My offline life

One benefit to streamlining the time I spend online, and specifically cutting back on social media, would be enriching the time I spend on other things. Lately I’ve been feeling that my life is somewhat empty. Work is great; it’s challenging and fun, and my coworkers are awesome. But what do I do other than work? Go home and either get online or watch TV (or, typically, get online while watching TV). My main activity beyond this is photography, which I love, and of course I want to keep doing that. But maybe I want to do¬†more of it. And there are other things I want to do that I haven’t worked on in forever: writing, reading more long form pieces and books, studying Japanese.

I also want to feel more connected to Atlanta. We’ve lived here for three years, but after a burst of exploratory activities right after the move, we haven’t really done much to integrate ourselves into the community. We’ve settled into a routine of restaurants, and we have few to no other activities outside the home. (This is probably more important to me than it is to homebody Sean.)

There are two groups I have frequently thought about being active in: the Atlanta Web Design Group and the Japanese Language Meetup. Right now I am supposedly a member of these groups, but I never go to activities. I’m always “too tired” or “not in the mood”. I think this general lack of motivation is fed by the easy distraction of social media and TV. Sure, I could go to that event, but it’s so much more comfortable to just sit at home and scroll through feeds or marathon a show.

As an introvert, it is important for me to have down time away from others, and recharging after a workday is crucial. I’m not saying I think I should be cramming social activities into every day. But surely I could do something weekly or every couple of weeks…especially if that something will help me learn and grow in areas that are important to me.

In general, I feel that I should be contributing more and consuming less. These days I rarely cook. I do the bare minimum to keep the apartment clean. I have a box full of ticket stubs and brochures and memories that I keep telling myself I’m going to turn into scrapbooks. All I have to do to talk myself out of doing any of these things, when I even think of doing them in the first place, is simply distract myself with input: social media, TV, “news” articles that don’t really enrich me.

I have also always felt that I should be serving my community in some way. I donate to various causes, but it doesn’t feel like I’m really doing much. I want to be on the ground somewhere doing something that has a direct impact. Whenever I think about what that would be and how I would incorporate it into my life, I always convince myself that I don’t have the time. And indeed, if you look at my day, you will see that it is full. It’s just full of the wrong things, I think.

If I can figure out a way to stay connected online without devoting my entire day to it, and if I can stop automatically turning on the TV whenever free time opens up, I can start working on improving myself. Hopefully, that will lead to better friendships and more opportunities, and I’ll stop feeling unfulfilled in the non-work sphere.