I wake up and expect to have a couple of text messages leftover from the night before. 2-4 is a generally a nice number. Before I even get out of bed, I check my email, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. I have 1,005 friends on Facebook. My college email account is linked to the 10,000 other undergraduate students, let alone professors, graduate students, and people outside of the college network. My Snapchat has around 100 people. Some of them I have not seen in years. Some of them go to my college, but I never see or talk to. I have multiple Instagram accounts, that link me to another huge database of people. This means before I have even nodded hello at my roommates, I have check four social media avenues where I theoretically am linked up with thousands or millions of people.
I am so connected. I am surrounded by people. I should never be alone.
But what does this really mean?
I think this hyper connectedness encourages people to be connected all the time. People are supposed to be with other people, whether this in person, or via social media. You are NEVER supposed to be alone. You should be extroverted and introversion is frowned upon.
At college, not only am I very involved in social media, but I am also constantly surrounded by people. After I leave my dorm I move from food gatherings, to class, to extracurriculars, to parties, to adventures, to yoga class, etc. Even my home is 1 room with my 4 wonderful roommates. I am never alone. When I describe my alone time to people, it is usually at yoga, where I am actually in a room with 30 other students, but since it is quiet, I perceive it as such.
While I am so grateful for the chance to study at college, and have had so many life adventures and deep conversations with people here, I also have realized throughout this year that I need alone time. I can be alone with myself and actually enjoy it!
I love to take long walks, read in a cafe, or go on a run. I love cooking by myself, listening to country music on my bed, going into Boston to study at the public library, or people watching outside. I love my own check ins, without the constant surge of social media and other people’s input. Yet, at college I tell myself I don’t have time for those things, since there are so many wonderful people here, and I have difficulty setting time away for myself. If someone wants to get lunch with me, how do I justify saying no?
However, this year I’m going to try and add alone time to my life. Maybe it is only once a week, but that’s more than I usually do! Instead of eating with someone during all 21 meals of the week, maybe I’ll bump it down to 20. Instead of constantly checking my phone for updates and news, I can turn it off for the last couple of hours before I go to bed. When I step away from the hyper connectedness, I am able to feel how I am actually doing. By becoming more at tune with myself, I can better fit in my world of others. Maybe this will even add more energy and enthusiasm to my check-ins with other people because I am rested and not overwhelmed by the constant go, go, go. It’s funny because although I definitely come across as an extrovert, I know my introverted self needs attention too.
Think about the ways in which you are connected with others and whether they drain or nourish you. Then try to incorporate more fulfilling time with yourself, and those you care about!
Also, I will completely acknowledge the irony that I am writing about disconnecting myself, while proceeding to share this article to my blog followers and friends 🙂