Post- meditation, I check instagram. I sip a doppio espresso in one hand while I'm on my phone with the other. Before ordering water at a restaurant, I ask for the wifi password. One day I woke up and decided that I'm done wasting my time scrolling through endless stories and posts. Partially because my eyes were growing tired of being glued to a screen, and because I was curious to see where my creativity would take me with my new-found free time while visiting Athens, Greece.
I checked my phone obsessively, only to find that I was instinctively on my way to Instagram. I did this 20+ times (I lost track after 20). I realized that if it weren't for mindless scrolling and occasionally answering texts, I don't have much to do on my phone. This made me feel lonely, disconnected and excluded from society, as if I were missing out, which is interesting because it's all virtual. Missing out on what? I'm in another continent, even if I wanted to be on the boat with my friends, I physically wouldn't have been able to.
Once I grew accustomed to not having the app installed, I felt free and careless,
in-tune & satisfied with my environment rather than wanting to be somewhere else. I went to a vegan restaurant for lunch and didn't ask for the wifi password. Instead, I journaled about how amazing it is to become aware of your bad habits and do something about it. I mindfully enjoyed my meal and avoided overeating as a result. I was in my own world, yet, paradoxically deeply connected to everything around me. No one knew where I was or what I was doing which made me feel empowered and even a bit naughty.
While on a hike up Mt. Lycabettus I instinctively went to take an insta story video of myself showing off my 180BPM heart rate. I stopped myself midway and thought:
If I take a video, will it make my experience more valid? Enjoyable? Real?
Why is it so important for other's to know what I am doing?
I put my phone back and kept on jogging.
Instead of enjoying the present moment, I wanted to replicate it for others to watch. I have a burning desire to inspire people with my positive daily actions, but I lose touch with reality by wanting to document it for someone else's enjoyment. There is a time and place for everything. Some experiences are personal, and should be enjoyed only with yourself. The view on the mountain was breath-taking, but a picture or video would not have done it justice, therefore, I made the conscious decision to keep it to myself.
Sharing the view is up to you, but analyze why you want to share it. Are you posting to feel validated? To make others jealous? For your followers to see how amazing you are? After my three day detox, I've decided that if those are my reasons to share a view, a thought or a meal, I'de rather not.
Instead of walking with my phone in my hand, I swapped it for my notebook. While at the Roman Agora, I wrote poems, analyzed how my day had unfolded, and brainstormed ideas for The Deep Lifestyle. Carrying my journal automatically puts me in creation mode, whereas having my phone in my palm only makes me want to see what others are doing, therefore making me feel insufficient, as if I weren't doing enough with life.
///// IN CONCLUSION /////
I feel liberated. I can now identify when I'm using instagram as a tool versus when I'm on it to escape reality. If I have to post something, I upload the app and I delete it once I am done fulfilling my task because:
1. I avoid the temptation to open it 10 minutes later to mindlessly scroll and procrastinate while I am studying or get bored in my room
2. It gives me time to think if my experience is worth uploading
Social media addiction is rampant among our generation. By observing my behavior these past three days, I've understood I have to cut down on my Instagram usage. It is taking up time that could be invested in other, more productive and self-enhancing tasks such as reading, listening to a podcast, or writing this wonderful blog post. I invite you to keep a detailed account of how much time is spent scrolling through insta, and allocate those 1-2 hours (trust me, the 15 minutes add up) to work on that project you want to start but haven't begun, or any other thing you ignore because of the time spent scrolling through other people's lives.
Focus on making things happen around you, then your instagram will speak for itself.