I’ve been off social media for almost two months now.
I came to a realization early this summer. My energy was going to things that weren’t really important: people I hardly knew, stories and dramas, and it was taking energy away from the relationships and goals I deeply care about. With all our upcoming transitions, including the move, I felt pulled in so many directions, spinning many different plates and something had to change. Facebook was a beginning. A friend then (synchronistically) loaned me a book discussing minimalism.
It helped immensely.
I now own about 1/3 of the material possessions I had in June. This path has gradually helped me eliminate other distractions from my life as well. When I took a step back to reevaluate my priorities, certain things just didn’t matter as much as I thought they did - like relationships I was clinging to, silly activities that took my energy and time, and bad habits. As I have begun to identify and remove these things from my life, I have more space to focus on things I truly feel passionate about. The things we often desperately hold on to in search of security often drain the satisfaction from our lives, leaving us overwhelmed and discontent.
I have to say, I feel more content, fuller and richer, not with possessions but with experiences, and that feeling isn't going anywhere because it isn't dependent on the external world or anyone else's life; it depends on me, the choices I make. I'm finding my way back to a simpler life while still remaining engaged with the world. I'm both rediscovering and newly discovering what I'm enthusiastic and energized about, what deserves my attention, so that I can live a life that is deeply meaningful. I want to show up everyday and demonstrate my love and passion through actions and interactions.
So I continue to ask myself, and now I ask you: have you ever asked yourself WHY you do what you do?
For instance, why do you earn money? Is it so you can earn MORE money? Does it always make sense to work a soul crushing job for most of your life, never take vacations, so you can retire for a few years? Why do you get on social media? To broadcast or get validation? Is it boredom? Is it a need for connection; if it is, is it really happening? Do these choices add VALUE to your life? Or do they make you feel discontented?
I’m not saying social media doesn't add value or that I won’t ever use it again. But WHY we do anything matters and gives that action substance, or not. I started to wonder if my choices were fueling inspiration and connection or dissatisfaction and misery. I needed to quit certain habits entirely for a while. With more space apart from my habitual behavior, I now feel I can be more deliberate about how I spend time and make different choices. I want to spend my time LIVING, experiencing the world, and genuinely engaging and connecting with the people I love. Nothing new or truly innovative has ever come from maintaining the status quo.
So I say this to you as much as I say it to myself: don’t be afraid to buck convention, become unfettered from the unnecessary and be a crusader for what is truly a rich life. In the wake of what are often difficult but rewarding choices, you can set yourself free.
(For more information about Minimalism, check out www.theminimalists.com)