Real life before social media

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On a good day, it’s 9:30 a.m. when I pull the sheets back and my cat reluctantly gets up off my chest and jumps to the floor. I turn on the stove to heat the water for my french press. The biggest decision of my day so far is what album to put on the turntable. No this isn’t 1982, its 2016, but most importantly, it’s a morning without social media or internet.

So far I have nobody else’s life to compare my own to. I don’t know or even care about the vacation somebody I vaguely know through a friend of a friend is currently enjoying without me.

It happens to the best of us. You wake up and intend on making coffee. But maybe you want to check Facebook quick. You know, just for a minute. Before you know it you’ve entered a time-warp and wasted an hour. A whole hour with an empty stomach, empty coffee pot and a cat that wants to be fed. Everyone has their own experiences and preferences with regards to how connected they want their lives to be.

I’ve literally lived under a rock before and can’t remember being happier. For a period of several months, my partner and I lived “off the grid” in western Colorado. That meant no phones, no computers, or any of the other modern creature comforts. We lived in a tent in a steep mountain valley and journeyed into the small nearby town of Paonia once a week for supplies. I don’t think I’ve ever been more in tune with my own thoughts and emotions as when I lived off the grid.

I’ve noticed that when I have been briefly involved in social media or online dating in the past, my stress levels and anxiety increase. Small things in life suddenly worry me more than they should. Maybe they misinterpreted my last message? Why haven’t they messaged me back? What’s wrong with me? The point is that it was bad for my self esteem.

I remember dial-up internet. A time when I used the internet for maybe a few hours a week instead of a few hours a day. I seem to remember having a longer attention span before I became addicted to Reddit. Maybe I’m getting older and it’s just the nostalgia getting to me, or maybe I’m not alone in trying to get back to what’s real.

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