Social Media is Keeping Me From Relaxing

Again, I feel guilty for slacking on my posts. But really it is quite unrealistic for me to expect to be a straight A student, work in the Writing Center, work selling goat cheese at the farmer’s market (even if right now it is only once a month), and be able to post daily..isn’t it?

I got hit with the being drained again this week. I missed out on two French classes. I felt really bad about it. I really enjoy French, it’s my favorite class. The only reason I went to math on those days is because I have a test today and didn’t do amazingly on the last one (though to be fair, that was in part the fault of the teacher, which she has acknowledged and attempted to make up to her students). The Writing Center is where I gain my energy. I pick up and get excited when I’m there, though quickly feel deflated as soon as my shift ends.

I’ve been working on sleeping more, really giving myself the chance to relax and move slower. I’m trying to remember what it’s like not to constantly be doing something, to allow myself the chance to decompress. As I mentioned in latter posts, I went down to Seattle to do some collage scouting/admissions testing. I spent the weekend down there, and while I tried to kick back and watch House of Cards while I was there, I still didn’t quite relax. I still woke up at 6 in the morning and reverted to being productive – whether it was studying for the GSAE or doing Writing Center related things, I wasn’t relaxing and enjoying a Satur/Sunday morning.

My humanities class has been having us read a book. I was supposed to have it read by yesterday, though I only was able to acquire a copy the day before yesterday, and with everything else going on, only got half way through it. But I really enjoy reading it. I realized that’s really what I’m missing from my daily life, that’s one of the things I’m neglecting to do that helps to relax me: read.

It’s ironic really, since that’s in part why I wanted to go for an English degree – I wanted to be able to read more. Yet, I haven’t had time to read. And when I do have time to read, I feel so snotty about my reading options.

This I blame, in part, on social media – or rather, hand-held devices.

I’ve recently come to realize that I don’t like watching movies. I find that it’s too much of an investment of my time. Yet, I will sit there and happily get involved in a TV show and spend hours and hours of my life watching it, and probably watching it again. It took me a very long time to realize why this was: because I don’t want to potentially invest my time (my whole hour and a half to three hours) into a film that doesn’t do the characters justice.

With a television show, they can hook me on the first episode (though, in all fairness, that’s pretty rare), and then I get to slowly know the characters, I get to become friends with them, so to speak. I can see how they react to different situations. It’s like getting to know a person by hanging out with them. A movie happens too quickly for that to happen. The same goes for plots.

What does this have to do with reading?

It takes a lot more energy to get thrown into a book, I think. Not only are you being introduced to a world, but the characters in it, as well as the writing style of the author. These are a lot of things that need to line up. When a book is good – it’s really good, but when I have limited time, I don’t allow myself what I consider to be precious moments to get to know any aspect of the book.

That’s where the curse of the hand-held devices come in. Because we are so used to instant information, instant gratification, our (or rather, mine at least) attention spans are decreasing, and our patience for things to get going is diminishing. I post and re-post articles whose titles are the only thing I’ve read of them. I’ve been trying to make myself sit and read an article all the way thought, though this only works some of the time. Most of the time I compromise with myself and read the first sentence of each paragraph.

Because of this age of instant information, a new way of thinking is coming about – that we need to absorb as much of the information as possible in small time slots – sitting at stoplights, waiting for our coffee, when we wake up, in the bathroom – and so on. Instead of spending quality time reading and digesting, we skim and get the gist of something.

This lends us little ability to really contemplate facts, think analytically, or get sucked into anything.

And that is why I, lamentfully, don’t read books. Or rather, have no patience for books. That is why I have no attention for movies. This is why the only way to get me to read something is to grade me on it. And as a result, I need to go to school so that I can get some literature in my life.

How do I remedy this? Well, my first thought is to delete all social media….But I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I run a blog here, so doing that might hinder what I’m trying to do. I’ve considered getting a dumb phone instead of a smart phone – though those are becoming gold dust. I switched phone companies and I couldn’t down-grade my phone when I did so, I could only upgrade. So, I have to keep my iPhone (darn!).

So what can I do?

Being conscious of the problem is a first step to breaking the habit. I like the method of not punishing the self or trying to stop the self from doing something, but rather, marking a tally in a note book or on a sheet every time I do something. This brings it to my attention that I’m doing it, and would more than likely annoy me, and hopefully then I would stop.

That would solve the social media problem. Would that solve my impatience of having to get myself into a book? Maybe. It’s the first step at least.

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