I’ve made another observation lately. (I know, an observation by the blogger of Wordsmith Observations? So surprising)!
But this, my friends, was an observation I’m not entirely proud of. The observation? That the very first thing that happens in the morning is my arm reaches out, like a pre-programmed robot for my phone. The sad thing? I’ve only recently realized that’s a big problem.
In the morning, I don’t jump up and go to the window to see the refreshed morning landscape, I don’t twirl in a wildflower field like Anne of Green Gables…I don’t stretch, I don’t read, I don’t pray. No, instead I reach for something to numb the sweet morning light, and later I’m left wondering why the feeling of emptiness crowds in all around me so intrusively, no matter how many blessings I know I have in my life.
So, yesterday I chose out of necessity to ignore the screens. The moments I normally would be staring at a YouTube video, I picked up a book; and the moments I normally would be scrolling endlessly through social media feeds, I cleaned the house. I took time to think and I took time to write.
It’s funny how much time I had to be productive and get things done, when normally I’d just shrug and reason that I was just too “busy” to do this or that. As a result, of this newfound productivity, I felt less…awful. Honestly, less useless.
I mean, it’s sad to think that the creations that we were meant to use to our advantage have started to control more of our everyday life than it has given substance. So, I challenge you- and me, from this point on to be conscious of the uses of these screens and…
Place the people in your life before social media.
People are valuable and people need your support. You never know what another human may be going through, so that’s all the reason you need to give your full and undivided attention to your family members, your friends, anyone that comes along your path in life.
And…unfortunately, people are temporary. We are here today and gone tomorrow. So, enjoy every precious moment with those you love.
Take necessary precautions to remind yourself of the importance of real life.
If you’re noticing screens controlling you more than you it, there’s a problem, my friend. One precaution I’ve started to do is charging my phone in a place that is not directly next to my bed. It usually gives you time to choose real life over the virtual first thing in the morning.
Be patient with yourself.
Just because you had a day controlled by social media, doesn’t mean you should get discouraged and let the bad habit continue. Nope! We aren’t giver-uppers like that!
Old habits die hard, they say. But consciousness about a problem is key.
Realize too much screen usage encourages apathy.
What is apathy? Good ol’ Merriam Webster describes it as, “a lack of feeling or emotion, impassiveness.” or “a lack of interest or concern, indifference.”
I don’t know about you, but that is the last way I want to live my life. I want my life to be spent being a light and encouragement to all around me. That, in and of itself, demands a higher level of feeling and emotional intelligence, (not to mention motivation) unlike any other!
Being mindful of the effects of our choices is extremely important. I’ve noticed social media getting in the way of things I love the most. My faith, my family, my writing, my art. I feel like I don’t “have time” for anything, when really I would have plenty if I would place what is most important first.
Another thing apathy does is wiggle its way in front of the goals we want to accomplish in life. Or, it could be preventing goal-making to begin with! I mean, with all this time on screens who even has time to think about what they really want to be doing in life? Apathy is a pro at doing its best to prevent fulfillment and feelings of fulfillment in what we do, what we create, and who we are. It’s a pretty well-rounded villain.
A lot of the times when we wonder, “why am I feeling this empty?” it is because we are choosing what is empty.
Instead, become intrigued with life again. Start seeing the beauty in the little, in the flowers you see randomly while you are walking the streets, in the kind words exchanged by people around you, in the art of the world, and the words that poetic souls come up with.
Which leads us to our another tip to overcome this unbalanced view of media…
Use screens to your advantage, not disadvantage.
By all means, I am not telling you that media is altogether the antagonist to your protagonist, but it will be that that way if you allow it to be!
We spend hours and hours on things that are virtually useless to us, in the long run.
And as a result of doing this, we neglect the fact that we are in an age that has a remarkable amount of resources at its fingertips. We have the freedom to grow in our knowledge or artistic capabilities, by the availability of countless videos showing tips and tricks.
If we wish to be better writers, we can go online to study vocabulary and poetic forms..If we want to become better painters, we have access to millions of videos of talented artists that give perspective on ways they’ve grown in their art! If you want to learn about history, about carpentry, about architecture…newsflash: you can.
It’s proven that some of the BEST learning is indeed done by our own want to learn, outside the classroom. So, why are we not taking advantage of this? This should be making us jump out of our seats, and yell, “YES!” But that apathy has kicked in, hasn’t it?
See, we humans are very prone to simply wanting the entertainment side of media. We are a nation seeking amusement. Amuse literally meaning to “not think” or to “distract”. That is something we have to make a distinct effort to unlearn.
So, now that we are informed of a well-rounded approach to the technology bombarding us in everyday life…
I wish for you to be in control of your screens, not the other way around.
Search for substance, my friend, even in your screen usage. Find documentaries you think would intrigue you. Search for knowledge. Write! Read! Use all these resources for your creativity. But never let the incessant media presence cloud your mind of what really matters.
Not saying there aren’t times for memes, or cat videos, or Netflix shows…but it’s always a temptation for us to ONLY view these things, losing sight of the real purpose of this life we live. Make the time you do spend on screens less frequent and more useful by viewing it as a tool to grow you as an individual, not to hinder you from any real human connection or growth.
Thanks for listening to my little observations.
Until next time,