Do I want to capture funny phrases my daughter comes out with or spontaneous moments of family fun and craziness? Of course I do!! Do I want to record breathtaking sites on new adventures, capture moments that I can show my children when they are older and hopefully my grandchildren? You betcha!
Then we’ve got the social media and messaging apps, which, for an expat it’s so good to see/keep up with our friends and family and also for them to see us. It allows us to lessen the distance and stay tuned as life goes on. Reduce that FOMO.
the pattern of posting > liking > commenting > browsing
With the continued leaps in technology, we get to constantly experience and capture life moments in amazing new ways. Although, it’s becoming clear that technology is also becoming an ever-growing buffer between us and those moments.
How about coming home and chilling on the sofa watching a show with the family. It’s lovely, relaxing, enjoyable …. Until you feel that urge to capture the moment.
When I disconnect, I am more relaxed when going to bed ……. mum guilt is considerably less and I seem to have a lot more patience in general.
Capturing moments leads to sharing, sharing leads to liking and liking leads to the dark side. That’s right as much as we want to document and share our special moments for all the loveliest reasons, the connection becomes too strong at times and we become consumed.
Whether that is by falling into the pattern of posting > liking > commenting > browsing OR taking too many photos trying to convey exactly what you are seeing/feeling instead of just feeling or seeing it and telling the story later.
All of the above begins with the urge to savour those special life moments. But in documenting those moments I can see that I often end up not authentically connecting to them. Life is too short for that! Hell, I’m too short for that!!
I encourage everyone, including myself, to ask yourselves “am I connecting to disconnect (from the “every day”)?” If the answer is yes, I urge you to rethink that strategy.
As I get older and Eva becomes more grown up, and in need of interaction, conversation and attention, I can see that in order to truly connect to our life we need to disconnect. When I disconnect, I am more relaxed when going to bed, I feel more refreshed in the mornings. My mum guilt is considerably less and I seem to have a lot more patience in general.
Here are the ways I am trying to reduce my hours in the Matrix. So far I’m liking the benefits.
- Take/post photos at the start of a trip but wait to post ones during the trip until after. Lessens the chance of getting stuck on Instagram or Facebook during.
- Head to the beach for an hour or so after work with Eva. She is in love with the sea. To see her get so happy just from being there is everything. At most a couple of pictures are taken but mostly I get to swim or paddle with her, do a little exploring and then share an ice cream.
- While cooking dinner, allocating a specific slot of time for checking the phone comms – use a timer if needed. Stops me from becoming the mobile zombie later on, where I only reply with umms.
- The phone goes on charge once dinner is served until she’s in bed.
- While dinner is in the oven Eva and I make dessert together. She loves baking so it’s normally some type of cake. This really started after wondering what to do with the chocolate from Easter.
- At meal times especially dinner NO PHONES ALLOWED. We sit at the kitchen table or island (something we need to do more of) and just talk about her day and what we will be doing after dinner – dessert, bath, what story to read.
- Bedtime stories there is nothing better than cuddling up with your baby and reading them a story before they drift off. Priceless.
- Watching a new TV show instead of a repeat that I don’t need to concentrate on and therefore can lose myself on my phone. We end up discussing it more and reacting in sync.
- Writing more blog pieces. Once I truly disconnect from the Matrix of work, social media and chores. I am able to get my juices flowing and in a way relax and rejuvenate by creating pieces for my new passion.
- Allocating a specific slot of time for checking the phone comms – use a timer if needed. Stops me from becoming the mobile zombie where I only reply with umms.
- Take a long bath and listen to music, or watch one of my favourite old school shows – Friends or Charmed!!
- Listening to podcasts during commute time or on lunches rather than checking social media.
- Dancing it out. If you watch Grey’s Anatomy you know what I’m talking about. The music goes up and I dance my energy into the life!! Dancing for me gives me the same endorphins as working out.
- Date days with my mini-me or the hubub. Over a meal, a milkshake or an ice cream. Some one-on-one time with my special ones.
Do I do all of the above? – YES. Do I do it enough especially the ones to do with myself or the hubub? – NOT AS MUCH AS I COULD OR SHOULD.
There is always room to grow but I am actively working on it and I am moving in the right direction. At the end of the day being present by disconnecting allows me to authentically and fully connect with the ones I love most in the world and that includes ME. So to that note, I’m gonna keep finding ways to be present in my life because there truly is:
“NO place I’d rather be.”