Life is a funny thing. There are moments of feeling completely elated, on top of the world, like nothing could go wrong. And these moments are paralleled by moments of pain, stress and feeling low. It is true that without the low moments, we can not truly appreciate the good. Life is a constant balance of ups and downs and handling the ever rolling waves.
But sometimes, the lows can feel a lot stronger and heavier. Stress and problems seem to weigh on you a little more, affect you greater. You may feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, like you can’t quite cope with everything on your plate, like you have enough stress to drive you completely crazy. Although you might feel completely alone in your feelings, I promise you, you are not. It is possible that you have started to feel low… like you feel down more than you feel happy. Or maybe it’s not that you feel low, you just feel neutral. It can feel a little like depression. And you may or may not have a specific reason as to why you feel this way, and you might feel that it is really unjust to feel like this when you sit back and look at how great your life really is. I am writing this because lately, this is how I have been feeling and I wanted to share why I think I am and what I am doing to change it.
I had a very honest talk with my husband about this and he told me something I didn’t want to hear, but had to. The reason for my unhappiness or discontentment in my life might be due to being constantly connected to my phone, and disconnected from my actual real life. I have a very prominent example to prove his theory that I want to share. While we were in Costa Rica, he took me to visit his friend and his family on their beautiful property. It felt like the secret garden. The property was completely enchanted, complete with deep jungle, mountains, a beautiful home and it’s own private bay. It was completely spectacular to say the least. We ran down to the beach and kayaked into the bay to watch the sunset. But I couldn’t help but to feel restless, anxious and discontentment with the fact I didn’t have my phone to capture the moment. That sunset was truly one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen, it lit up the entire sky with brilliant oranges, yellow and pinks. It shot sun flares through the clouds above and sunk perfectly in between two small hills. Everyone else was taking a photo of it and I fought the urge to risk missing it to run back up the hill to get my damn phone. My husband just held me and told me this moment would be a huge life lesson for me…he told me to let it go, forget the phone and truly enjoy the moment without the need to capture it, save it and share it. I was so distraught about not being able to make this moment forever on my phone and so angry at myself for feeling this way. So instead of fighting, I listened and I completely immersed myself in the moment. I took it all in and it still ended up being a completely unforgettable evening.
Does this sound familiar?
After this, we talked about my anxiety related to not having my phone during the sunset. And what he said to me really woke me up. He said that the moments on my phone are not real, that they do not strengthen bonds, that they do not fill me with passion, or joy. That I couldn’t taste, feel, hear or see moments vividly through a screen like you can in real life. That I was missing moments I could never get back because I was plugged in. That he felt I was constantly distracted and not connecting with him fully. That I wasn’t sleeping well at night because my mind was constantly full of a million things and that right before bed I would be on my phone. That even when we were out enjoying the mountains together I was concerned with getting the perfect photo to share after we got back.This conversation was a huge wake up call for me and i felt embarrassed that I was letting something like this affect my life.
You can’t full live in the moment if you are constantly scrolling through a news feed watching other people live their lives. All of these things I knew to be true, and I have thought about this on numerous occasions, yet still have a hard time putting down the phone, until now. And that is why I am writing this because I KNOW I am not alone.
The irony is that I have built up myself a very difficult situation. A lot of Run Like A Girl is based online and that requires me to be present online, post photos, share my experiences, answer emails, ect ect. But through this, I think I have gone above and beyond using it simply as a method to share things with the community. The reality is, I use it as a constant mindless distraction. Any point of the day where I have some down time I am scrolling, liking, posting, writing, chatting. Even in moments where I should be fully present, like enjoying a dinner with my husband, watching a sunset, walking my dog, going for a run… the phone is always there, sometimes with a purpose, sometimes merely just a distraction from reality. And even times when I should be relaxing, like on a break at work, or curled up on the couch or in the bathroom for goodness sake, it is there, in my hand.
I am sure this probably resonates strongly with you. I have seen it everywhere. People walking into each other because they are looking down, not talking in the break room, not sharing while out for dinner. The irony of having something that was meant to connect us all is actually disconnecting us from each other and ourselves. When are you just sitting there scrolling, do you know what you are looking for? Do you know what you are hoping to see? Neither do I really.
So when I look deeply into the situation of me feeling some unhappiness in myself and in my life… I think I can admit that it has to do with constantly being disconnected from the presence moment for two reasons. The first is from scrolling through news feeds and seeing peoples highlight reels! From seeing only a very filtered amount of information from a person, the moments they feel they need to broadcast, and you compare your entire story to these small snippets of someone else’s life. From wondering why I didn’t get outside for a run when so and so did. Questioning if me and my husband are as happy as that couple, or why do I work so much when it looks like everyone is just out playing. The truth is people are only going to share what they want you to see. You don’t see their pain, or their sadness, or their anxiety. It happens to everyone, we are after all human. We are not immune to feeling low despite what we portray on social media. Not everyone is as happy as they look online!
The second is that I am never fully present in the moment. I let the moment go by without fully enjoying everything it has to offer. The sights, the smells, the laughter, the taste, the joy, the connection with others… everything.
So, this is my challenge to both myself and to everyone. Take a break from the phone. Seriously. As soon as you are finished reading this, put it down. Turn it on silent, disconnect your 3G and be in the moment. Connect with your friends, laugh with your partner, run without having to take a selfie, go an hour without “liking” something. Try it. Because honestly, this moment is all we will have, and it doesn’t last forever. Stop constantly viewing everyone’s highlight reel. Stop comparing yourself to what others are doing, saying and thinking. Don’t let that affect you anymore. Stop trying to look for something beyond the present moment. Be fully immersed in now… and if you do, I think you will feel a whole lot better. Because now, is all we have, and it might be the most incredible moment you’ve ever had, and you might miss it if you are looking down.