Mount Tantalus / Day 23 of 365

Late blog post! Cory and I went driving around Mount Tantalus a couple weeks ago. I was emptying my camera into my computer and noticed that I never posted these photos! It was so beautiful and breezy up there. Sorry about the blurry photos! D:

23/365

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Hiking at Waimano Valley / Day 22 of 365

Today I went out hiking with Sarah and Kevin at Waimano Valley!

It was a pretty quick 2 hour hike. The mountains were full of rain and clouds but the trees kept us dry. It was nice to have some cloud coverage; Hawaii has been really hot lately. There were 4 or 5 caves along the trail that were pretty cool to look at. They just went alongside the trail for about 100 feet each time. No idea why they exist.

Overall, it was a nice time to get away and spend some time with friends and the trees. No big fancy words today, just a few pictures. Hope you are all having a wonderful start to your week!

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Still Alive / Day 12 of 365

I’m happy to say that this transition away from social media has been with relative ease. That is to say, it’s been without drama. I’ve done week breaks here and there, I’ve even done a couple months off before – but there’s always been an anticipation to return. This time feels different; I don’t really feel like I’m missing out. I don’t even have the urge to go back.

I haven’t come to post words, though. Today I want to post a few pictures. I went out for a work “going-away” / “get together” last weekend. Despite the usual drag of going to work-related events, the boyfriend and I had a great time seeing everyone. Our office split up a few weeks ago, as people are moving away or moving to new offices, and it was nice to see everyone together in the same place. I didn’t get many photos, unfortunately, but here are the few that I did manage to snag:

 

Also, side-note, I’ve actually been carry my camera around with me somewhat often. In the past month, I’ve taken it out at least half a dozen times. I don’t think I’ve used my camera that much in the last 3 years. Woot, woot! More pictures to come!

I have to cut this post short though – it’s waaaaay past my bed time.

Again, as a reminder, I’m not posting daily for this project. The goal is to abstain from social media for 365 days and document my life and experiences as I slowly chug along. That being said, I hopefully will get another post out before the end of the weekend. Hopefully talking about some booooooooooooks. Annnnyyyyyways, long words mean I’m sleepy.

Goodnight y’all.

12 / 365

Free at Last / Day 3 of 365

When I announced this project, I posted what I was doing on my Facebook account. I told my friends and family what I was up to and why my account was about to suddenly go dark. I didn’t stick around for comments or a quick scroll down the Newsfeed. Instead, I immediately logged out.

I left the post up for a few days to allow the message to spread and today I went in to deactivate my accounts. Facebook was easy – I just went in and deactivated without too much thought. When I logged into Instagram, though, the top post on the page (I didn’t scroll, I swear guys!) was someone I’ve been following religiously for the last year and a half. The ease of deactivating Facebook, contrasted sharply with the FOMO I feel with deactivating Instagram.

Everything isn’t gray, sad, and lonely though. It’s been three days since this project has began and I already feel like I have more free time in the day.

I’ve wanted to learn how to juggle for about 6 months now – and about a month ago I bought some racquetballs to practice with. Without too much thought, I put them upstairs on the counter. Now, whenever I have a free moment, I find myself reaching for juggling balls rather than for my phone.

It wasn’t an intentional substitute – but it’s been working great! Here’s a really short video of my terrible juggling (I’m up to 64 juggles!) –

Hope y’all are having a wonderful start to the week!

3/365

(as a reminder, I don’t intend on posting daily throughout this project. The goal is to take a digital fast from social media for 365 days!)

Going Dark / Day 1 of 365

I have an unhealthy relationship with social media.

Using social media should be simple; login, use it for what it was designed for, and logout. The difficulty is that I don’t logout anymore – mentally or digitally.

I’ve never considered myself a heavy user of social media. I only pull out my phone a couple times a day, I don’t have any games installed, and I don’t even have Facebook downloaded.

Despite this conviction, I almost always collapse on my bed and open Instagram when I get home from work. It’s usually followed by Facebook. Then sometimes I meander to Reddit or YouTube – and an hour or two disappears.

Responsibility

I started to notice the personal impacts of social media when I moved across the country in 2013. I used Facebook to stay in touch with my long-distance friends. Over time, I realized that I was spending too much time online – I’d scroll so far through Facebook that I would arrive at posts I’d already seen. Despite this, I’d continue to scroll through the content again to see if there was anything new (there wasn’t).

A couple times, I deleted all social media apps from my phone until I felt comfortable without them. To avoid push notifications, I tried only opening the social media through Google Chrome. I’ve even fasted from my phone by turning it off for a week. Each time I’ve always gone back to using the apps.

It’s both fortunate and unfortunate that I’m the only one responsible for this. It’s easy to say, “just have enough will-power to stop” or “if it’s that bad for you, delete them and move on”. I have the power to do that – but for some reason I can’t make that leap, nor do I want to in the long term.

Big Picture

Social media has ingrained itself so deep within our culture that despite privacy concerns, known associated psychological health issues, and the visible obsession we have with this technology – we still use it.

Though, the point isn’t to escape like a hermit into the mountains. The internet has revolutionized communication, and we shouldn’t step back from innovation. But when the innovation has become so addictive, and the technology so psychologically manipulative, we need to take a step back and evaluate where we are going.

Psychological Warfare

Leaving social media isn’t difficult from a technical standpoint – most websites only take a few clicks if you know where to look. Instead, these sites focus on manipulating you into using their flashy apps and they make themselves appear as though they are the only way that friends can stay in contact.

Take Facebook for example; prior to deactivating your account, you are brought to a page displaying 5 profile pictures of your friends. The screen reads: “Are you sure you want to deactivate your account?” Below that, it says “Your __ friends will no longer be able to keep in touch with you”. Then, above each friends picture, “_(name of friend)_ will miss you”.

Other sites remove features if you don’t use their dedicated app. Instagram doesn’t allow users to view “liked” images in a browser. Facebook doesn’t allow you to view messages on mobile in browser – you must download their Facebook Messenger app.

A whole blog post could be dedicated to the ways that these sites psychologically manipulate you. The point is; you can live without them, despite what they say.

Starting a Project

For the next year, I’m deactivating my social media accounts and abstaining from using social media and similar websites.

Although there are other strategies to lessen use of social media, I feel like I’ve exhausted many of them. I’ve removed the apps from my phone. I’ve taken weeks off and left my phone at home. I’m used apps like “Offtime” to monitor my app usage. Every time I come back to the addiction.

My intention is to spend more time “Going Dark”. I’ve borrowed this expression, which loosely means, “To disappear; to become suddenly unavailable or digitally out of reach” (source). I’ll use this express to describe completely disconnecting (i.e. turning my phone off or leaving it at home, being unable to be reached).

My hope is to develop a healthier relationship with social technologies. During the fast, I want to focus on other aspects of my life that have been neglected – I have a stack of books I need to catch up on, my photography has taken the back burner in the last few years, and even my writing is… well, it needs work.

Too long; didn’t read (or conclusion)

I have an unhealthy relationship with how I use social media. Sometimes I spend hours scrolling through memes and old content when I should be doing other things.

Social media can be psychologically manipulative. Just try to leave it and you’ll see the passive-aggressive nature of some of these sites.

Although social media has potentially harmful risks associated with it, ultimately I’m responsible for correctly using it.

To work on my relationship with social media, I’m abstaining from using it for one year. I’ll continue to blog (without a schedule, definitely not daily). Though, I plan on ‘going dark’ (disconnecting completely, leaving my phone at home and turned off) every now and then.

If you’ve read this far, thank you. I’m working on building this website. If you have any questions or want to say “hi”, feel free to drop a comment below (no WordPress account necessary).

Are you sure you want to deactivate your account?

Yes.

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December 15./ Figs and Lost Opportunities

Sylvia Plath’s poem “The Fig Tree” has haunted me for years. It speaks of a woman sitting at the foot of a giant fig tree. As she looks up, she sees a different life represented by each fig. In one fig, she’s a stay-at-home mother. In another she’s a CEO of a large company. She sees herself as a world traveler, a teacher, a lover. But she couldn’t pick which fig she wanted because if she picked one, it would mean that she would lose the others. Instead, she sits starving at this tree and watches as the fig shrivel and fall to the ground.

Sometimes I see myself sitting at the bottom of that fig tree. I gaze up at the different directions I could choose to go in life and, instead of choosing, watch the opportunities disappear.

There are so many things that I want to do in my life. I’d love to travel the world, study horticulture, live in Europe, work in the NPS – you know, the average bucket list. But unfortunately I don’t have a long enough life to do everything.

Last week, my co-worker was telling me about her little sister. She’s like 6 or 7 and Christmas is still a ~new~ holiday to her. Anyways, my co-worker was telling me how her little sister spends hours on YouTube watching toy reviews to see what she wants for Christmas. Instead of playing with toys that she has, she spends hours looking at new toys.

At first, it seemed a little strange. I never thought about toy reviews on YouTube. It seemed sad that kids would spend so much time watching reviews of toys, envisioning if they wanted that particular one.

But then I thought about myself and my own life. I haven’t been reading as much as I usually do. I’ve been spending a lot more time on Instagram and Amazon. Instead of going out and traveling, I’m living vicariously through famous Instragramers and travel blogs. Instead of going to the gym, I’ve been looking at gymspiration.

It’s so easy to fixate and obsess over a particular lifestyle or thing that you want. Lately, I’ve been guilty of buying things to support this mental fixation. I’ve bought gym equipment that tends to gather dust faster than I use it. I’ve bought extra kitchen supplies that are unnecessary because I’m enamored by what I could do with them. I even bought a zafu for meditating and it’s completely wonderful but I don’t meditate every day like I thought I would.

It takes little energy to lay around in bed and daydream. It takes effort to get outside and build the lifestyle that you want. It’s easy to stay inside and imagine these lives you could lead without actually pursing them. If you pursue them, you may have to give up other lifestyles that you want. If I pursue meditation, maybe I won’t have enough time for working out. Unfortunately there are only so many hours in each day.

This is a first world problem. Not really of much substance. But I think that it causes a lot of suffering. By imagining these lifestyles rather than leading them, we skip over the learning process. We skip all the failure on the way to greatness. So much of our lives is learning from mistakes and genuinely trying new things. We derive satisfaction from effort and overcoming difficulty.

I’m not trying to bash YouTube or Instagram but rather comment on how I’ve noticed my life change in the last few years. I work full time and only have a few hours when I get home each night. Instead of spending that time doing things that I love – mustering up the energy to get out there – I instead lay on my bed and watch others pursue things I’m interested in. I’m so fixated that I don’t notices all the figs falling around me.

Hey, Zen Pencils has a wonderful illustration of the poem I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I highly recommend that you check it out. Click this link to view it: Zen Pencils – The Fig Tree

 

December 10./ Ready to Go

Alrighty… well… I think everything is back up. 7 years worth of blogs. Hard to believe that much time has already gone by. It hasn’t been consistent but it’s always been there. If you feel like gandering through, there’s a lot of miscellaneous content. My first blog was a dream journal. Then it turned into a travel blog while I was staying in Europe. Then it became a blog about… well… anything that was on my mind. If there’s anything I’ve been consistent in, it’s definitely inconsistency.

That being said, it’s the end of the year and I’ve feel like writing again. I haven’t really written since joining the military. Or well, I haven’t really written with any mention of having joined. I’m sure there’ll be a post about that later.

It’s a shame too. I live in the tropical state of Hawaii with my beautiful boyfriend Cory. I’ve been fortunate in the last couple years to have had the opportunity to travel. I’ve spent a lot of time hiking around the island and exploring. Most of which has been undocumented.

Oh well, I guess it’s just another opportunity to get started. Here are few pictures from the last few months: