Switching Off

Switching Off

I love people, so much in fact that I often find myself without a voice at times because I’m fearful of offending, insulting, standing up for myself. I’m confused and bewildered by the actions and thought patterns that exist between two individuals. For me, there is no greater thing than a genuine connection with another person, whether physically, mentally or spiritually; watching and engaging with people on a singular level is one of the greatest reasons for being here.

It’s becoming apparent to me that these little moments of connectivity between two people are becoming increasingly less frequent, that friends and family members are turning to their phones during an interesting conversation or debate; that people are constantly thinking ahead of their current standing, always in thought of what is coming up next.

We’re constantly bombarded by the filtered views of others, showing off the edited versions of ourselves to one another as if we’re begging for acknowledgment of our accomplishments. You very rarely see the reality of an individuals life, just the holiday snaps, new cars, relationships and achievements. I am a culprit myself. My friends talk to me about social anxiety and depression, and it’s no wonder these issues are so prominent at the moment, we’re plagued by everyones best self, in constant competition to outdo one another to ensure we meet the social standards and look like we’re successful, because that’ll make us feel a success.

With the rise in social media and even virtual reality, such as Pokémon Go, it seems all too apparent that we’re turning to technology to escape the hardships of everyday life, that when we enter a confrontation with someone we’ll drop our heads and turn to Facebook, that when we’ve got a free evening we’ll sit and abide by the usual routine of Twitter scrolling,always performing some sort of inner comparison with everyone else.

I should know this feeling best. For three years at school and into university, I spent hours upon hours indulging in the TV show Friends. I can quote any line in the show at any point. When it’s on in the house, I’ll be able to tell you, give or take a season, which episode is playing and exactly what happens. Every time. I can tell you the back stories of all six characters, middle names, past relationships, jobs, fashion sense, you name it. I’ve seen Friends from season 1 to 10 at least 10 times over… and it sickens me.

To think of the time I’ve wasted watching repeat episodes because it’s the easy way out, instead of getting off my arse and applying myself to something productive. As far as I can work out, Friends was just the beginning of this generational escapism. Current TV’s shows including Goggle Box — where the viewer sits and watches people watch TV — make me feel so unhappy about the current state of things. We’ve actually reached a level now where we spend hours watching other people watch television. Let that sink in.

I write this because I’ve seen myself fall into this category as of late, and I am depressed as a result. I’ve spent the best part of three months day-dreaming about all the possibilities I currently have, all the doors I could open for myself, but when I think about this, it overwhelms me and I switch off in front of the TV. Good choice.

If this article has any sort of life lesson in it, it’s this. Switch the technology off once in a while, go and do the things that put you in a constant state of challenge, because it’s the challenge that leads to satisfaction and thus happiness. Stop wishing you were living someone else’s life, become intrinsic and ask what it is that makes you happy, and go do.