You may have noticed that I've been a little MIA from social media over the last couple weeks... I haven't been hacked, or forgotten all of my passwords I swear :) I made a purposeful choice to cut back over the holidays, and actually experience the season, family time (and unfortunately a cold and a popped rib) unfiltered!
When I was 8 years old, I remember talking with my friends about how we couldn't wait to be 16. It just seemed like a cool age. When I was 12, I couldn't wait to be 26, drive a cool car and have my own apartment like one of our close family friends. When I mentioned stuff like this to my parents, aunts, uncles or teachers, they always told me to enjoy childhood while it lasts, because time flies. Boy were they right: their key message...
It's a little cliche, but one of my relatives had a small pink piece of paper on her fridge that I read every time I went to visit:
Yesterday is history,
Tomorrow is a mystery,
Today is a gift,
That’s why they call it the “Present”
For some reason, this little rhyme kept popping into my head over the holidays. As an entrepreneur and millennial, social media presence kind of comes as a part of the job description. There's a pressure to produce fresh content, increase your followers, and keep up with the latest snapping boomerang story technology if you want to 'be recognized'. But, I've always found myself a little torn. The hesitancy started when I was told to take pictures and videos of the classes I teach, to which I replied, 'but I'm teaching...'; my job and value when I'm running a personal training or small group session is the eyes-on, hands-on feedback and guidance I give my clients. Eventually I was told by the experts to include some 'personal, real life' stuff on my social media, so followers 'get to know who I really am'. Cue food pictures, dog walking videos and clips of my little fam and I hanging out around the house or neighbourhood. Personal, joyful experiences, now filtered through the lens of an iPhone 6+ and out there for all to see.
Interruption, feeling bound to post, not registering the actual experience I was having mentally and emotionally were common.
Am I saying social media is evil? No definitely not. Am I saying goodbye to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter? That's negatory. What I am saying, is that it is worthwhile to step back and be aware of the amount of experience you filter and share through apple and android technology.
When I went out west to visit my family in Chilliwack B.C, I noticed an interesting trend: social media is barely on their radar. I felt a little weird popping outside to get a quick shot of the mountains in their backyard (seen above) to post on Instagram. Mountains in their backyard? WHAT? Every time I looked up from the sink through the kitchen window, or walked the family dog down their street, I was flabbergasted by the natural beauty surrounding their home. I just kept looking!
And then of course, there's my nephew....
15 months going on 16, he moves fast and furiously; take your eyes off him for a minute, and you've missed a milestone. So I didn't. Despite the fact that he is obsessed with phones (he even tried to call me on a pizza slice lol) I put mine down, played, snuggled, and watched him experience the holidays until my little heart was so full of joy it felt like it might explode. I played board games with my aunts and uncles, watched movies with my mum, went to the mall with my big brother, all without concern for catching those 'Insta perfect' moments with a picture or video. And quite honestly, I appreciated the experiences on a whole other level.
As I landed in Toronto on Christmas eve, ready to grab my baggage (not a pun!) and race to my father-in-law's house for a family celebration, I instinctively reached for my phone to capture my arrival: I needed to let my followers know I was back in #the6ix! And there it was, an instant shift back into old habits and 'constructing' my experiences for others to see. It wasn't really a thought, but more an instant reflex: grab your phone and take the shot. I felt 'programmed' (like a Storm Trooper! Rogue One is totally worth a watch btw) after all, Airport shots are Instagram gold. If I hadn't been on hiatus for the previous week, its a behavioural pattern I probably would not have even noticed. And that I think, is the key message I am driving at here:
Take time to appreciate the present, experience and keep a little bit of your day for yourself, and be aware of your tendencies to filter (and even to alter your own interpretation of) your day through your phone. After significantly decreasing my posting for only a week, I feel refreshed, clear on the 'content' I wish to share, and those experiences I want be fully immersed in and keep for myself, and more aware of my go-to phone-grabbing habits. It's worth a try, or at least a few thoughts. Imagine how many extra reps you can get in if you don't feel pressured to take picture of your dumbbells! :)
Happy Holidays Friends! Here's to a healthy and happy 2017!