Discover more from time spent offline
Reality is dangerous
run towards the danger
I’m just seeking the opposite of what angers me. (Source)
Five things to share:
Spending less time online is the easy part: There is even an app for that. Then there is reality, the danger zone. The lull in conversations, the in-between moments waiting for your Iced Caffè Americano, the void demanding to be acknowledged at exactly 9:46pm, as if it were bidding its time patiently all day while you used up all your excuses— work, chores, family— to avoid it. What do you do? You run back to safety, of course. The avatars are safer. You can scroll them down, take your time curating the perfect response; backspace on the period so you don't sound too passive aggressive, and replace it with exclamation points!!!! There, better. You can even block them if you feel annoyed enough. Brave enough. Who are these people anyway?! After all, social media offers you the ability to like/dislike people at your convenience, from a distance with a single click, tap, scroll. Reality is far less comforting, downright cruel at times.
I recently read Sarah Polley's memoir Run Towards the Danger, first recommended by a friend, then coincidently it happened to be September’s book for my book club. I liked it a lot. During the book club discussion, however, it dawned on me there were things that I didn’t like. I, like the others, wanted more closure, more explanation for all that happened. Peer pressure? Entitlement? Then, the book club shared Polley was speaking at the Toronto International Festival of Authors so I invited the same friend who recommended me the book and we went. This is how I find and do things offline. Serendipity. (The book also inspired today’s post!)
A quote I want to share with you:
I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that—I don’t mind people being happy—but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down three things that made you happy today before you go to sleep” and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position. It’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say, “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness.” Ask yourself, “Is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.
— Hugh MacKay/ The Good Life
Wholeness is no trifling matter. A lot of weight when you're well.
If you’re using news or social media to wake up, try this instead: When you wake up, don’t pick up your phone. Instead, head to your bliss station, play with your kids, write in your notebook, draw, pray, meditate, take a walk, eat breakfast, listen to Mozart, get showered, read a book, or just be silent for a bit. Give yourself some time in the morning to not be completely horrified by the news.
A challenge for you: RUN TOWARDS THE DANGER!
P.s. You can read more of my time spent offline musings at https://mehretbiruk.com/
That’s all for this week!
Thank you for reading, and share with anyone you think may benefit.
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Until next time,