Disconnect. Then, reconnect.

Hi social media –

In late 2017, you were like a broken router. All of the messages that I received from you were garbled and distracting. I tried so hard to quit you. And on January 1st, 2018, I unplugged you.

It wasn’t easy and I struggled a lot. You may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything. I’ve also turned off all of your dopamine inducing notifications. To my friends and you, this may have made me appear a bit more oblivious.

I’m sorry. I just needed some space.

“FRIEND and 13 others have recently tweeted. Tap to see.”

“FRIEND has posted a new photo. Tap to see it.”

Damn it. You kept updating me on what is going on. It made it so hard to focus. It made it hard to be 100% present.

There have been times where I have been intently staring at my phone when amazing people are right there sitting in front of me. How have I let this shiny blue screen capture so much of my attention?

Only when I was brave enough to press the power button and the screen faded to black, did the people from behind the shiny blue screen emerge.

I was back. We were back. We talked, we shared ideas, we cracked jokes, and we laughed together. This glowing portal to the internet that I carry in my pocket is a tool, not a substitute for the people around me.

I’ve found myself 10 times happier in the past month and change.

I recently celebrated Chinese New Year with my family and my phone remained in my pocket (on airplane mode) during all our meals. It’s been a while since I have felt this relaxed; it’s been a while since I have felt this connected; it’s been a while since I have laughed this hard.

My goal for 2018 is to be more present. And by unplugging social media, I learned something important: it requires a lot of discipline to be present.

So I’m trying my hardest to change an old, bad habit. No more shiny blue screens when I’m surrounded by great people. I’m still human, so help me by holding me accountable.

And as I say this, I’m plugging back in my router. The lights are starting to blink. I’m back!