Taking a Media Detox

I removed social media from my phone! Shocking no one, I experienced from positive results by making that change:

  1. I read more.
  2. I created a morning routine that makes me less of a grouch.
  3. I am developing a better evening routine so I actually get quality sleep.
  4. My anxiety has reduced dramatically.

Let’s get something straight right off the bat: it is a privilege to have social media and it is also a privilege to have the option to remove social media from one’s life. Some people use social media as their way to connect, keep up to date on information that may be crucial and utilize social media to promote their businesses.

Did I completely remove social media from my life? No. I still used some elements of social media so that I could continue to maintain contact with people. Here were the rules I established for myself:

  1. Remove all social media that could enable me to scroll for hours (Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest). Keep any social media that allows me to remain in contact with people (Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, FaceTime).
  2. If I was going to use a social media that promotes mindless scrolling, I must go to my desk and open the site on my laptop. I set a timer for 30 minutes and when those 30 minutes are up, I get off the websites.
  3. Traditional media apps are still fair game so I can keep up to date on current events.

That’s it. Those are the only rules. So I got rid of the apps and I was off!

At some point, we have all probably heard of some famous person talking about the benefits of a social media detox and all that good stuff. We know it has a tendency to bring some peace of mind, reduce phone addictive behaviors, increase the quality of face to face communication and more. But no one really talks about why they’re going on a social media detox other than the vague “I have a phone addiction and it needs to stop” response. I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but I can speak for me.

I am the social media user that can be best summed up as: a creep. I like, comment and respond to other people’s content, but I rarely post my own. Rather than use the platform as it was originally intended, I have taken a back seat and am a passive user that browses and judges other people’s content.

The problem with passive use is it allows me to utilize it to fill any empty space or time that I have. I have a lot of empty time on my hands right now that I have been filling with endless, meaningless scrolling. No engagement. No conversation. Nothing.

Since we’re here, let’s dissect that concept a little more. Why am I not sharing or engaging anymore? I used to all the time. My Facebook memories tab loves to remind me of all my cringy old posts and photos that I loved to over edit for no reason in particular.

To be frank, I don’t have anything I want to inform anyone about. I like having some anonymity in my life, so I can have space to experience life. But rather than experience life, I have been filling it with mindless scrolling and creeping!

And that poses some problems perhaps you can relate to:

  1. My self worth and value became dependent on the actions/inactions of others rather than my own choices.
  2. I was learning subconsciously that inaction is safer, therefore better. And that’s simply not true because not making an action or choice is still making a choice. A choice that’s weaker and doesn’t allow for growth, change or movement.

By limiting my social media to direct contact only, I’ve learned that I really don’t give two bananas about social media. I thought I did. I thought I wanted to know what people were up to and how their lives were going every moment they posted. That’s not what I care about. It means so much more to me to engage more frequently with people who want to tell me how they’re doing directly. It’s much better than stalking someone in the virtual bushes hoping they’ll see you (or not. Because you’re a creep in the virtual bush).

Until next time,

Dana

Advice to Myself

Look. Y’all don’t have to read this one but I figure if I don’t put this in a very public space, I’ll never commit or apply any of the advice I’m about to give to myself. You’re welcome to take it as well, but I won’t be offended if you don’t (secret: I won’t even know. Computer screens are funny that way). 

But some story time first:

In case if you haven’t gathered from the lack of blog posts, I am busy. All of the time. I’ve had more free time in the last week than I have in the last eight months.

8. MONTHS.

People get more vacation time than that when they work regular jobs. So why am I keeping myself so busy? 

It’s a combination of a lot of things: I’m a motivated human bean. I have a fear of being useless to society. I was raised to desire working and to desire the satisfaction of success and growth. 

But let’s jump back to that second one I slid in the last sentence ever so casually:

“I have a fear of being useless to society.”

I’ll be honest about it that is absolutely why I created this blog in the first place. I got cancer. I had to pull myself out of society and therefore became useless.

Now I know, I know. You’re going to say, “But Dana! You talked about this in your last blog post, A Year In Review. Give us some new content!”

I will. Promise. But I gotta finish this thought first.

Yes. I don’t mind being busy, but I’ve never considered why I keep myself busy. Maybe it’s my Type A personality barging into my life. Perhaps it’s because I don’t know how to say no to people. It could be my motivation trying to get me to do everything all at once. Maybe I really do have a fear of being useless to society.

All of these are true. Guilty. 

More than all of these, I think I have an unspoken fear of running out of time.

(This is the part where you gasp and say “This mid-life crisis fear hitting a 22-year-old! How unreasonable!”)

Not exactly. In case if we all forgot the reason why I started this blog (*cough* cancer), mortality is a lot closer to me than most young adults.

I should have this idiotic idea that I’m invincible as a 20-something-year-old and can drink all the alcohol, do all the stupid things and live.

And I do all of those dumb things, but mainly because I’m trying to get back normal life, not because of some insane complex society allows college kids to live by before they’re struck in the face by the metal baseball bat that is life.

 But while I’m doing these ridiculously fun and menial things, there’s always something in the back of my brain going: this is pointless. Be useful why don’t you? You don’t have time like everyone else. 

WHICH IS INSANE and self-centered! But here we are in the depths of my brain (quite the wild ride. We won’t delve too deep there).

So in this weird place titled “Dana’s Brain,” I have convinced myself that I must do all of the things this instant or I will run out of time and not be able to do all of the things because I’m running out of time.

I can’t explain it and I’m not going to try to. Instead, this is what I am telling myself:

  1. Knock it off. I love you and you’ve got time. More than that, you need to give yourself the time to exist. You’ll have time to be stressed out and busy later in life when you’re 40 with a full-time job and responsibilities.
  2. All those things you’re avoiding by being busy? You should address that stuff. It’s important too. No one dies saying “I’m really glad I’m kicking the can with all this stress on my back.”
  3. You’re okay. Really truly. Breathe. Learn to do some things for you and if you can’t, find someone to show you.
  4. Take more trips. That featured image you put at the top of this post of some cool mountains you saw in Colorado? You don’t have nearly enough photos of that. You definitely need more. 🙂
  5. Make sure you’re busy doing things you like. Otherwise, you’re going to hate everything.


Life is crazy and confusing. You know it. I know it. We’re all pretty honest here. So let’s have some fun in 2019 and remind ourselves of what’s really important.


Thanks for listening.



Until Next Time,


Dana

A Year in Review

My last post title is so funny looking back at it. I’m back? HAH.

I just check to see when I last posted and the time stamp says AUGUST 2017.

THAT’S A YEAR AND FOUR MONTHS SINCE MY LAST POST.

I’d apologize for not writing more, but the truth is, I’m not. I’ve been out living a little instead of writing. However, I am sorry if reading my blog was something you regularly enjoyed reading (hi mom).

Since it’s been such a long time, let me bring you up to speed on my life:

  1. I’m a super senior in college getting ready to graduate in May (No. I don’t have a plan yet. Please don’t ask.)
  2. I’ve stage-managed three productions, house managed for two, artistic directed a Fringe Festival, assistant directed for a main stage production and created my first lighting design.
  3. I have a billion things on my to do list before the end of the semester.
  4. Number three is a lie, but I still have a lot on my list.
  5. I took a spring break trip to Colorado it was life changing.
  6. I performed for the first time in two years this summer and it was my own writing.
  7. I’ve had five or six oncology appointments since the last time we’ve chatted and I am better than ever. My oncologist told me in my last appointment that it was like the cancer wasn’t there in the first place.
  8. I can put my hair into a half pony tail now!
  9.  I am working in the scene shop at my university and it is by far the best job I’ve ever had.
  10. I had to put down two of my doggos this past month, so I’ve been pretty sad. But they’re in a better place so it’s okay.
  11. I’ll be getting to work as a Props Artisan on a professional show in January.

And this is just a small version of what I’ve done in the last year and a half. There have been really big ups and downs across the board, but that’s just life. My time has been filled to the brim and since this blog is something I do for fun, there hasn’t been any time for it.

I didn’t realize how much time I had to myself to be creative when I was undergoing treatment. I had time to heal, write and be creative as I could in my waking hours. However, the real world doesn’t work like that. You don’t always get that kind of time to pause and reflect. Even now, I don’t have time. I have four projects and a show I should be working on, but I wanted to give myself a moment to pause and talk with you.

I’m okay with being busy. I’d rather not have time. When I was undergoing treatment, it was like my whole life was on pause and the only way to make it move forward was if I filled it with something because I was forced to stop doing all the things I loved. It was infuriating to say the least.

And because I wasn’t doing anything, I saw the world was still moving without me. It was hard to watch. I felt like I wasn’t needed.  I know I’m wanted, but I felt as though I wasn’t needed and that was one of the most difficult sensations to overcome. But my dad reminded me of something that his teacher once asked him:

What are all the things you want to accomplish in your time on this earth?

Of course I have a list for that: write a play, direct, love, explore, travel, do all the other things every blogger on this platform talks about.

But then my dad’s teacher asked another question:

What would this world be missing without you in it?

The cynic in me says nothing would be missing. The world would keep moving as it does and eventually someone else would come up with whatever I created or contributed to society.

But that’s not true. If I weren’t here, the world would be missing an optimist. A writer. A lover. A friend. A sister. An explorer. And everything I am to become. Look at what I’ve done in the last 22 years alone! Who knows what I can do next! Without me in the world, we would never know! That’s one “What If” I don’t want to live with.

So now my life has been un-paused and it feels like it’s fast forwarding to make up for lost time. And I have a lot left to do. Get ready!

I’m hoping to write a little more than before, but I can’t guarantee anything. If it’s been a while, just know that I’m out living to bring back stories for you!

Thank you for waiting for me to live a little.

 

Until Next Time,

Dana Qualy