Disconnect to Reconnect: Prologue & Day One

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Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me (Bill Hayes, 2017).

I was consciously aware of how the first thing I did by the time I woke up was checking on my phone – particularly Instagram – and spent waste ten to fifteen minutes scrolling aimlessly on Instagram, and, out of habit, and my pet peeves, click through a bunch of Instagram stories until I watched all of it. The problem is, I always wake up late, I have a hard time falling asleep before 2:00 A.M. and as a result, I always wake up sometimes between 8:00 to 9:00 A.M. when I have to be at my office by at least 11:00 A.M. Surely wasting 10 – 15 minutes of my precious morning time is absolutely a terrible idea. One time during my aimless scroll, I stumbled upon a local gossip account which I loathe so much for its’ tendency to pry and invade others’ private space whilst hypocritically helped those in needs by helping those people viral, thus, generating assistance to those people. Anyway, the post I stumbled upon was a post about the latest chemical weapon attack on Syria which was tweeted by Piers Morgan. Piers Morgan was the winner of the U.S. celebrity version of The Apprentice, in 2008. He was chosen by Donald Trump and his tweet said that Syrians children are bombed by Assad. The caption by that account only said: Ini yang terjadi di Syria’. No further explanation. The post irked me so much, not only because it was a screenshot of a tweet posted by a clear supporter of the irrational Trump, but, also because the responses it garnered: 53,563 likes on a clearly one-sided opinion with no factual evidence.

Earlier, I’ve quit Facebook by deleting the apps once I found out that the Jakarta’s Governor Election is going to be held for a second round. I just can’t stand so many negative postings about the election anymore and I certainly do not want to waste my energy by getting angry to someone I don’t even know. At that time, to fill the void of Facebook, I moved to Twitter. Twitter is starting to become fun again with lighthearted jokes and brief news and interesting threads. But then, the cycle of toxic postings and outrage towards each other arises again. Maybe I follow the wrong people, maybe I could just look away and pretend not to care – but I can’t, I’m a human with an acute sensitivity that seeing a virtual bickering can be a heartbreaking experience to me. Triggered by the post on Instagram and tired of seeing hateful hashtags and thread

Triggered by the post on Instagram and tired of seeing hateful hashtags and thread on Twitter – I decided to do a social media detox. This is such a foolish idea actually. I’m, after all, a social media marketer. I get my money every month from creating social media contents – how can I possibly do social media detox? Of course, my favorite thing to do when I’m confused is to Google thing and I found these amazing entries by an online personality who also went to do social media detox. His entries were eye-opening and inspiring and he encouraged his readers to do it slowly because, needless to say, social media, screen, and phone addiction are somewhat similar to any other addiction. How many times a day do we check on our phone? How many times a day do we stared down at our phone instead of looking up at the cloudless, greyish sky of Jakarta and the line of crazy traffics in Sudirman area? But I miss this, I miss connecting with my surrounding. I brace myself to delete all my social media apps but one app: Instagram – because it’s the least harmless and even though it is just as addictive as the rest, I can quit it more quickly than I quit Twitter or Facebook.

So, I brace myself to delete all my social media apps but one app: Instagram – because it’s the least harmless and even though it is just as addictive as the rest, I can quit it more quickly than I quit Twitter or Facebook.


Day One

Day one of my first social media detox almost come to an end. I felt…liberated and somewhat more in-tune with my surrounding. I went to a place where I’ve to waited to get in today, instead of looking at my phone and become engrossed in the virtual world of Twitter and Facebook, I spent my time waiting by looking up at beautiful clouds painting the Jakarta’s glaring sun today. Jakarta is such a beauty on a day like this and I came to realize just how much I know this city because clouds like that can only mean one thing: it’s going to rain in the night (which proven to be true, it’s raining outside as I typed this).

I finished my business around 4:30 P.M. today and the glaring sun was soon replaced by a darker shades of the cloud. I waited for my sister to picked me up and she dropped me at her friends’ apartment in Rasuna, Kuningan, because she wanted to do some freeletic stuff before we’re heading home. I spent the rest of the evening sitting in a chair in the balcony – chain-smoking while finishing the beautiful book written by Bill Hayes (pictured above). I finally finished the book after almost a week reading it, it was a light reading and if I were still in college, I might’ve finished reading it in less than one week (I wasn’t that hooked on social media as much as I am now). The darker shades of the cloud soon brought a drizzle, washing upon the now orange-colored sky of Jakarta. The cloudy sky mixed with Jakarta’s pollution evokes a strange dystopian color. I felt such a blissful feeling listening to the rain with a finished book in my hand and a cup of hot coffee in another hand.

As I write this, now I understand what Jason Zook meant when he wrote this on her first day of social media detox: The first day of my detox ended with a feeling of relief and freedom. I was relieved that I hadn’t caved and secretly checked one of my social accounts. And I had a sense of freedom from the shackles of notifications and rabbit holes of links, photos and feeds.”

How wonderful life is when I look up and notice that happiness can come from the beauty of the fleeting moment and a tiny detail like the changing of the sky color and the sound of rains and Jakarta’s traffic in the distant.

Jakarta,
April 10th, 2017.

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