Currently in Charlottesville in the midst of my move in day weekend (Monday-Tuesday), and I’m bringing to you this post – what I’ve learned this summer. This was COVID summer round 2. Did I make a lot of changes? Not really. But did I learn things? Yep. Let’s discuss.
Let me know down below if you’ve learned anything specific this summer.
Related Post: Social Media + the Lives We Live
What I’ve learned this summer
Comparison is an internal problem
This isn’t a popular stance, but hear me out. I took a social media break this July. Early in the month, I wasn’t posting a lot and so I decided to take a step back to see how I would feel without the social media world. I felt like I didn’t necessarily miss much. I didn’t miss it while I was away. Honestly, I probably had a lot more time to read and catch up on things in real life without it. It was only when I got back on I felt like I “missed out.” There were a few things I didn’t witness – someone got engaged, someone else got a new job. For the people that I do want to keep up with, I’ll reach out to them. I’ll stay updated on their lives.
Onto this point. When I went away from social media, comparison didn’t necessarily abate itself. I think we so often associate comparison with social media, and I do think it exacerbates the problem, but it isn’t the problem (not where this point is concerned). My mind compares others and myself constantly, and without this time away from social media, I wouldn’t have recognized that. I actually need to work on combating my thoughts of comparison by recognizing I am always trying to compare apples to oranges. My comparison is an internal problem to work on.
Disciplines are hard
This summer I had good intentions of working out, blogging twice a week, and making my podcast happen. Unfortunately, a lot of that didn’t happen. I actually wrote about it in THIS post. Reading Good Habits earlier this month, I realized that starting and sustaining good habits are really difficult. Environment matters. The level of reward matters. Friction matters. I never found a good way to sustain my habits. with a reduction in friction to make it more accessible and desirable to get started on some of the harder things.
My personality is the type where it’s easy to start but it’s hard to finish. A project. An idea. Even a meal. I often glamorize the process and end up disheartened when things aren’t as romantic as I dreamt it. While I didn’t achieve my goals, I do have a lot of ideas and I do still have a chance this fall to recommit to my goals and make them work for me. I’ve got to let go of me time that’s self-indulgent and make space to make my future self proud.
Related Post: I haven’t accomplished what I set out to…
Family disrupts your agenda
This sounds lowkey toxic. But I actually may be the one who’s toxic. Our society has made us automatons, where we all can (and feel like we should) function as self-sustaining individuals. Being in a family unit disrupts that. Every morning where I wanted to spend time alone or do my own thing (blogging, working on some sort of project), I’d get derailed – being asked to do something by a family member or get lost in some sort of family activity (usually cooking). At first I was annoyed at no longer being able to accomplish everything I wanted. But then I realized it’s selfish to want the world to move in my direction all the time. That every single thing on my to do list is what should be prioritized and if it isn’t, the world’s not right.
What if I’m prioritizing the wrong things? What if the right things are found when I let go of my agenda?
A social media break is always needed
I just think it’s nice in some capacity to check out of the online world in some way. Most of us can’t find ourselves on a retreat in a monastery, but we all make decisions about what we use and how much we use it. Sometimes stepping back is the key to regaining focus. We can fall into the trap of feeling like we have to know everything going on to be good friends and good neighbors. But how can you pour well into others when you haven’t evaluated what’s been pouring into you?
This can look like taking the weekends off (my plan going forward). Maybe once a month, you take a week off. Or maybe you do a Cory Asbury – do a year on and a year off (look it up!) Whatever you do, make sure your online life doesn’t overtake and overwhelm your real one. You deserve to be fully present to the ones you love and the ones who love you.
We aren’t meant to consume the tragedies of the world
I am not usually one for spicy takes, but here we are. It’s an awkward time to have this take, but quite frankly, I’ve been thinking about it for some time. I think consuming bad news is numbing us. Don’t get me wrong. We should be totally aware of what is going on in Afghanistan, Haiti, and COVID-19 across the world. These are not issues to take lightly. At the same time, these are not issues to take lightly. The massive consumptions of these tragedies outside of our own towns and communities – I mean – we have no actual clue what this means for us long term. The Internet hasn’t been around for generations. The Internet and social media are new inventions in relation to the history of humanity.
Given that we have no clue what this means for the long term, I think it’s safe and wise to slow consumption a little bit when life gets way rougher than anticipated and the news looms with danger. We can’t hold every single tragedy personally close to our chests without becoming exhausted and depleted. There will be no hope. There will be no desire to go on. Going along with the point above, it’s okay, even healthy to take a step back.
Related Post: The paradox of rest in American culture
Summer maybe shouldn’t be about goals – rest > achievements
My last real lesson for this summer is a reflection on past summers as much as it was this one. I always make goals in the summertime. Every summer I legitimately make a list of goals I aspire to reach. And every summer, I don’t hit them. To some, this may seem really fruitless. Why make goals you never achieve? I’m not sure. Maybe I’m an optimist. Maybe I’m committed to growth. Either way I came to the realization that I may be trying to make the season of rest into a season of achievement. As much as I like goals, rest is important. Plants bloom but they also spend some time growing in the soil. Like plants, we too need time to grow in a way that’s less visible.
I do not easily enter into rest. It either comes by force or by exhaustion. But maybe I can take what I’ve learned from this summer and turn it into an invitation to rest. An invitation to allow hidden growth to take place.
May you find rest. May you have space to grow. May your agenda be disrupted so the right priorities have space to enter in. And may you go in peace.
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