I live in a digital world. Seriously, my job completely revolves around Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media networks. When I’m not working, I’m blogging. When I’m not blogging, I’m networking. I have like four email addresses. Two computers. One cell phone. About five computer and phone chargers to ensure I never miss a beat or update. I spend a majority of my time glued to a screen – whether it’s my laptop, PC, iPhone or iPod. I often times feel like I’m living within the walls of technology. Going without it? A struggle.
As a young 20-something new to the West Coast and the working world, I’ve been taught and trained that being online is the way to be. I do everything online – pay my bills, chat with friends, read the news, finish books, start books, communicate, interact, live. I’ve been “raised” in this culture that to get ahead you need to always, always, always be catching the latest update, following the right people, viewing the right content, tweeting and posting the best articles.
This week, I was reminded enough is enough. I’ll admit it – I love the social and digital space, but it’s important to not over prioritize these gadgets we have and these online networks we live in. People (myself included) get trapped in spending more time building a LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Reddit, [insert social media site here] profile than they do actually building who they are. I’m talking who I am as a person, not who I am as @luckyandi or andi91210 or “Andi.Teggart” or “Search: Andi Teggart.” Maybe if I spent half the time I spend online actually OFFLINE, I could really enjoy life, soak up life, LIVE life.
I’m always documenting my life – through tweets, Instagram photos, Facebook status updates, blog posts – but what if I put down my phone and closed my computer and simply lived life? Some of the happiest people I know who really “get” life are the ones who don’t come near to technology. My grandpa doesn’t have the slightest clue what Twitter or blogging is – but he truly understands personal interactions, relationships and experiences. He would sit down and get coffee with you whether you had 35,000 Twitter followers or 10. Or zero. Rather than take a photo of what he’s eating for dinner, he enjoys dinner and company. Rather than constantly check his cell phone to make sure he’s not missing a status update, he is using his phone to call his grandchildren on the phone.
This weekend, I urge you to put your phones away and close your computers. Twitter, Facebook, your Inbox and every other site you are constantly stalking and obsessing over will be there when you get back on Monday. I’m not telling you to completely quit on social media – it’s fun to be online, it’s smart to be online, it’s actually vital to be online in this day and age. What I’m urging you to do is to not let your phone and computer dictate the way you go about living life. Don’t allow this online world to rule the beautiful, glorious, exciting, simple, dazzling adventurous, eternally blessed physical world we live in.
This weekend, instead of counting Twitter followers and Facebook notifications, I’ll be counting the number of times I laugh out loud. I’ll be measuring my “success” not on how many new LinkedIn connections I have, but how many hours I spend enjoying the warm weather with good friends. I’ll be monitoring what is going on in my friends life by talking to them in person (or giving them a call! Hint: different than texting) or writing them a letter. I’ll be reading a book instead of scrolling down a screen. I’ll be building and strengthening who I am as me – regular, plain, real-life me – instead of maximizing and building out the “online” me. This weekend, instead of staying up-to-date at every second, I’ll stay balanced and at peace every second.
Hope you do the same! xoxo