My week without Instagram

The birds are chirping, the flowers in mama’s garden are blooming beautifully (all 8 of them, the purple one doesn’t look so good. My prayers are with you o purple one. Try not to die) and my neighbor is doing push up on his lawn. I would have totally missed those things had I not made the conscious decision to stop scrolling and start looking up from my phone. Also, on a separate occasion; I nearly inhaled a fly because I was focusing so hard on my phone. That’s a story for some other day.

So, I decided to experiment. Taking a break from scrolling for a week, starting Instagram. Do I feel like a weirdo staring into oblivion most of the time? absolutely. But I have not felt this bored since the last time I ate laksa without my phone next to me (read all about my adventure in my last blogpost if you’ve missed out).

The week started out rough. Instagram had become sort of a filler in between life events, for example: while waiting for my turn at the grocery store, commuting, during commercial breaks while watching the news on TV, before bed, before prayers (to gather some ideas on what to pray for) and recently, while waiting for the next Zoom meeting to start. So, without Instagram I just sat/stand awkwardly while looking at other people/animals/objects around me. Did I freak some people/cats/carpets out? Possibly.

Let me share with you what I learnt from my Instagram detox week:

1. It turns out I don’t care that much about other people’s lives and in turn (I believe) they don’t really care about mine. I don’t mean it in a negative, we-are-all-narcissists kinda way but what I meant here is that we are constantly doubting ourselves thinking “what those people might say” before we do something. Well, now you know they don’t really give a tiny rat’s $&# about you. <- the “ tiny rat’s $&#” “ was a reference from a TV show. If you managed to guess it, we might be soulmates. 🥰

2. We get programmed with much of what society and advertisers want us to think as they feed us laminated contents that preyed onto our insecurities. You need this cream to make your armpit fairer, you’ll grow taller and slimmer (in all seriousness, ketiak_putih_tinggi_langsing please stop DM-ing me your cream. I don’t want your cream, I already got some ointments from ubat_kurus_cepat_kaya_baik_hati). You need to learn this new online course to make you richer than Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma and The Great Gatsby (combined!) in 2 months. You need to change your career as this guy is driving a sports car being a forex trader/e-commerce something. You need to have a spouse and few children else your life is incomplete. You need to travel (thank God for Coronavirus) to literally all the places (eventhough you raked up ridiculous credit card bills or debt from pay later providers) else you’re not as worldly.

3. We get drowned with so much information per second, we only know very little about certain things or very much about useless things. Our attention span is super short it’s not even worth telling people your name as they’ll forget it right away. This is a problem because we only have one brain. The same brain that craves the dopamine hits we get from likes and comments etc is the same one we need to use to solve important problems. If we train our brains to only get excited about snappy, fast moving, new content/stimulus all the time; how can it bears the focus you need to read, find creative ways to solve problems and think about hard things (ie: what to tell your mum when you accidentally murdered her plants because you thought they’re weeds. ) SEE, IF I DONT SPEND SO MUCH TIME ON INSTAGRAM, I MIGHT KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEEDLINGS AND WEEDS! Maybe I need to follow plants accounts on Instagram to signal my new preference in life? Pls suggest any instafamous cactus I should follow.

I don’t want to sound like a negative nelly but taking a break from scrolling made me realize how much time I spent consuming contents that made me insecure, got me to frantically react to happenings that may or may not affect me, and more importantly : lose what it means to be alive. From now on, time to time; I just want to take the time, to just be.



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