Emily Marciel reflects on finding peace in a trending world.
Upon being asked, “How do you stay afloat?” my mind does a double take. I rarely feel overwhelmed by the rapidly expanding society, it is a nonchalance crafted from years of picking and choosing. Yet like any skill, it can be learned. I invite readers to consider four methods to regain their social center in an ever changing world.
Lesson the first: Be uncomfortable
When I was on the brink of graduating from college, I spent one month engrossed in my own experiment of the self. For thirty days I did not engage in social media. I stopped watching television and reading magazines. Decidedly I abstained from the use of convenient internet search engines, Facebook, Tumblr, and time consuming websites.
I no longer gathered news about the world from the internet. Gradually, I grew content with my way of life; however, as I further alienated myself from my peers, I found I developed the peculiar trait of babbling.
I talked in circles, desperately, trying to convince my classmates and friends to cut out the instantaneous. Two weeks in my life had become a rich surprise, although I felt bored, I was also comforted by the lull. Frequently, I would have memories flood back to me from childhood during mundane tasks such as repairing a bike tube or making a sandwich.
What’s more I took the time to meditate on my feelings. What would happen if you intentionally decided to disengage from something that you do for convenience, comfort, or boredom? Would you be more creative?
Develop better night vision? Would each day drip from your finger tips?
2. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet
One of my favorite college professors once gave a student a very valuable piece of advice. It was mid-morning; he stood casually at attention in his Doc Martins, as she paired her opinion with evidence from something she read on the internet. After listening, he advised her not to believe everything she reads on the internet.
It was not that the student was naïve rather he was more in tuned to how she was using the information. She had leaned on it, hard, and worshipped it as fact. Know that your ideas are worth sharing without the support of what is trending. Welcome the vulnerability of speaking your mind; disagree, retract, engage.
3. Ponder your existence
In the nineteenth century, a group of textile workers revolted against being replaced by machines. Their livelihoods were being threatened when technology such as spinning frames and power looms made a meticulous artisan disposable. Isolated incidents in history report the disgruntled revolutionaries as smashing the very machines that overshadowed them.
Examine how dynamic your craft is, the time that goes into the numbers on your paycheck.
Let your phone battery die. Examine the overwhelming accessibility of technology. Take a head count of noses to smart phones while you are in line at a coffee shop or grocery store.
Cringe at the vision of the young mother as she scrolls through a screen as her ten month old is strapped to her chest, a confined viewer. Next time you are sitting in bumper to bumper traffic instead of texting, try to get the driver in the big rig to the right of you to honk his horn; better yet catch the eye of the cutie on your left in the Honda Civic.
Drink tap water from the sink. Live with conviction. Realize that no Instagram filter can capture the feeling of failure, anxiety, or love.
Allow the Universe the opportunity to surprise you. Take off your boot and smash your smart phone if you feel so inclined.
The beauty of the term staying afloat is that there is an often overlooked option. No one said you have to tread water; sculling gets exhausting. The next time you are running ragged to keep up, take a deep breath and sink.
Welcome the silence. Bury your toes in the mud. Look up at the surface ripples from below.