Despite my quest for a life less busy, the time I spend online often seems to exacerbate the busyness of life. Checking through news feeds, adding my own posts to blogs and social media sites, responding to others….it all takes time. I start to question why I’m online at all. Surely an easy way to simplify life would be to unplug, and live a screen free life. But in today’s digital world, it just isn’t that easy. Staying connected to others, building networks of people with similar interests, feeling part of a supportive community, and keeping in touch with friends who you don’t see, or don’t see enough, are all meaningful reasons to stay online. The challenge is finding a good balance.
When I first set up this blog and my social media accounts, I immediately felt a huge pressure to keep them ‘up to date’. It was around this time I decided I must be crazy adding this level of complexity to my life when all I wanted was to be less busy. Over time though, I am realising that like all things in life, sharing in the online world is something that will evolve naturally. I post when I have something to say or share, I read what others have to share when time allows. I’m not beating myself up if I don’t post every day or every week, I’m trying to just go with the flow and keep things in perspective.
I read this quote on Twitter the other day and it got me thinking about social media in particular.
“If you boast, you will have no merit. If you promote yourself,
you will have no success.” — Lao Tzu
I find social media particularly challenging because it can be hard work finding a balance between sharing and self-promotion. A friend recently said to me that for her it is about sharing and connecting with others. I like that. I feel really uncomfortable with anything that seems boastful or self-promoting, and I would hate to appear that way. I guess it is important to look at why we are sharing and what our goals are.
My primary reason for being online in the first place is to help me stay focused on my goal to live a life less busy, as well as connecting with others on the same path. While I am sharing my own ideas and stories, I’m also learning so much from others as well. Being connected online has confirmed to me that I’m not the only one who cares about slowing down and living a calmer and simpler life. There is a lot of reassurance that comes from feeling part of a community, virtual or otherwise.
Having a creative outlet is also and important aspect to having a life online. There is plenty of evidence to affirm that creativity can have a positive impact on our mental health and sense of general wellbeing. Some people paint, sculpt, dance, cook or make music, but for me, taking photos, writing, or sharing stories, are creative outlets that invigorate me and give me the stamina needed to continue towards my goals.
There is a lot of power in sharing our story….in words, images, experiences…. and with humility.