Distractions. We are surrounded by them whether we realize it or not. Right now as I sit here and type this post out—it’s taking a surprising amount of effort within me to not look at my phone. To not get sucked into the Instagram rabbit hole, watching the lives of everyone I follow seemingly living their best life. (Really, I’m aware that it’s just based on what people choose to present to the world, but I digress.) There’s a TV on above my head and while it’s on mute, the screen flashes with advertisements—work out 24/7—only $5 a month after signup fees! Need new tires? Head to Goodyear Tires Plus! Not to mention the Christian Rock station that is persistently playing int he background…(how “pleasant”) Honestly, the only reason I’m able to type this far is because I couldn’t figure out how to connect to the internet and allow further time wasted.
What is that all about? Why is it so hard to allow myself to be present? Maybe it has to do with my lack of hobbies (as mentioned in my previous post) or maybe it has to do with a total lack of self-discipline—but where did that lack of discipline come from? I grew up in the age of the internet. I was born right on the cusp of it. I’ll never forget in 3rd or 4th grade when my elementary school was granted a whole room of colorful Mac computers and I was able to experience my first computer lab. If I recall correctly—I think basic coding was even a class we took back then. (Nothing fancy-just how to make a VERY basic website screen, but still impressive nonetheless.) And now, I am surrounded by endless screen and behind those screens lies the world wide web.
In fact, the internet is responsible for bringing you to this very spot, reading this exact sentence. More likely than not, you found yourself here by following the link I posted to my Instagram and/or Facebook page (or you’re one of the THREE subscribers who happened to get an email notification of this post—hey friendly and not-so-subtle reminder to subscribe peeps, because who doesn’t want to read the random nonsense of a 28 year-old’s mind??) And if it wasn’t for your mindless wandering of Social Media time waste you likely wouldn’t be here right now.
But it’s not just social media that’s the problem, It’s the whole idea of “Instant Gratification.” From social media posts—and subsequent reactions—to the ability of binge watching entire seasons instantly on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime/HBOGo etc. The idea of waiting is a concept that is completely dying. Do you remember when it would take minutes to connect to the internet? I swear to you, that is not a fictional statement. And now, that we are surviving in a world of instant gratification, it’s become so much easier to allow yourself to waste time on meaningless distractions. I spent TWO HOURS on random self-populated Facebook videos on Wednesday night. TWO WHOLE HOURS. Just watching whatever video populated nest—Buzzfeed’s Ladylike, Crafty How-To’s, clips from Ellen, videos about dogs being rescued, whatever viral trend is happening this week, or whatever viral trend happened last month. I WASTED two hours on this distraction. And then I tell myself I don’t have time to workout (which is super boring anyway) or time to out the laundry away, or time to clean the kitchen, or vacuum, or dust, etc., etc., etc.
The problem is I willingly allow myself to be distracted because it forces me into the excuse of my behavior for lack of time. I get so angry at myself each time I continue to watch the next episode or video, or impatiently wait through the new ANNOYING ads that interrupt Facebook videos. These distractions take me away from my lack of exciting life that I currently live (again, because I am passionless in terms of hobbies, job, etc. not for any personal life reasons.) But these distractions are also preventing me from, you know, living life…
Last week I got into a new book, and I couldn’t put it down! I took all of my time that would have been wasted on said distractions, and I willingly denied them in order to read this book. In fact, there were times I had learned over an hour had passed. While I was still sitting on my butt, or laying on the couch, I was doing something active with my mind–and DAMN DID IT FEEL GOOD. Even though I was more or less still being a lazy butt on the couch, I wasn’t mindlessly filtering through hours of wasteful distractions. And it made me realize how easy it could be to break the habit. Hell, I even folded AND put a load of clean laundry away. (Yes, as shameful as this is to admit to you, I am the WORST at putting clean laundry away. So this was an actual accomplishment. Shut up. Laundry is the worst and you know it. Whatever, I don’t have to explain myself to you.) The point is, last week I felt…refreshed. Almost as if I had hit a “reset” or “realign” button. And while I know I won’t be perfect with this—I want to chase that feeling. I want to continuously work to allow myself to feel accomplished. To put the phone down. To turn Netflix off. To spend time outdoors. To organize my home. To workout. To presently live. Even if it’s for a week, or a day, or an hour—it’s well worth it.
^Me trying to live my best life without screens/distractions. (Full disclosure, this photo was taken almost a year ago on my honeymoon. Y’all think I can just go gallivanting across the globe on a whim?? I WISH!!!)