Yo Internet, Who Am I?

I don’t know myself.

I’ve often struggled with conforming to people around me.
So they would like me and I would fit in.

Growing up in a strict household, I was always told, “don’t speak unless you are spoken to.”
So, I kept quiet.
I didn’t speak up.

So, college was a very expressive time for me.

I was in a new state with new people and new surroundings.
I could speak whenever I wanted and say whatever I wanted.
I could be whoever I wanted to be.

I’d express myself with clothes.
I’d wear a wool, flat-cap with a blazer.
A 45-year-old professor in an 18-year-old body.

I grew my hair down to my shoulders.
I’d wear weird argyle dress socks for my tennis matches.
I started a blog and wrote poetry.
I drank and partied too much.

Like many college students, I was searching for an identity.

After college I hopped into the corporate world and stopped searching.
I just became what I became.
I got an iPhone and focused on my work.
I stayed distracted. And stayed connected.

I used my phone to always be connected and always be busy.
Because that means I’m important.

An innocent device slowly turned into an innocent addiction.
Transient time used to be contemplation time and it turned into a time of constant distraction.
Transient time waiting in line. 
Transient time waiting on a plane. 
Transient time on a plane (yes, no matter the cost I buy wifi on the plane).
Scrolling social media, checking email, sending meaningless texts. 
All meaningless distractions.

And as time went on, the time I spent with myself and my thoughts declined more and more.
Eventually to the point of not spending any time with myself whatsoever.

I totally lost touch with myself.

The only time I would be fully disconnected was in the shower.
And I take sub five minute showers.
Not a lot of quality time there.

So, part of me feels that connectivity has stolen my identity.
I used to be in touch with who I am.
I used to actively spend time with myself.
To know myself. And know what I care about.

Constant connectivity to the internet has destroyed my relationship with myself.
To the point that I have no clue who I am.
Because I don’t spend any time with myself.

Social media has taught me what’s important in life. 
Social media has taught me who I need to be.
The larger the social media presence I have, the more important I am.
Social media told me that I need to post subtle first class pictures of our travels.
So people know that we are important and rich and special.

Oh, look! You can see my Range Rover subtly in the background of my Instagram post.
Ah, I give you a glimpse of my watch in the background, so you know what brand it is.
That’s self-worth, right?

Showing the world that you are special.
Showing the world that you have nice things.

What has happened to me? Who am I?
Yo internet, can I have my identity back?

So, I came to a realization…

I don’t have to answer to the internet.
I don’t have to be the internet’s slave.

I can control whether or not I use the internet.
And how often.

Which seems obvious of course, but why does it seem like we don’t have a choice?

Name one person you know that doesn’t have a smartphone.
It’s become a societal norm.
And it’s become normal to have it on you at absolutely all times.
Which creates a really terrible habit.
Or, I dare say, addiction.

What on your smartphone could you absolutely not live without?
It’s not like you don’t have a computer with internet that you are on everyday.

You are still connected.

So, why do you have to have a smartphone on you every second of the day?

What if you didn’t have a smartphone?
What if you only had a phone that could call and text?

Would your world stop spinning?
Or could you adjust?

And what if you didn’t only adjust, but you thrived?

What if your partner actually enjoyed spending time with you now?
Because you were actually there.
You were actually present.
You actually listened. Deeply.

What else would change in your life if you weren’t constantly checking your smartphone?