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24 years old. Biochemistry major. INFJ. Taurus. Please feel free to leave a comment on my writing. I’m happy to have a space to be open and authentic by expressing myself in a way I deeply enjoy: writing. I’m new to Biopage and looking forward to hopefully writing more and checking out other writers’ posts.
Yes, you read that right. Everything has dangers, really, except the dangers of Instagram pose different issues than athletic activities like snowboarding, skiing, surfing, and skydiving. What's the big deal? Everything comes with its risks. Even walking across the street could be dangerous! Instead of risking potential physical injury while "instagramming", you risk harming your mental health, and since you can't actually see this type of harm, it's harder to stay cautious. Millennials spend about 2.5 hours per day on social media. In fact, according to BroadBandSearch, it has been predicted that the average person will spend 6 years and 8 months on social media in their lifetime (assuming an average lifespan of 72 years). Do you think people are “over-instagraming”?People talk about overeating and overthinking, yet nobody seems to talk about the potential dangers of social media consumption. There's no warning sign. Imagine if there were a warning on Instagram like on tobacco products: frequent consumption could lead to loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Would people think twice before lighting up their phone screen? Does this mean Instagram is bad? No! There's something magical about capturing a happy moment on camera and then sharing it with others. It's like a way of saying, "Look at me, I'm happy, and I want to share this bit of happiness with everyone I know". The emphasis on photos is what makes Instagram different than other social media sites. However, this is probably what causes greater risks. According to Time Magazine, Instagram negatively affects self esteem levels more than other networking sites. Here is my personal experience: One day, I decided to create an art page on Instagram. I'm not sure what my purpose was other than feeling like I had something to share with the world. Do you ever feel like you have a message that you need to get out there? This is how I felt. Well the problem is a lot of artists feel the same way. It's not about the message. It's about figuring out how to get your message out there. One day, I received an offer to gain followers for a fee, so I paid $10 for 1000 followers. I thought it would help me gain recognition. It turns out they aren't real followers, and now my page feels fake. At first glance, my page looks popular, but anyone who clicks on one of my posts must realize it's fake. Nobody has 1000 genuine followers but only an average of 10 likes per post. Wow, I really look like a fake, or someone who's so desperate for attention that she has to buy followers. I thought that was how marketing worked, that people would take my page more seriously when I have a large following. Now, I just feel lame. I feel like a fraud. Comparison is a trap, and I fell in. Instead of feeling good about my art, I felt lowly. The crazy thing is I was comparing my art to people who obviously have way more free time than me. Sometimes I would stumble upon a post such as a quote, scribbled in black ink against a white background, that earned someone hundreds of likes, and immediately the word, "why", came to mind. "WHY does this person have so many likes when I posted an even better quote that was even written in a more artistic manner?" Envy. It's human nature. If this is what Instagram evoked in me, then I'm certain I'm not the only one. In reality, the number of likes has nothing to do with ability, but with being able to play the game. There are Instagram engagement groups on Facebook, where all the posts include "follow for follow" or "like for like". How can we take any of this seriously? If someone has lots of likes, it could be just because they made a deal to exchange likes with several people. Because they had lots of free time. I wasn't willing to put in so much effort. Damn it, I just wanted to show off my art! Then, I started asking myself questions: "What's the point of sharing my artistic message?", "Do I really have something to give the world?", "Should I hide away my sketchbook for only my own eyes to see?". In addition to self-doubt, I noticed that my enthusiasm for art started to decrease. Creativity used to be my escape, a chance to get away from the menial tasks of society. Creativity was my self-pampering. After a long bubble bath and a little painting session, I felt rejuvenated, like a key part of me had resurfaced. After creating an art page online, art started feeling like a chore. Instead of painting for myself, I painted what I thought other people would want to see. It turns out that the pressure I put on myself dampened my creativity. Everything I created started to feel stale, like a hard cracker. In the end, Instagram perpetuated my loneliness. I cried out to the world, but nobody was listening. We all just want to be heard. Popularity is like a vicious cat roaring in our faces. It turns out proper usage of hashtags isn't enough. Do few likes make something bad? I didn't want to feel envious, to feel less than...
A lot has changed since I wrote the post entitled "No Time to Write". Things fell apart with my old job, which was pretty stressful as you could imagine. But you know what they say? Sometimes things happen for a reason, so perhaps this was one of those times, or maybe I'm just a hopeless optimistic. Anyway, I started a new job just two weeks later. That meant I had two weeks of freedom. Open-ended freedom for me to basically do whatever the heck I wanted, despite the whole stress of searching for a new job and going through the whole interview process. As I had ironically complained about not having enough time, a plentitude of time was gracefully, well not so gracefully, given to me not long afterwards. At this point, I'm sure you're wondering what I did with my free time. Instead of writing, I used my time for making social plans and resting. As a matter of fact, as much as I hate to admit it, I ended up taking my free time a bit for granted. One day felt just like the next one, and there was no push each day to get up and get to work on any creative projects. It felt like I had all the time in the world. Since it was still summer, I took some long hikes in the sun, which absolutely rejuvenated my entire being. I also watched a lot of TV. I've been working full time again for almost 2 months now. After getting back into the rhythm of working, I miss freedom and regret that I didn't use the short time in between jobs to lean into my creative side that often gets neglected. I regret that I didn't wake up each morning, pour myself some coffee and immediately start grinding out creative project after project. Yet, maybe rest is exactly what I needed. A break from the urgency that time has placed on me. I wasn't thinking much about time and schedules, and it felt good. You could argue that there's always time if you make it. Maybe it's just self-discipline that's missing. For instance, some people say they have no time to read, yet these are the same people who spend at least two hours scrolling through social media every night before bed. I could always be more intentional with my time. However, it's okay to rest, and I think everyone needs this reminder. I think resting means not thinking about making time for things and just enjoying the present moment, whether that means taking a long walk or binge watching a TV series. If you needed the reminder that it's okay to rest sometimes, to not feel guilty about "wasting time", then here it is: it's okay. If you're going through a stressful time like I was, be gentle with yourself.
I remember taking a walk one day and seeing two young people, probably teenagers, sitting on a bench in the beautiful forest, gracefully touched by the sun. They were staring down at their smartphones. Internally, I judged them pretty hard. “Why would anyone spend time in nature just to stare at a screen?” I thought. This memory came to mind as I caught myself sitting outside during my 15 minute work break, eyes glued to my own cellular device. I stopped myself. For once, I decided to look around, to take in the present moment. Sure, I wasn't surrounded by beautiful nature, but it was still a chance to breathe in some fresh air - and more serene than inside my workplace. I realized I never paid attention to the sizes of the trees to the not-so-distant right -or the fact that one tree is shaped like a heart- even though work is somewhere I go every weekday, and my car is always parked by the same tree. Normally my 15 minute breaks seem to go by in an instant, barely giving me enough time to reply to a few texts. What gives? However, the end of this particular break felt as if I had just finished meditating. It turns out meditating doesn't always mean sitting in a special posture on a meditation cushion, breathing rhythmically or going “ohm”. And I needed this. Lately, I sense that time is slipping away from me, that somehow I slipped up and hit the fast forward button, failing to find the right button. Sometimes I wish I could press pause – sometimes I miss quarantine. When my complaints ebb and flow, I remind myself that I'm happy to have a job. Yet, sometimes the complaints come knocking at my door like an uninvited salesman. They say that there's no time to write. I make up for it by writing in my head at work. You know how they say the best ideas come when you least expect them? Well, in my experience, I would tweak this quote by saying, “the best ideas come when it's least convenient”. The other day at work, doing monotonous tasks, a beautifully scripted poem splashed in my mind like red wine on carpet. Since I was wearing lab gloves and had just touched tubes of bodily fluids, it wasn't the time to write. And when it is the time to write… Coffee ready, candle lit, I write and write until mere moments later I have a fresh poem??? I wish. Instead, I have nothing. NOTHING. My ideas have vanished. Maybe I'm too distracted by my phone. Maybe I just put too much pressure on myself. Probably both. With a job, my available time has become sacred, so whenever I sit down to write I have an expectation to create something worthwhile. Although, I know very well that the best ideas aren't forced, but the opposite. What even is my problem anyway? I can barely put it into words, other than stating that the working world has left me feeling cluttered. Why did nobody tell me that life after college is so hard? I wonder. Maybe this is what people mean when they refer to pursuing a career as the “real world”. Sadly, the real world has made me antisocial. I wasn't always like this. I went through a phase the beginning of 2019 where I hung out with people about every other night, and during this time I was thriving. I felt like I was on top of the world. Of course, I had the time for this because I decided to take a gap year after college to be an Au Pair as a nice adventure, or so I thought. My host mom ended up getting frustrated with me because I was going out so many nights. “We've never had an Au Pair that went out so much!” she told me. I took this to mean that she discouraged social Au Pairs because this meant less attention for her kids, or maybe she just wasn't used to having Au Pairs that made friends so quickly and didn't know what to think of it. The whole Au Pair adventure didn't last long and my little social circle I had built went crumbling along with it. I guess you can't have too much of a good thing, or really there's just not enough time for it. There wasn't enough time to upkeep my socially ideal self because consequently this meant I wasn't committing enough of my energy to my responsibilities. Not enough time. What a slap in the face that realization was back then, especially since I hoped working as a babysitter/ housekeeper in another country would've been easy, flexible, and fun. Nope. Also, there were some communication issues too, but that's another story. Now, I should go because I have stuff to do, like laundry. The reason for writing today was just to prove that there IS time to write. I need to stop making excuses, because writers don't make excuses. They write!
Dear Grandpa, It's been 2 weeks since you departed from this earth. They say only time can heal grieving, but I find matters may grow even more sad with the passing of months. The more time goes on, the longer it's been since I heard your voice on the phone or experienced your laughter. I never want to forget the sound of your voice. The last time I talked to you, there was a problem with your phone. The last words of yours I heard were "I can't hear you dear" as I repeated, "Hello? Hello??? HELLO?". I didn't know at the time that would be the last chat I had with you. I didn't know that would be one of your last days. I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye. I remember when I was a little girl and would hug your legs really firmly from behind. That feels like a separate life, long in the past. Yet, it feels like a vivid, not so distant memory all at once. Oh, how time flies. You lived your life and you lived it well for 89 years. What more could anyone ask for? Now, I'm relived to know you're free from isolation, boredom, and pain at the nursing home, even though it aches my heart to accept you're not here. Writing may seem untrendy in this modern day, but as far as I know it's the only thing that helps me cope, a medicine. We must never forget our dear loved ones. I continue to write about our memories together. Grampy, watch over me and please stay in my heart. Love, Your Granddaughter
The beginning of 2020, lots of people set off fireworks, brilliant displays of everyone's anticipation for the new year. As many admired the open-air art, maybe it seemed that the world slowed down a little bit, allowing time to reflect on career goals, relationship goals, routines, and diet changes. However, after the celebration, the world sped up, becoming just as fast as ever before (if not faster), like a constantly spinning merry-go-round. Everyone's chasing something, whether it's more followers, more likes, or more to add to our professional profiles, the world is infused with a "more, more, more" mentality. Don't get me wrong. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Of course, if nobody had this mentality, there wouldn't be any books being written, businesses being created, and so on. On the flip side, some people never take a breath. If you've ever seen the 80's movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, you know the quote, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Now, since the COVID-19 crisis was declared a pandemic, the world has come to a pause, like slamming on the brakes, even though nobody wanted this. Nobody predicted 2020 to go this way. The question, "What would you do if your life was put on pause?", a seemingly theoretical question, now becomes real for many of us during this eerie sci-fi movie time. Side note: This post is by no means being written to take the situation lightly as I understand lives are being taken by this virus. This is a devastating, frightening time that poses tremendous uncertainty about the future. Since I'm not a healthcare worker, I feel I cannot write about the situation, but since I'm stuck at home without a job, I can write to those also stuck at home looking for a brief distraction. If you've ever said, "I wish I could ‘blank' more, but I'm just too busy," now's the time! Fill in the blank. It could be read, draw, workout, call friends on the phone, declutter, cook, blog, learn a language, or whatever! Get creative. Also, if you're feeling discontent spending so much time at home and are willing to try something new, what about hygge? Hygge, a Danish trend meaning "wellbeing" in Norwegian, describes the concept of enjoying coziness. If you're stuck at home, there's no better time to make your atmosphere as cozy (and clean) as possible. You could accent a room with string lights, light some candles, prepare yourself a warm beverage, and get some snacks out to set beside you. It's important to take time to slow down and simply be present instead of rapidly scrolling through your phone or frantically replying to text messages. There's nothing better than setting the phone aside and snuggling up with a good book and maybe a blanket if it's not too warm. Other cozy activities to try are journaling, writing someone a letter, or watching one of your favorite shows either alone or with someone else in your house. Atmosphere is key. Perhaps, when it's safe to go out again, at least you'll emerge with a newfound appreciation of your home. If not, you could be absolutely sick of your home and dedicated to spending every waking moment out of the house (that's fine too). Either way, hygge could still provide some sense of comfort during this stressful time. And when the world speeds up again, slowing down every once in a while should come naturally. Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash