“My only resolution this year is to create interesting things from the slowest pace possible” ~ Heather Havrilesky.
Everyone’s too busy, and everything is just too fast. This year, it is time to pace down and create your own stories of the time, age, and success. Whitney Lauritsen shows the value of slowing down to find connection and joy and why it is more important than stressing about the future and the past. Whitney also shares her personal history and evolution with social media, including feeling drawn in and trapped by the desire for validation and connection and how the relationship with social media has changed over time. This is the right time to live by your standards and values. Tune in to this inspiring episode with Whitney Lauritsen.
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Breaking Through The Fog: Slowing Down To Find Connection & Joy
I’m going to begin this episode, which is the first episode that I’m recording in 2023 altogether. I was reading this article I found that was recommended by an old friend of mine. I’m going to share a few quotes from that, “My only resolution this year is to create interesting things from the slowest place possible. This is your year to be exactly who you are, where you are without a clock ticking down. Feel the hours of this day stretch out before you.”
“Nothing I’ve ever believed or written about has made more of a difference than my firm commitment to move away from our culture’s panic stories about time, age and success and locate myself on my planet where time moves slowly and each moment is worth living no matter what’s going on around me. Take a sledgehammer to your tiny little anxious window on the world and let some air and some light in.”
Those words came from a site that I had never checked out before. It is on Substack and I believe the author’s name is Heather. Although, the site’s called Ask Polly. In real-time, I’m going to go check this out because I assume that this writer’s name is Polly but it looks like her name is Heather. Heather Havrilesky is an Advice Columnist, Cultural Critic and author of the memoir Foreverland and three other books, which I want to check out. It’s something else called Ask Polly. I don’t know but those quotes resonated with me.
It’s from a post that Heather put out on January 3rd, 2023, which is a day before I’m doing this episode. The title of that article is called I’m So Far Behind. It’s written as an advice column. I would read this entire article to you if that made sense. Maybe I’ll try to invite Heather on the show without knowing anything about her yet and not even knowing if her pronouns are Her. There’s so much in here. I’ll read a few. I’m sure I won’t get to them all.
So Far Behind
“No one is ahead or behind. No one is best or better. Every day you’re alive, you have a new opportunity to enjoy existence on this strange planet. Nothing will make you more special than learning to appreciate the perfect ragged textures of this moment right now. You need to focus on how well you can soak up the small satisfactions of this day, the little connections, the movement of your gorgeous mind from one thought to the next.”
“The brilliance of your body’s motion in space, the light from the window, the sounds from the street below. There is no hourglass running out. No alarm will go off if you don’t learn everything in time or win all of the awards quickly. No one is watching and measuring. No one holds a secret key to happiness. Being present makes it possible to love other people the way they deserve to be loved. When you’re fully present, you can set aside the trippy, anxious measurements of our shortsighted culture and see yourself for what you are.”
“You wouldn’t think one lie could drain your energy and generate untold panic and stress every day but that’s how lies work. They’re bad for your body, your outlook and your ability to enter each day with a spirit of openness and discovery. Learning to be honest with yourself and others, even when they don’t understand, will give you more room to live by your own standards and values. When you commit to honesty and commit to slowing down and savoring the luxury of being alive as much as you can.”Learning to be honest with yourself and others, even when they don't understand, will give you more room to live by your standards and values. Click To Tweet
“When you commit to drinking and knowledge and embracing the beauty and delighting in the unpredictable weirdos around you, you will be misunderstood regularly. You cannot, in fact, be open to the world exactly as it is. Let it into your pores, breathe it into your lungs and also be appropriate and clear and perfect and right on time. You don’t have to mold yourself into a shape that makes you more comprehensible to others. You take the risk of believing in who you are and what you love and you don’t apologize for those things even when no one gets it.”
“Figure out what kind of space you want to create inside safe from all of that noise. Step into the storm for a second and feel the shame and disapproval. Eat it up, breathe it in, don’t rush to catch up, stay exactly where you are and feel every golden second of it.” Those were all my highlights from that article. It resonated with me on so many levels. It was perfect timing.You don't have to mold yourself into a shape that makes you more understandable to others. Figure out what kind of space you want to create inside. Safe from all of that noise. Step into the storm for a second and feel the shame and disapproval. Click To Tweet
I didn’t even expect to find that article. It came from a recommendation from an old friend, someone I haven’t been in touch with in a long time. Her name’s Siel and she’s a big part of my story. Maybe even someone I could credit with being here because I met Siel through a talk she gave in 2008 in Santa Monica, California. She spoke in this series at this local grocery store, a coop that I belonged to.
In 2008, I was deep into my vegan journey. Still new because I went vegan in 2003. 2023 marks twenty years of me being vegan. It felt new in 2008, for sure, in hindsight. I was also becoming even more passionate about sustainability. I would go to a lot of these talks at the coop in Santa Monica and Siel spoke at one of them. She was there with 2 other girls whose names I don’t recall but I got to know all 3 of them.
Siel stood out to me for a lot of reasons. She had this blog, I believe it was called Green LA Girl and I was in awe of it. I thought, “How cool that she was helping people in Los Angeles understand how to be more eco-friendly?” I started reading her blog and connecting with her. She was open to bringing me into her world and eventually becoming friends. I felt so honored and there was this pivotal moment, ironically, to a lot of the things I intend to talk about.
I went to her apartment one day in Santa Monica and outside it was a fold-up bike. I mentioned something about it to her and she goes, “I was given that bike to review.” She said it nonchalantly. I was amazed she got a free bike because she was a blogger. I’ve mentioned that bike on the show at least once before because I remember thinking, “It was incredible.” That started opening up these possibilities in my mind that I wanted to get free stuff.
It’s funny to look back on it. In 2008, blogging was the only major form of influence. YouTube started in 2007. Instagram I don’t think had been established yet. Facebook was established so Facebook was a predominant social media platform back then. Twitter was starting to gain some momentum of being taken seriously so I didn’t know many people.
If anyone else beyond Siel in that small group of women that I started to meet through her, it was nowhere like it is in 2023, where it’s common to know somebody who’s a social media influencer or a blogger. Even the word blogger, I don’t even know if people use it as much. I’m not connected to that world but that bike is this idea that you’d be gifted something in exchange for reviewing it.
I loved writing and reviewing. Seeing that bike launched me into my whole career and where I am, even though it looks very different. It’s a little interesting to look back on that because there was an innocence I had in 2008 around that world. Most people had innocence because aside from people like Siel, I don’t know much about history. Blogging was not my passion. Social media became my passion.
Blogging I felt was my segue to social media. It was all I had because there weren’t social media influencers on the few platforms back then so that didn’t even seem like a possibility. That innocence is interesting and something I want to tune more into, especially taking in some of the words that I read from that article because I felt a little lost over the past few years.
I remember it feeling extremely heavy for me in January 2020 and here I am years later feeling like I’m coming out of a bit of a fog and gaining some more clarity but still knowing I have a long way to go. When I look back on the innocence I had, seeing that bike at Siel’s home, what she was doing with her amazing website, how an incredible writer she was and how she was running ads on there, generating money and speaking appearances, that was the beginning stages.
Also a pivotal moment with Siel, we went to a party together. She invited me as her guest and we walked in the door. Somebody stopped her on the way in and told her how much they loved her blog. I felt like, “She’s getting free stuff, making money from ads and people are recognizing her.” Most of those things are not what I want anymore. That’s the clarity I have. I can see why a lot of people enjoy getting those things but there’s a cost to it that I’m aware of but not entirely clear on.
This is what I mean by the fog. I felt a bit taken advantage of by this world I entered. By no fault of Siel. I want to be clear. Siel wasn’t even encouraging me, I don’t think. I remember when I started Eco-Vegan Gal, I almost called it Eco-Vegan Girl. I chose the word Gal because I didn’t want Siel to think I was copying her. Green LA Girl and Eco Vegan Girl sounded a lot alike. I was like, “I’ll switch it up a little.”
I remember thinking, “I don’t want her to feel like I’m trying to replicate what she’s doing.” It’s interesting to come around. I was reading Siel’s newsletter. She doesn’t do Green LA Girl anymore. She has her Substack. She is a phenomenal writer. She linked to this Ask Polly website. This is how it’s all connected. It’s interesting. One of the big things that I’ve been working on for the past few years is slowing down and finding my pace.
I have resonated with so many books about that. One of them was Celeste Headlee’s book. Celeste came on the show. Her book Do Nothing was pivotal for me and I read that in 2020. It has a lot of the same messaging there. That phrasing that Heather used in Ask Polly about cultures, panic and stories about time, age and success, that’s how I felt. The general panic, stress and pressure ate away at me so much.
I didn’t begin to feel that until when this show started because Jason, my former cohost and I were noticing how vapid elements of social media creation felt for us. In the influencer and content creator world, it started to feel so fake and transactional. People were being taken advantage of, used and manipulated. As I’ve read books like Stolen Focus, I feel a responsibility to myself and other people to speak out about this because there still feels like a general fog.
That memory I have from 2008 of feeling excited about getting things for free, getting paid for creative work and getting attention and validation from other people, those emotions rule so much of this, at least in my experience. They keep this fog around many of us and blur it a bit where it’s hard to make decisions. I’m trying to see through the fog or even dissipate it and clear it ideally so I can be more in tune with myself.
One thing I did on the first of 2023 was to delete social media apps from my phone. I laugh because it simultaneously feels like this big deal and not a big deal. People do that all the time. It’s not a big deal for most platforms because I barely use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram. They’re not something I visit much. I’ll usually go to each platform with a purpose. For example, on Facebook, I use groups. I use messaging sometimes.
Every once in a while, I dabble in the Facebook marketplace and generally feel very irritated by how poor of an experience that is. I deleted these apps off my phone but it’s been a different experience on my computer. On my computer, it gets into the way the technology works. Visiting social media on a computer is a whole different experience. Some functionality doesn’t work on a computer. It only works well within mobile apps.
I feel like it’s less tempting to scroll for a while to get absorbed into it. I feel like I can have a more conscious relationship with social media. My intention is to take a big break, if not fully step away from social media. I haven’t decided yet but maybe it’ll be fluid. Maybe no decision needs to happen. When I went on to Facebook, I saw this message from my old college roommate whom I miss. This person was important to me during the time that we lived together in the dormitories.
She randomly reached out to me but I didn’t know because I don’t go on Facebook that much. Similarly Twitter. I feel a bit heartbroken over Twitter because Twitter was a huge part of my social media journey. Once I started Eco-Vegan Gal in 2008, I started using Twitter a ton. I got mentioned in Twitter roundups. I got my first press pieces back then. It all started to snowball a lot.
I have so much nostalgia for Twitter. I go on Twitter every once in a while and feel sad because the behind-the-scenes of Twitter as a business feel a bit disturbing, even though I still have some positive feelings about Elon Musk. I’m starting to feel less of that and more uncomfortable with the decisions he is made there. I go on Twitter and feel icky, to be honest, and yet sad because I would like it to be what it used to be.
I only go to Instagram to check notifications and respond to messages. In the past, I’ve encouraged readers like yourself to reach out to me through Instagram in a direct message but I want to be clear that I might go on Instagram once a week at most to read messages. I would prefer not to, to be honest. I want to phase that out in 2023 as best I can.
It’s tough with all this history. That’s one thing that explains some of the fog that I feel and maybe many of us step into social media as a culture and society with a lot of excitement and trust for the most part. For someone like myself that built a career off of social media and still has that career, I work with clients advising them on social media so it’s still a big part of my life.
It probably will remain so for 2023, I don’t know. It’s hard to step away and look out outside of it. It’s also hard to leave it behind when so much of your life is intertwined with it. I can announce all sorts of things and people still might not see it. That’s one of the worst parts about social media. There’s so much information and the algorithms don’t show everybody everything. It sometimes feels impossible to convey things.
I remember a great example showing this is not a new thing at all. When I moved away from Los Angeles in 2010, I left for a year. I had a big going away party. I don’t know if I expected to never come back to LA. I don’t even know why I had a going away party but I moved to LA in 2004. I had been in town for a long time and had a party. That party and all my posts about living in San Francisco for a year resonated with people. I was gone for about a year and a few months. When I moved back, it took years for people to know that I moved back. I would get so irritated because people would say, “I didn’t know you moved back.” I am like, “I talk about it on social media all the time. Don’t you see?”
Even in 2012, social media was set up that people would miss your important information. I acknowledge this because that is helpful in realizing that you can say something over and over again and people will not see, hear or understand it. It goes to show that no matter how hard you try to put information out there, a percentage of people will never know or care. Maybe that can help with realizing that it’s not the most effective form of communication or maybe no form of communication is truly effective because people’s brains are scattered and people think and process information differently.
For so long, I felt a lot of pressure to do social media right. The more that I read books that touch upon or dive deep into social media and technology, I recognize that they’re no right way, as Ask Polly said in some of those quotes too. A lot of this strive for things that we’re never going to achieve and yet, we’re told over and over again that we can achieve them.Many of us strive for things we're never going to achieve, yet we're repeatedly told that we can achieve them. Click To Tweet
A book that I started reading is called Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. I heard about this book ironically through TikTok. Let me pause there because I realize I didn’t finish my deletion of social media talks. I deleted all these apps and the hardest one for me was TikTok. I joined TikTok in 2019. I spent using that app almost every single day.
Let’s say I’ve been using TikTok for 1,000 days and most of them are consecutive. To delete it off my phone and spend four days in a row not using it feels significant. It’s something that I’ve been wanting to do but didn’t feel the motivation to do. There’s a benefit to New Year’s for me, which is that there’s an opportunity to experiment with something on the first day of the year, see what happens and say, “A lot of people in society have New Year’s resolutions. Maybe I can participate, even though I don’t fully resonate with resolutions anymore.”
At the first of the year, I didn’t want social media to play a big role in my life. I didn’t want to be consumed by it. I didn’t want to be staring at my phone all day. I wanted to see what happened and it’s amazing how much of a shift that it’s had for me in the past four days. I want to keep going as a result. It’s interesting when you try something that feels quite radical for you or different or a big shift that you might start off doing day by day and each day, your resilience can grow. It can feel interesting to continue.
That’s my plan and I’ll keep you posted. It’s also amazing that four days can have these huge ripple effects. For me, I started reading a ton more. Get ready because historically, I quote a lot of books on this show and rave about them. That has a possibility of increasing. I picked up a new book. I have a tendency to read multiple books at a time and switch back and forth.
I’m struggling with reading fiction but I’m slowly working my way towards that. That may or may not come up. I’m going to try reading a few books that I saw the movie versions of. One was the movie White Noise on Netflix, which I didn’t like. I appreciated the elements of it. I felt very curious about what the book was like because people have read the book.
The other that I watched is called Where the Crawdads Sing. I’ve heard of the book and the movie and I was blown away by the movie. It was so good and much better. There’s a great twist at the end I never saw coming. I’m looking forward to reading the book version because I bet it’s even better. Nonfiction though tends to be my preference and that has been what I turned to.
Generally, when I feel tired or overstimulated and I need a break, I will get on my phone and scroll through TikTok until I feel satisfied. The trick is that I have often felt a conflict there, which is a sense of stimulation. It almost feels like I’m getting the dopamine hit that I want and yet, along with that comes a lot of negativity.
I might fall into the comparison trap of seeing people who are younger than me and feeling less worthy because I’m older. Society has all of these weird, as Heather put it, panicked stories about age and time and so much success placed upon younger people. That might not even be true because everybody has somebody younger than them unless they were born a second ago. Even then, someone could have been born half a second ago and be younger than you.
It’s so amazing to reflect on age and the comparisons around that because everybody experiences that in life and yet society puts all of these strange emphases on it. I think about age and why I fall into the comparison trap. Let’s say I’m on TikTok and I see a girl at X age. I’ll think back to my life at X age. Let me tell you, most of the time when I think back to that, I didn’t feel happier than I am now.
I might not have been happier. I might have been less happy. When I think back to who I was in 2008, for example, there was excitement and promise and in hindsight, I can say, “If only I knew what life would be like fifteen years later,” but I didn’t know that then. Back then, I was already comparing myself. Even though I wasn’t using social media, I was comparing myself to Siel for example. I envied her.
I thought she had all these things that I wanted and I had all this work to do to get there. It’s silly to compare ourselves and for society to place so much emphasis on age and yet, it’s hard to control that. That’s one of the reasons TikTok didn’t feel that good. That’s how our brains work. I don’t know if it’s possible at all not to compare.
As a society, we’ve evolved to compare. That was a huge component of TikTok. Every few seconds, every 10 to 60, maybe a few minutes I would spend on one TikTok before I scrolled to the next. It was that instant impression of someone and whether I felt better or worse than them. Even when I felt better than somebody after watching a TikTok, that’s not the greatest feeling. I don’t want to feel better then but it happens.
Maybe I feel like my appearance, age, work, life and home are better than theirs. It’s like looking for that validation. Speaking of validation, TikTok has built on that. It gives everybody the opportunity to be validated and simultaneously, everybody’s the opportunity to feel invalidated because you might post a video and go viral on TikTok but you also could post a video and barely get any views at all and feel awful that nobody cares and your content wasn’t worthwhile.
You could post a comment and get tons of people to like your comment. You can post a comment and get negativity around it and cruel responses or you can post a comment and nobody will respond at all. I experienced that all the time. I had one comment go “viral.” The last time I checked, it had 16,000 likes on my work. My words under a video got all of this attention. It simultaneously made me feel good and annoyed me.
I’m like, “I’ve had enough. I don’t need anymore.” I get it. People resonate with those words but beyond the heart and the like there, they had no other meaning or benefit in my life. It’s not like people were liking my comments and saying, “Whitney Lauritsen, what a great human being.” No, they resonated with my words and that’s it and they moved on. It felt unpleasant in a lot of ways because something that was meant to maybe make me feel validated ended up making me feel very empty and annoyed to get all those notifications.
There were other times I would comment on a video and nobody would acknowledge it. I would feel empty from that too because I thought, “Nobody cares about what I said.” Isn’t that sad? I’m commenting for connection. I talked about how my desire for social media is connection. Sometimes putting something out in the world or nobody responding to it feels like the exact opposite of connection feels lonely and disconnected.
I had that experience on TikTok all the time, wondering if I said something wrong, something people were laughing at, misinterpreted, misunderstood or whatever else. I would get caught up in this stuff. I’m going to miss and I have missed the dopamine hits from TikTok but I’m getting satisfaction from the movies I’ve watched. I started watching some more documentaries and critically acclaimed movies. I started watching things that make me feel good and that’s helping my attention span too.
It’s a huge thing people have noticed through platforms like TikTok and Instagram. This stuff happens too with Instagram Reels and all of that style of these quick short videos are impacting a lot of our attention spans and the desire to seek dopamine hit and validation, all this stuff over and over again. People have noticed that it’s impacted the way that they watch long-form content and that they don’t feel like they have the attention span for it anymore.
That concerned me because I would notice how I started to get bored watching TV and movies. I felt antsy and I’m like, “Get to the good part,” to sit down and watch some of these long movies. I’ve watched a couple and Avatar. That movie was over three hours long. I felt like, “What a great exercise to sit in a movie theater and not be on my phone and focus on something for that long.” That’s important and the same thing with reading books. It takes focus and presence. That might not give us the dopamine hits but maybe over time, it can.
I don’t know if that’s true but I would like that to be true. I feel like being off TikTok has slowed down time too. Reading this book, Four Thousand Weeks has been fascinating because it touches upon our experience of time. As human beings, we on average only have 4,000 weeks of life. That’s what that title means. I had never thought about the average lifespan in terms of time.
Four thousand does not seem like that big of a number and it is a bit of a wake-up call but also recognizing that we have different experiences with time. Our experience of time fluctuates throughout our life, depending on circumstances. It has been said that the older you get, the faster life seems to go and that scares me.Our experience of time fluctuates throughout our life, depending on circumstances. The older you get, the faster life seems to go. Click To Tweet
I remember my grandfather saying that. I don’t want that to be the case for me. I don’t know if I can control it but I feel a desire to be conscious about time, like Polly was saying, “To feel the hours of the day stretch out before you and to create interesting things from the slowest place possible.” To savor it, that’s what that’s about. Social media has not helped me savor it. I feel a bit heartbroken when I think back over these few years that I’ve spent so immersed in social media.
I want to note that social media appeals to me on so many levels, some that I am not fully aware of yet. Before social media, I was creating my versions of it so it filled a hole for me. It met a need perhaps or a desire for me, which through the exchange with my old college roommate, I found this website I made while we were in college, years before social media was developed or maybe not. Years is accurate. Maybe it was 1 year or 2 before I got on Facebook and all of that started to develop.
I created my version of Facebook on this website. It’s funny because I have pictures and captions. I would write in a style that is how people write for social media captions. That was helpful for me because I recognize that there is authenticity to me. I was doing it before it was a trend. It’s funny, Jamie Lee Curtis says this. On at least one talk show, she has said that she helped invent Instagram. She did a similar thing where she got a group of people together. They were posting their photos and captions and stuff like that.
We were yearning for that as a society. I was yearning for that in college, the desire to showcase my life, tell people things and gather information. I started blogging before Eco-Vegan Gal. I was sharing journals of my life and that felt satisfying. I’ve been journaling for a good part of my life. Many people enjoy documenting and some of us want to keep it private but many of us want somebody else to witness us.
We want to be seen and feel heard. Some of us want that validation that I’ve described. Maybe most of us do. It feels good to feel validated. It feels good for someone to approve of us, like us and follow us. It gives us a sense of importance and meaning in life that most of us are striving for. The heartbreak that I felt over the past years is that social media started to consume me so much. Probably because it, A) Gave me validation on a personal level but, B) It gave me a career path as I saw Siel getting that.
I yearned for making money through my passions and personality. It felt like this big ease of work and excitement of like, “There’s so much money to be made,” but I fell into a trap because I felt like I was so close to making all of this money by being myself. The trick was I got farther away from myself and that is sad. I also got farther away from life and life sped up. Those years went by in a blink of an eye. I’m not blaming that on social media but I see how I wasn’t fully savoring things. I wasn’t connecting with people as deeply. I wasn’t the true expression of myself.
I was a version of myself that was shaped by whom I thought I needed to be to make money and get validation. That makes me feel a little sick to my stomach. I wasn’t savoring life because I was so focused on creating that image and looking at all these moments that I saw through the lens of a camera and thought about through the framework of writing a social media caption or a blog post. I still do it. I’m not through the fog. I’m not in the clear yet. I thought about this episode, for example.
Sometimes when I read a book, I’m distracted because I’m thinking about how I could talk about it on the show. That I feel okay with. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t. That feels like a gentler version of what I’ve experienced over the past years, in which the heartbreak is spending so many years taking pictures of beautiful things instead of being in the beauty.
When I did my 2020 road trip, the first of my annual tradition of traveling across the country, I was with my friend Leanne. It’s a pivotal time for me. I read the Do Nothing book around that time too. I was starting to ponder a lot of these things. At the beginning of 2020, I was trying to figure that out. This is nine months into 2020 in September and it struck me how I didn’t want to be in photos.
I didn’t want to spend my time on that trip taking photos and writing social media posts and Leanne did. I would see the photos that she was taking and the caption she was writing. There are moments when I notice that we’re still in the moment. We’re still there but both of us felt pressure to document it for people that weren’t there. Sometimes, we would wait and post things when we were doing something that seemed more boring.
With all this pondering I’ve been doing lately feels silly to see any moment of life as boring. If we only have 4,000 weeks on average, there isn’t perhaps any truly boring moment. In the book Four Thousand Weeks, the author points out that the concept of feeling bored is not something human beings have always experienced. He documents different points of life and our relation to time, work and all that. That’s a relatively new thing for us, according to him.
I don’t know if this is fully true but the fact that there was this one moment on that road trip in 2020 with Leanne where she was posting her social media caption as we are charging my car in a parking lot but we were in Sedona, Arizona. That was my first time in Sedona and it’s a beautiful place. It’s known for having healing, spiritual and energetic properties. We were in this cool parking lot and yet that was boring.The concept of feeling bored is not something human beings have always experienced. Click To Tweet
That was a period where we deemed it necessary to spend time on our phones and social media. Looking back, I find that odd. There was truly no part of that trip that was boring to me. In hindsight, it was all amazing. It was all worthy of being savored and yet so much of that was spent perceiving it as boring and evaluating what parts of that trip were worthy of being posted and considered a highlight. What if it was all a highlight?
Social media forces us to view life through that lens of what’s a highlight, what’s a lowlight and what’s Instagram-worthy. On top of all of that, we edit commonly. Not all of us but many of us edit our highlights. Not only are we plucking things out of life and judging them based on excitement and boredom, highlights and lowlights and then crafting this whole post around them but then we edit them. We edit our words about them, the photos and videos. We cut things out.
We’re doing that too. Social media has shifted the way our brains work and the way that we perceive things. There are all these other elements of social media, the measurements that happen. I was thinking about how I’m planning to go to an event for podcasting. I felt a bit conflicted about going on several levels but I’m compelled to go because I would love to learn some new perspectives on podcasting since this is my main creative outlet and something I care deeply about.
One thing I’ve considered is, “What if I continue being off social media? What if when I get to this event in three weeks somebody asked me what my social media handle is?” I cringe at that. My stomach tightens because it’s commonplace. In an environment like going to a podcast event, it is common practice to exchange social media handles, tag each other in posts and take pictures together. I don’t want to do any of that.
I’m an adult or any human being is able to opt-out and state that they don’t do those things but it’s complicated for me because I also have a career in social media strategy, consulting and all that. There’s a ripple effect to opting out. There’s also a societal or community cost because if everybody or the majority is doing something and you opt out of it, you can feel disconnected, isolated, alone and weird. I have to weigh out that for myself. What are the costs? What are the benefits? I don’t know yet. It’s something I will be exploring.
It might not seem like that big of a deal. Couldn’t I say to people, “I’m not doing social media now?” That could have a big benefit. What if that strikes up a more interesting conversation? I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this but I met my friend Paul Jarvis through social media. If not directly through social media, we probably met somehow through the journey of social media. To my knowledge, Paul is not on it at all. I don’t even know if he posts on his website anymore. He’s an incredible writer.
If you’re not familiar with him, he’s released several books. He’s been on this show. You can read his episode if you’d like. He runs an online business but yet has opted out of social media. I have so much respect for him. That is so cool. I’ve known Paul for many years. We’ve become closer since he left social media. It is an indication that you don’t have to lose connection with somebody because you opt out of that system.
I may not respond to direct messages on social media anymore. I may choose to communicate with people through email and my private community Beyond Measure. My preference would be Beyond Measure. I would rather connect with you there in one place because it’s a safe place. It’s a place designed for connection versus social media that does not feel designed for connection.
That is what I keep coming back to if the connection is what I’m seeking and if I’m in alignment with what Heather said, which is, “My only resolution this year is to create interesting things from the slowest place possible.” I would add my resolution is to experiment with social media, my relationship with it and also to create a connection but I like this slow element. I want to savor things. I want to be more in tune with myself. I want to do less shaping.
I’m working on unmasking myself and revealing who I am at the core, not who I’ve become to please other people, fit in and all of that. It takes a lot of work, funny enough, to strip away. It also goes against a lot of social constructs and that’s what makes it hard. It’s hard to shift out of the habit that you’ve been doing for many years as I have. Looking over my notes, one thing I wrote down as I was reflecting on this episode is maybe it’s better not to know what everyone else is doing as I said about the comparison.
The thing I’ve enjoyed about TikTok is being in the know and I’ve been afraid of missing out, that fear of missing. I made a note of that in one of the books I was reading. I can’t remember where it came from but there’s a lot to reflect on when it comes to missing out like, “Do we ever miss out?” Maybe we can tune more into that joy of missing out, which is JOMO instead of FOMO, which is something I’ve been reflecting on for years. I heard that term in 2018 or 2019. There are benefits to missing out on things.
The clarity is a big benefit. That’s something I’ve felt. I feel like I’m learning more. I’m also not fully missing out because I started reading more. I’m reading not only books more and watching documentaries but I’m also reading email newsletters that I’ve been avoiding and haven’t felt the mental space for. Being off of social media opened up mental space for me to do things that I’ve been procrastinating.There are benefits to missing out on things. The clarity is a big benefit. Click To Tweet
I’ll end to be a full circle with a quote from Siel’s newsletters, which is the whole reason I even came across Ask Polly. If it weren’t for being off social media, I probably wouldn’t have read Siel’s newsletter and I wouldn’t have discovered Ask Polly. In her newsletter, there are two great quotes. “If I have nothing to work towards, what do I even do with my days? I suppose that’s the reason we come up with resolutions to keep ourselves focused and busy. Thus, able to avoid existential questions that make us worry. Life may ultimately have no real purpose or meaning. Meaningful or meaningless, it is still fun to be alive. What if instead of working towards goals, you experimented with happiness instead?”
Isn’t it amazing that many years later, in all the ways that I shift changed and all the ways Siel’s changed, I still deeply resonate and aspire to integrate the things that she’s integrating into her life? Siel is such a beautiful example of someone that has had such an enormous impact on me in ways that she may never know unless she reads this episode. I’ve tried to tell her but I don’t even know if it resonates.
Siel, if you are reading, I’m grateful even though the path that I ended on for many years after seeing that bike in your driveway wasn’t always a joyful path. It’s still given me so much. To add to those resolutions, the idea of experimenting with happiness at a slow pace and seeking more connection and joy sounds like a lovely way to spend the future, however long that may be.
Thank you for reading. If you would like to share what’s going on in your life, I’m going to offer you one place to do that, which is Beyond Measure. I finished a Beyond Measure call, which we have every week in the community. Everyone in there is invited to join a Zoom. We gather to support one another, to hold space for one another to share and I invite you to come into that space. You can also do it through text.
Beyond Measure is set up like a social network, more like a forum, where you get into the community and post thoughts and feelings and people can comment. My favorite part of the core element is those calls where you can come on and listen. They are on Zoom and that could change in the future but it’s been an amazing tool because I developed ways for people to participate through emojis. Essentially, they’re called reactions on Zoom but you can give a thumbs up or a heart and you don’t have to say anything or opt out entirely and be there as an observer.
I’ve tried to construct it in a way that works for anyone’s interest. I’ve been saying this for years but I am slowly working towards charging for Beyond Measure. It’s been free for a few years. I started it in 2020. I’ve always had the vision of charging something to offset the cost because there are costs involved with running the platform and the time I spend. It’s a lot of work but it’s brought me deep joy and connection.
It’s integrated a lot of things I’ve talked about. I’m bringing it up because I want to remind you or tell you for the first time if you’ve never heard of it that it is the ultimate place for you and me to connect but also for you to connect with other people, people that read this show and people that I’ve met throughout my life. It benefits my life beyond words. I get so much incredible feedback from people whom it’s also benefiting from because it is always designed to keep you safe, secure and supported and uplift you in ways that you may not ever have imagined.
Whether you join while it’s still free or in the future when there might be a small charge for it, I would love to have you there. If Beyond Measure is not a fit but you would like to share something with me based on this episode or any episode of this show, I invite you to email me. Thank you for reading. Wishing you the very best with your explorations, potential resolutions and ultimate journey wherever you are in life.
I’ll be back again on the next episode with a guest on the show. Let me take a look and see whom we have coming up on the next episode. The episode is a rich one. They’re always rich but this one is about decluttering. That’ll be here on the next episode, January 20th, 2023. I have no idea what I’m going to talk about so stay tuned if you want to find out. Bye for now.
- Ask Polly
- Ask Polly
- I’m So Far Behind
- Eco-Vegan Gal
- Substack – Siel
- Celeste Headlee – Past Episode
- Do Nothing
- Stolen Focus
- Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals
- Beyond Measure
- Paul Jarvis – Past Episode
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