We’ve hit that sweet spot.
That time of year when we really decide if the statement “New Year, New Me” will really mean anything or if we will just divert back to our silly old selves and down another late night box of Krispy Kremes.
The fireworks have subsided, we’re slowly coming out of our New Year’s hungover hazes; it’s game time.
For those of you that don’t know, or don’t care to know (although I think I can safely assume that if you are reading this you care to know…Hi Mom) I’ve been in an online dating frenzy since my last long term relationship several years ago. The conversation went like this:
Lexi: “You should get Tinder…”
Me: “I don’t know how to build a fire…”
Me: “Hey! This guy likes me!”
And the rest, they say, is ridiculous history.
Right after the New Year I ended my decidedly last Tinder adventure. The conversation came after two months of hanging out with a nice gentleman who I thought could be the end of my ceaseless venture for love on a screen.
Well, he was the end to be sure. But not in the way I’d hoped.
“Hey, have you given any thought to where you see this going?” I said stupidly after handing him a loaf of stale banana bread and a Christmas card.
“Yeah, about that…I don’t see this going…well, anywhere.”
The last two months of my life went up into the air and disappeared with a metaphoric poof noise.
He calmly explained to me that he didn’t believe in relationships, that he didn’t ever see himself with anyone for the rest of his life. He told me that he wanted to be selfish and take care of himself.
All good things I thought, but that didn’t make me turn any less a shade of Sheet of Paper White.
It then occurred to me that to this man, this older, unmarried man, I was interchangeable. It didn’t seem to bug him that we’d been spending a good deal of time together for the past two months.
He didn’t seem to be “catching the feels” like I was.
But the idea that I could be anyone –the funniest, smartest, most supermodel-like woman on the planet –none of that would matter because this man truly doesn’t want to open himself up to another human that way. And that I was trying to negotiate who I was in the process was completely ludicrous.
This is what screens can do to you.
They can give you what you want in the moment. An attractive face, a pleasant conversation, an endless running document of engagement updates that reassure you that you will indeed die alone.
But what happens when you stop scrolling?
Can you even stop? Is there a way?
It had never occurred to me that this, this simple little toxic thing could make or break my happiness for 2016. When I got home from the heartbreaking conversation that left me wondering if I’d ever find love I deleted my online dating accounts.
This can’t be the only way, it just can’t be.
Mindless scrolling through faces and “About Me” bios that have only led me down the path of destruction and heartache; there’s just got to be a better way.
But I always do this, I thought. I delete it all and then go back after a few months of boredom. But why? Why am I even bored in the first place?
Is my life that comparable to staring at a blank wall that I feel the need to do these things?
Of course not.
If you spent even thirty seconds in my classroom you’d find that the word “boredom” does not exist here.
To research for myself how much better my life could be without scrolling, I went ahead and deleted Facebook off my phone as well. I still exist out there, but now this means that I have to physically get on a computer to scroll, which is a lot slower and leads to much smaller amounts of time spent mindlessly rolling through other people’s lives.
Low and behold this is what I have discovered since I have made these two tiny changes:
I see things more.
I see people more.
I don’t know when people’s birthday’s are.
I have more time to read.
I have more time to write.
I have more time for a lot of things.
I call people more.
I don’t get as jealous of other people’s lives.
I don’t hate myself for wasting my life on my phone.
I don’t get gross or sexist messages from unidentified gentleman callers.
I have more time to cook and don’t accidentally set things of fire because I’m not paying attention.
I’m existentially happier.
There you have it.
Scrolling can numb our brains and often make us hate ourselves. It dehumanizes us and is absolutely no fun when used in excess, which is how most of us use it. Technology and “social” networking are here to stay, but we don’t have to start the zombie apocalypse just yet. We have the power to control how we spend our time and what we spend it on.
Sure, you can still find me laughing it up on Snapchat about my hilarious teacher life and occasionally posting videos of my comedy on Instagram, but you can rest easy knowing that this gal is #TinderFree2016 #FreeFromTheScreen2016