A friend of mine looked me dead in the eyes and said: "You have the most amazing life." I froze as my eyes glassed over with tears and my face started to burn. "Every time I see what you're doing your adventuring somewhere new, climbing mountains, jumping off waterfalls or hanging out at the beach." Still frozen as the lump in my throat almost blocked off my airways. I had no response....she was absolutely right.
I'd been working for myself which meant I could work whenever I chose. It was summer and I'd decided to take on some shifts as a surfing instructor more so I could 'get out into the water' and onto a surfboard. Around this time I'd been on a few interstate trips to visit some friends and to be honest if you had looked at my Instagram feed. You would have probably drawn the same conclusion.
The problem was, I'd started to be sucked into the small stories of my mind. You know the ones. There driven by the ego and put up a pretty good argument that your not good enough, worthy enough, pretty enough and pretty much send you into a chaotic spiral of you wanting all that you don't have. The grass is greener on the other side.
There was a number of ego stories I'd been buying into like 'when are you going to settle down, find a nice man and have a family', or 'what about getting a 'proper' full-time job'. Everyone else is doing it and your falling behind. The ego makes these stories so believable that they quickly engulf your thoughts and take over hours of wasted energy and thinking time.
In this mindset, it's easy to fall into the comparison trap and social media will happily fuel that fire. My life had been less structured than most at this point which meant times of immersed adventure and excitement. The flip side was I had periods of boredom nothing to do or not wanting to do anything.
I'd turned to social media, which is not a cure for boredom. Yet it's an easy place for the ego to create stories, to fall down the rabbit hole and get sucked into the 5-10% of someone else's life. You see what you want to see and your mind makes up the rest. But you have no idea. So many people are very good at painting a beautiful picture of their life, including me.
But I promise you everyone is the same. Despite what you see on social media the reality is that we are all dealt the same hand, it's just how we perceive it. People face terrible trauma and suffer through horrific events, we all do. Some events may seem worse than others but our dealings with them can be similar taking us through the entire spectrum of emotions.
A few weeks ago as my life started a new transition. I could feel myself being sucked into that 5-10%. My ego stories where headlining consistently in my mind. So much was going on, incredibly exciting and heartbreaking. It all came to a head a few days before I was to depart for a two-week job to Cambodia. I'd had enough. With two weeks away I had hastily decided to go offline, well off social media anyway.
At first, this was just an idea, and I'd toyed with it many times before but never actually done it. After a few days, I finally made the decision, I laugh at that now having come out the other side.
So what did I learn from switching off social media?
- Nothing is more exciting that my own life. The opportunities and experiences that I am faced with when tuning into the present moment.
- I became more creative. If I found myself with nothing to do I would write, read, research things I was interested in or simply just sit in the moment and listen to the inspiration I was attracting.
- I found it easier to be 100% present. Taking out the distraction of Facebook, Instagram and everyone else's lives I was able to just be here and now. I had a much clearer focus and felt more connected to what was happening around me.
- I had better conversations. Mostly I was talking with teenagers and local Cambodians and because I felt more present I felt like I had better connections with those who's path I crossed.
- I appreciated my experiences fully. This also relates to being present, I had an immense appreciation for what I was doing and was really able to sit in those feelings.
- I stopped comparing and judging others. No longer was I concerned about who was doing what, it seemed freeing to not have to be engulfed by other people's news.
Of course, there were times when I wanted to jump online and have a sneaky check of Instagram or Facebook or share a photo of some of the epic places we were travelling too. But I resisted and felt better for being impeccable to my word.
When I finally did log back on again a few days ago, it was nice to see the news I had missed and what my friends were up to. Yet it was nothing that couldn't wait and not something I felt like I needed to indulge in 5 times a day.
As a kid and teenager, growing up all we knew was who or what was in our presence. Our family, our friends and what happened at school. Today through social media the presence of the world is just a click away. Hollywood, rock stars, sportspeople, public figures or simply just our friends and family we could sit in their lives all day if we chose to (or 5% of them anyway). If you're not in the right frame of mind, through social media, it's easy to slide into comparison, judgement, overwhelm and even depression. If you feel like any of this and your spending a lot of time online, check in with yourself. You may just need to tune back into your own life.
Adventures, Wanderlusters, Travellers.....You've had the most amazing adventure, travelling, working and living across this beautiful planet. Now your back to where you left off, the 'real world.' You have grown, you've seen, you've experienced. But back home, nothing has changed. You just cant relate to those around you. Ive created the WILD TRIBE for you and all of us. A place to come together to exchange experiences, share stories and create the next chapter of your life...just sign up below. Cant wait to see you there.