I need to be constantly texting? why do I need to be posting everything I'm doing online? When did this become so important to me? How much time and effort do I waist that I could be throwing behind my passions?

-I am not defined by anyone else. If my value constantly comes from the acceptance of others then it will go up and down based on how much acceptance I have from those people.
12 people text me today, super valuable; nobody text me for 5 hours, not so valuable.
30 likes on a facebook status, watch that value sore; no likes, no value.
Blog gets 200 hits, I'm running for mayor of value land; blog gets 3 hits, might as well jump off something tall.
You know what the problem is with basing your personal value on the acceptance of others? People can chose to take that acceptance away at any time they want and then what are you left with? It's not fair to walk around with some gaping hole waiting for someone to fill it, nobody can complete you, and as romantic as it all sounds, you can't complete anyone either. Until you are happy and whole all by yourself you have no business trying to get your co dependence all up in anyone's grill. Trust me, I am preaching to myself here.

And you know what else?
I think I like this whole idea, I think I'll use it more often.

-I want to re-learn the art of being present. I want to engage with the conversations in front of me instead of checking my phone to distract me from the present moment. I wonder how many things I have missed because I was too busy focusing my attention on things that just didn't matter.

-I want to be able to be alone without needing anyone to validate my existence. Sit in my room with a good book and a cup of tea and be completely ok with the silence, completely at ease within myself and without anyone else.

-I want to gain back originality. I realised that you lose sight of your own beliefs, thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams when you are constantly bombarded with who and what everyone else is doing. I find myself comparing my inner world with everyone else's outer world and constantly feeling like I don't meet up, like I haven't done enough, achieved enough, lived enough. How can we create anything original when we are bombarded with the ideas and beliefs of everyone else. ALL OF THE TIME!

Tonight was freeing. Tonight was a little visit back to a simpler time and I loved it. Here's to many more nights of being totally turned off.

Smile often

1 comment:

  1. So good Beth. "Turning off" is something I've been trying to practice too, every now and then. You've inspired me to start doing it again :)