In 2017 I’ve taken “me time” to the extreme. I have lived a completely switched off and unplugged life this year and learnt some life lessons that were totally obvious before the internet age. I’ve also learned what to prioritize and rediscovered forgotten bits of my DNA. Here’s a quick summary of what I’ve been up to and where I’m headed. I still have mixed feelings on social media and blogging but my musings have been along these lines…
1. You can have fun without photo-documenting the fact for the benefit of 2,000 people you have never met.
2. You don’t need to tell 2,000 people who you’ve never met what you are doing and how you are feeling several times a day. Twitter can be useful for things like real-time news, and even the Dalai Lama might have a Twitter account, but if you can’t happily leave it alone for 24 hours then you might need to take time off and think about that addiction. Gosh, it’s easy to be judgey in hindsight. 😛
3. A gift or a purchase gives you even more pleasure when you don’t need to arrange it artistically, add props, find the best lighting and then photograph it. Think about this carefully. It is actually completely bizarre behavior… for the benefit of 2,000 people you’ve never met.
4. Food tastes just as good when you don’t Instagram it before you eat it. It is a lot more social to share with the people who are at the table with you than share your meal with strangers on social media.
5. Real life includes leg shaving, dirty washing on the floor, that pesky stain on the carpet and siting in traffic. That’s perfectly okay. You don’t need to feel jealous that other people seem to have perfect interior design, wear perfectly coordinated outfits and sip constantly from coconut drinks on tropical island holidays. And if that’s you, why do you need to show off to 2,000 people who you don’t know?
6. Nine times out of ten you start blogging because it’s fun, you like to write, and it is all about you… Then you end up becoming an advertising agency and spend all your time doing the silly things listed above.
7. Everyone is trying to sell you something. Blogs and social media tend to trap you in the bad habit of buying things you don’t need. Having said that, at some point you will need to buy things and it’s great to be able to make an informed choice. The key is reading unbiased reviews, which are few and far between in a world where “free” products from PR agencies create an obgligation.
8. If you’re not doing something for your own enjoyment, to earn money, or for your family and friends then ask yourself what your motivation actually is for doing it in the first place. For me blogging no longer fell into any of the above categories, which is why I took this year off and used my free time more wisely.
9. Life isn’t about things, it is about experiences. I want to look back on a year just passed and think of all the fun I’ve had outdoors, not all the time I’ve spent sitting at a computer working on blog posts, or on my phone keeping up with social media feeds.
10. I’ve used my year off to do the things I used to love but forgot about and haven’t have time for in the past few years (since I became a mom and started blogging, two incredibly time consuming things). My daughter is at that typical pony mad stage which a lot of girls go through, which has reminded me that my phase never actually ended. I stopped riding for ten years while I got on with life, but now I’ve rediscovered it and it has been incredibly rewarding. Moo and I have been riding twice a week this year and not only is it something we can do together and bond over, but it’s a process of self improvement which is really satisfying. Horses, like dogs, don’t care if you’re dirty and makeup free – they want to be your friend anyway. Which is not something that can be said for Instagram. At the grand old age of 35 I’m entering my first ever Prix Caprilli show next month (that’s like dressage with teeny jumps in it, FYI). I’m petrified but if I get a rosette I will… um, put it on Instagram *cough*.
I might have burnt a lot of bridges this year by ignoring emails, not going to events and staying away from the plugged in world. But the life de-clutter and mental reset were totally worth it. I’m back, but on my own terms and in my own sweet time. I will get off my high horse now because I’m aware this blog post might come off a bit preachy, but life is too short… One day at the pearly gates St Peter is unlikely to ask you what your blog stats were.