On Checking Out

My very first Instagram post was of a pizza. A margherita, of all choices, was my first foray with the platform. The only second thought I gave to my picture was a Valencia filter and thirty seconds to contemplate #TwoForTuesdays or #2ForTuesdays. Five years and far too much time spent scrolling later, I’m now ready to get back to the simpler days when the only thought I put into the person I was online was the semantics of the pizza hashtag. I’ve been MIA over the last few months – I took some time to log-off and re-evaluate the time I spend online. Part of me wishes I could come back with a bang and say that I’ve only gone and done a Kylie Jenner, introduce you to my secret love child and get on with talking about Christmas parties and posing with cinnamon spice lattes like every other millennial with WiFi, but unfortunately I have no secret love child, just a flaky personality and a need to recover from the head cold induced from the amount of mindless scrolling.

I’ve been feeling off with social media for a long time. Conflicted, and overthinking everything. I’ve never managed to get the balance of what I share online right, but this year especially I just couldn’t work out where I felt happy. I was either sharing too much, or sharing absolutely nothing at all, and the middle ground was a no-go. Finding that happy medium of being able to write about things that interest me, take photos that I am proud of, and still be able to make money from it, just wasn’t happening, and I wasn’t even sure it existed. I found myself stuck between sharing my reality, which for the most part was being skint, tired and working in a job that I hated, or carefully curating what I put online and therefore maybe selling a false reality. When I scrolled through Instagram, I was faced with hundreds of people, my age, with children, without children, who knew exactly what they were doing and who seemed to have everything figured out. The more I scrolled, the more I felt like a failure in comparison.

It can be easy to lose touch with the fact that online, we are constantly presented with someones’ best side. We are shown a curated feed of the happiest, most aesthetic or thought provoking moments and quickly forget that those aren’t an accurate representation of the world we actually live.

Highlight reel, remember that.

The people we see look more successful, happier, they are doing more, being more – but they aren’t always. There is this guise of a perfect life, as we forget the struggles that go on that aren’t aired out for the world to see. Even those who are hashtag relatable, are still only sharing the moments they want to be. No matter how open and honest we want to be, it is still curated honest. Not everything can be said or understood in a photo, despite how long you make the caption, and that is were social media lost me.

Instagram, and this blog, suddenly was more than my #TwoForTuesdays – I was spending significantly more time (*has anyone else had a peek at their app usage, the hours will shock you to the core!) online, I was sharing much more online and it was a drain. A big, hefty, drain. For me, I had to work out what I wanted and needed to be sharing, and what I wanted to be seeing, and for that, time out was much needed.

Breaks are good. Probably not three month breaks, FYI not recommended. But we all need to log off once in a while. Whether that be after 8pm, or at the dinner table, or just for a weekend to clear your head, just time to not compare, consume and really switch off.

Maybe it’s a generational thing, or maybe the undeniable quarter life crisis I’ve hit, but it’s hard not to feel like taking a break means being left behind. I can’t help but feel like this blog is yet another fresh start, a relaunch, when in reality, I had a few months to clear my head and binge watch some top notch Netflix series while I worked out the kind of person I needed to be on the internet. Instagram didn’t go anywhere, nor did my blog, and I’ve come back with a clarity and an itch to write that just hasn’t been there for the last year or so – so what have I left behind? We all need a break sometime, whether that be from social media, from our jobs, from reality itself. Some people take themselves off to the Cotswolds for a long weekend, me, I just happened to disconnect from the online world for three months. I will never be sorry for just how far social media has come, but I do need to be more conscious of when I’m needing to just log off, ideally not for three months.

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