It's funny to write this blog. To know that I'm shortly going to be posting it on Facebook, on Instagram. It's ironic and I'm not deaf or blind to that. We live in a digital world and I, like most others, enjoy many aspects of that. This blog isn't written to denounce social media, or announce my retirement from it, but instead to serve as a reminder and to provoke thought - you control your life, your emotions, your actions, and your happiness. That's a great power. Don't let it slip away.
From Friday morning until Monday morning I disappeared from the social media stratosphere. This self-imposed detox of sorts stemmed from a few different things happening this past weekend. First, it was #NPSUMMIT. For those of you unfamiliar with November Project - it's a free, grassroots, community, fitness movement/cult in 29 cities across the world. Once a year all of the leaders travel together to race, hug, plan, reunite, party, and celebrate. Combine that with 1000 or tribe members - and it's an epic weekend. This was the 4th Summit in NP's history, and the first that I haven't been in attendance for. Cue the FOMO. Secondly, I chose to take a trip home to visit my family in Washington State and I wanted to be as present as possible for the entirety of the trip. Thirdly, a lot of my job involves being active on different social media platforms. A lot of my job. It seemed like the perfect trifecta of reasons to take a serious time out.
Unsurprisingly, I learned a few things while on my literal and virtual vacation.
1. Not looking at social media is really fucking hard...but it gets easier. There's actual science to show that we are turning into the human equivalent of Pavlov's dog and even creating social media driven anxiety disorders. So that need to constantly check and recheck your phone, those phantom vibrations you feel, the mindlessly opening of your social media apps - these are side effects of actual changes in your brain chemistry happening. So clearly, when you remove social media from your life (even temporarily) you can experience real withdrawal symptoms.
2. FOMO is only real if you let it be real...like monsters under your bed. I don't know what this says about me, but it took a literal realization that I was in control of deciding whether or not I was going to feel like I was "missing out" this weekend. If I spent my time wondering what was happening without me, if the ubiquitous "they" were having fun without me, if anybody missed me, or if I should've been somewhere else than where I was, that was my decision and my doing. And if I didn't want to spend my time feeling that way, I also had the ability to go that route. Using FOMO as an excuse to allow yourself to be in a crappy mood is just that - an excuse. And we all know what excuses are like.
3. I'm terrible at horseshoes. It took 31 years, but I finally discovered this fact about myself. How? Well, when you're not on your phone you have time to do other things - like attempt to play horseshoes with your brother. For the record, he's terrible too.
4. Taking a break is like pressing the reset button. It felt like I imagine my computer feels after a restart. You know when you have 30 windows open on your laptop and none of them seem to work quickly or effectively? So you finally give up and just restart it? Yeah, it felt like that.
5. You have only one chance to live in each moment. I think there's a temptation to want to capture that moment (on film, with photos, etc), to share it, and to be able to "re-live" it. But that's different. You'll never experience it again, so truly experience it the first time. To be travelling, to be experiencing different landscapes, to go for a run in the woods, to spend time with my family, to cook, to eat - those were all moments that only happened once and I'm thankful that I spent the time really being present for them.
It was a fantastic weekend, a perfect break, and I'm happy to be back - and ready to go.