Resurrecting Hobbies

It has been done!

The delete button has been pressed and I am now free from social media.

Now what?

<drums fingers nervously on the counter>

All of that scroll-free, constant-checking free time is now floating around looking for something to fill it back up.
So I have been thinking about how best to use all of my newfound free time and a lightbulb went on.

Hobbies.

Resurrect my hobbies.

Those things that I used to do before life became so full of parenting and then of social media. You might notice, if you are an old subscriber here, that my crafting updates ended about three months after Miss Oh Waily was born.
Miss Oh Waily is now 11 years old !

To start me off I think I will try to resurrect my cross stitch. I have plenty of almost finished items that I’d love to see completed and framed. It has the advantage of doubling as both a creative and relaxing activity. It fits in nicely with my word for 2019 – Mindful – and I might even manage to get my kids to give it a go. Who knows?

So that is my first step in to post-SM life. Expect to hear more shortly.


For those who are new, here’s a link to my cross stitch page to see where I was when my free time began to dwindle.

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FOMO

A couple of days ago I did the unthinkable. I deleted a social media account.

You will probably know that I recently deleted my Facebook pages for this blog and The Pukeko Patch. I thought that was a pretty decent first step in my self-styled “slow retreat” from the increasingly unpleasant world that this section of the internet has become. But I wasn’t feeling the same bravery around my own personal social media accounts. There was a lingering sensation of FOMO.

If there was ever an acronym that should be considered an onomatopoeia word, then FOMO is it. I’m sure it’s the scratchy little sound that comes unbidden from the back of your throat as your finger wavers side to side over your keyboard just before the final plunge to hit “DELETE”.
The fight between your thinking brain and your fear of being ‘an outsider’ concludes with a little whimpering sound….

FOmo……

And then the deed is done. In the press of a button it’s over.

Well, in fairness, I have thirty days to recant and all will be well in my little corner of the Twittersphere but I have no intention to do so. In a remarkable turn of events I was able to ditch the social media platform I probably spent the most time on, Twitter, with very little trauma and only the tiniest, scratchy FOmo… sound.
For me the hard #SMexit will be the deletion of Facebook.
Yes, I did just make up a hashtag for this process.

So what prompted this act of unwarranted bravery?
Well, an episode of Alan Alda’s Clear+Vivid podcast is the culprit.
I’ve been dipping in to it on occasion and enjoying it. On last week’s show Alan was interviewing Jaron Lanier who is a founding father of the realm of virtual reality, and sounds quite the character in addition to that.

As part of their conversation they spoke about Lanier’s new book, “Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now“.
Here’s a link to his webpage relating to it. The cover of the book succinctly sums up the ten arguments. I found most, if not all, of them are accurate in my experience.
It was while listening to that conversation and weighing up some of their comments with my own observations that I came to the conclusion that it was time to gain back some of my life.
– Infinite scroll anyone?!?
And some of my hope for humanity.
– No more reading comments from bots or real, but vitriolic, people with no empathy can only improve my mental health!

My next challenge is to do the same with Facebook. I have some ideas about how I’m going to go about it, so I’m ever hopeful that I will vanquish the biggest of my SMexit foes. I just need to work up a bit more courage and do it.

Wish me luck!


More reading / watching: How we need to remake the internet

2019 Word Theme

Around this time last year I decided to do a Happier Podcast “try this at home” tip. That tip was to choose a one word theme for the year. My 2018 word was Balance.

It was meant as a reminder and a goal for the year but that didn’t pan out so well. My year was really quite unbalanced, as was my life in general. But that’s life, isn’t it? A box of chocolates where sometimes you get the gooey centres and sometimes the hard nuts. And you just have to hope that you don’t break a tooth.
I don’t consider it a failure though. Balance was always on my mind. It just took me most of the year to figure out how and what I was going to do in order to get some balance back. And it’s taken even longer to get that plan up and running. That’s the other thing about life – some things you have control over, other things you have to let run their course.

This brings me to my choice for 2019.

Drumroll please…

My theme for 2019 is “Mindful”.

It’s a pretty self-explanatory word, but here’s what it means to me in this context.
I want to make more thoughtful decisions in my life. I want to pay far more attention to everyday things in my life. I don’t want to drift, spin or fritter away my life on autopilot. I want to be more appreciative of my life, while actively crafting what my life will look like.

I’ve realised that I have slipped into patterns of behaving, thinking, doing and saying things that are largely unchosen. Once upon a time I would have decided that they were fitting for me, but not recently and not by the person I currently am. Let me provide you with a gratuitous analogy.

Imagine, if you will, a person who continues to wear their favourite knitted outfit from the 1970s throughout their life.
<< Shudder >>
It could be a totally unconscious decision. They liked that poncho when they bought it. They looked trendy and gorgeous. It still fits. It still keeps them warm, so why change it?
Then a friend who loves them drops some badly needed fashion advice, or they suddenly notice what they look like in the latest family picture – stuck in the 1970s while the rest of the family looks normal.
This is the point where they realise that hanging on to their earlier choices is not so great. It’s time to review, revise and kick out any 1970s nonsense and bring their wardrobe up to date.

This is what 2019 is for me, metaphorically speaking.
Out with the old, unconscious choices, and in with more awareness and mindfulness.
It’s time to “Mind the Gap” – the gap between where I’ve drifted to and where I actually want to be.

How about you? Do you choose a one word theme for your year? If so, what did you choose for this year?


For those crazy enough, here’s a link to some examples of those metaphorical 1970s knitwear items.
Fair warning: you cannot unsee what you are about to look at.

Dedicate

I haven’t been taking enough care of myself this year, despite having chosen “Balance” as my word theme. It took until very late in the year to find a way to gain outer accountability for this obliger, but I finally got there. Along the way I took an Obliger Vacation that looked a bit like rebellion at the time, and a lot more like it as time went on.

So today I decided to give myself a final gift of self-care for 2018.

From the start of January I’ll be making an effort to spend the full month taking time out to do yoga every day.
I’m no yogi so I’ll be following along with Adriene from Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. She is doing a month long series called ‘Dedicate’.
It’s my attempt to nudge myself towards more self-care and further away from imbalance – literally and figuratively.

If you think you would enjoy doing this too I’ve added a link to the invitation on the image below. And if you would like to chat with me about it as we go along, you can always join the newly created Oh Waily Waily Discord server*.

In the meantime, I’d like to wish you all a Happy Holidays. I hope you enjoy time with family and friends, as well as taking time out for yourself too.

And I will see you all next year!


*if you already use Discord just drop me a comment asking for the invite link and I will email it to your comment email address. If you aren’t familiar with Discord but would like to know more this article from Lifewire is a good rundown.