Sometime in the summer of 2020, as the name of this post suggests, I took the Instagram app off my phone.
That timing is incredibly important. The pandemic started earlier that year, and I spent hours and hours scrolling, wasting my time staring at my phone screen. I started following many new accounts to swipe through, from influencers to artists to educators and everything in between. Though they made me happy at the time – and I can’t stress enough what a time that was – Instagram quickly became an ongoing source of stress and more mentally tiring than I thought it would be.
I’ve been ignoring my blog and newsletter recently. I didn’t do it on purpose, but I do feel like I ran out of things to talk about. I used to have a lot of structure around writing, holding myself accountable by doing challenges and schedules and topics. However, doing this was a double edged sword, as I started to get stressed out over my self-imposed deadlines and drained by thinking of topics weeks, or even months, in advance.
I have recently found myself drawn to writing again. Earlier in quarantine, I kept a hand-written journal that I used to document the weirdness of self-isolation. Over time, it became a gratitude journal, and as the days continued to blend together, I stopped writing in it all together. I think about writing in it again every day, but I frankly don’t even know where it is now, so I don’t write, and then I get sad about not writing.
I even recently cancelled my 1-year subscription to Skillshare because, frankly, I was never using it. As much as I wanted to paint and design and do all of these ambitious creative projects, I could never find the time. If I couldn’t find the time during quarantine, then I probably wasn’t going to find the time ever!
Anyway, I miss writing. Consider this my quarterly note-to-self to start writing again!
One of my friends recently started meditating and asked what benefits I was receiving from my practice. This question was tough because, frankly, I had fallen off the wagon, so I hadn’t felt any effects recently! She did get me thinking about what I do like about meditation, though, and thinking about it made me want to take up a regular meditation practice again.
My usual, go-to answer to her question is that meditation clears my head and, while this is not wrong, there are definitely other effects that I don’t realize until after the fact. One major after effect that is particularly relevant to this question is that meditation has given me a lot of time to think about my life, my choices, and what truly makes me happy. Through this self-reflection, I’ve learned a lot about myself and honestly challenged a lot of my previously-held beliefs.
(I mean that last point in a very serious way – like, in the past few weeks, I’ve started reading the Bible and joining virtual services for a nearby, specifically-chosen Christian church… and actually really, actively enjoying them!)
I will admit that it’s one thing to mentally take stock of your life and know what makes you happy, but actually making the steps to pursue happiness is an entirely different story. As another example, I found that alcohol was causing me a lot more harm than good, but as society opens up little by little, I’m finding that it’s hard to turn down opportunities to see friends while still restraining my drinking, or, ideally, avoiding drinking situations all together.
(That is only one of many, many examples! “Real life” starting up again is testing my boundaries and my ability to navigate social situations again! Ask me if I want to talk about rediscovering my faith with anyone in my real life in person! I don’t, I’m scared of the judgement!)
That being said, the first step to (woo-woo alert) living a completely authentic life is knowing what that completely authentic life looks like, and the first step to knowing what a completely authentic life looks like is to sit down and think about it! So I’m halfway there, right?