Blog Post Number One

So I know I missed last week - but I really wanted to stay off the computer as much as possible.

So why did I leave social media, why am I limiting my time online and taking more time to do, nothing?

I Can’t Remember The Last Time I Was Bored

Really, I can’t.

We live in a world where we have access to dopamine 24/7. The supplier and method of delivery is our phones.

Bored on the train? Go on Instagram!

Bored at home? Watch Netflix!

Bored while out with your friends? Scroll away!

I tried really hard to remember the last time I took out my phone to do something useful - something that wasn’t just to fill my time or give myself a hit of that dopamine I had learned to crave so much.

The thing is I hardly take out my phone to do anything useful at all. Since deleting Instagram and Facebook, I found myself picking up my phone and instinctively swiping to where I’d store these applications. After realizing the weren’t there - it scared the shit out of me!

Social Media had become such a reflex to me. If I had more than a few minutes that I had nothing planned, I’d pull out my phone and start to scroll.

I don’t know half the people I follow on Instagram

I know, I’m really sorry. But I don’t know who you are.

I’ve found that since I started using Instagram for “Business” I have followed an insane amount of people I’ve never once had a conversation with. Rather than making me feel more “connected” - I felt very disconnected. I wasn’t seeing content from my friends - I was seeing content from people trying to get likes, comments and followers. And honestly I contributed to that mess of content.

Instagram was no longer a place I went to express myself or a place where I could share my views (literally and figuratively ). It was a place I went to feel negatively motivated by all the success these people I haven’t even talked to were experiencing.

Before I knew it - I was comparing myself to complete strangers that honestly don’t give a crap about me.

I “need to post something”.

Because I HAVE to engage with my followers right?! I have to be putting out content EVERY DAY so that I stay relevant in peoples minds.

Yeah - no thanks, I’m depressed now.

It frustrates the hell out of me, that musicians/creators especially are consistently given this advice.

Guess what - you don’t have to post anything!

You can just live life! You can read a book without sharing what you’ve read - you can look at a beautiful sunset without having to share it.

My brain couldn’t take it anymore.

Maybe social media doesn’t bother you. Maybe you’re level headed and post once a day because YOU want to - not because some random channel on YouTube said that’s what you need to do in order to “gain a following”.

If that’s the case - then don’t feel like you have a take a month long “detox”. (although you’d probably still benefit from it).

I have an obsessive personality. When I do something - I go all in baby. No if’s, and’s or but’s.

Social media honestly ate me alive - and it’s felt amazing to unplug.

Here’s what I’ve seen in myself since I’ve “quit”.

I can (kind of) sleep again.

This one has been weird for me.

I was diagnosed with insomnia a number of years ago and I honestly could not tell you the last time I had a good nights sleep - even as a kid I would just stare at the ceiling until 3-4am until my eyes/brain couldn’t take it anymore.

But at least I was relaxed - and partially resting back then!

I’ve noticed this has started to come back - although I haven’t been able to sleep a whole lot, still, I find my mind is much more clear! (my initial reaction to this feeling was uncontrollable anxiety - “why do I have nothing to think about” sort of a thing. Yeah, I’m a wack job).

My sleep is also much more restful than what I’ve experienced over the last few years of my life.

I’ve started to fill my time with things that matter to me.

I picked up a guitar, not to write a song, but to just play it - and that took a few weeks!

I found that Social Media really leaked in to other parts of my life - including my passions, hobbies and relationships. Since deleting, I’ve found I’m doing things for me again.

I don’t pick up a guitar and immediately feel a responsibility to “create something” people will care about - I pick it up because I love to play.

I’ve even started reading again - which is wild. I’m currently reading “I Will Teach You to be Rich” and “Everything is F*cked”.

I’ve started meditating regularly, and going on walks just to be outside.

My Life Has Less Purpose.

Which is actually a good thing, believe it or not.

As someone that lives with anxiety, I have a very hard time doing anything without thinking about a thousand other things it could effect.

“Well if I don’t go to sleep now, I won’t be able to wake up on time, which means I’ll miss school, which means I’ll fail, which means I can’t get a job….” etc.

It slowly changes into this weird state of paranoia.

Doing everything for a “bigger purpose” - is honestly a waste of time. You’ll find yourself actually moving further from the joy you’re clawing to get at by checking all these little goals off your list - and thinking about how every move you make changes the course of your life somehow.

I do things more now because I want to - not because I feel like I should.

I’m far more hopeful about my life and career.

I owe that a little bit to reducing the amount of time I look at what other people are doing with their lives/careers.

It’s cool to be inspired - to look at someone and think “good for them! I think I can do something like that - let me try!”. But what’s more important is remembering that you are you. Even if you go and do exactly what that person did - you’re still going to you. The only thing that’s different now is you did a thing - great work! The real question is - did you have fun? Did it bring you joy?

I know I’m starting to sound like Marie Kondo but she’s onto something.

We need to fill our time with things we love. Often, we don’t have a choice when it comes to what we do. We work, we parent, we study - sometimes, we don’t like that stuff at all.

But when we get the chance, when we get 5 minutes, we need to try not going on our phones, and talk to someone we love, read a book in the park, sit and do nothing for a minute and be bored. (It’s oddly refreshing).

FIN.

Hopefully I haven’t come off as some pretentious douche bag that is trying to get everyone to start using a flip phone and throw their TV’s off the balcony.

Till next time.

-Eric

Thanks for reading - hopefully I’ll be back on here by next week!

Here are some links to some videos, podcasts and books that I found useful while taking a step away from social media - if you’re interested, let your brain ingest them and send me an email about what you think! (ebw@ericbrentwest.com)

Matt D’Avella - I Quit Social Media for 30 Days.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9z8_YhWoq2o

Nathaniel Drew -24 Hour Dopamine Fast.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QvEZoPy96g

The Ground Up Show - Quitting Social Media

https://open.spotify.com/episode/4wOtclQ5eV3DMzOIC0wwob

Books!

Everything is F*cked - Mark Manson

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43808723-everything-is-f-cked

I Will Teach You to be Rich - Ramit Sethi

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40591670-i-will-teach-you-to-be-rich?from_search=true

Eric West