For Akepa (before the start of her junior year of high school):
You should know that I have spent countless hours on social media, just like you. I have checked on my “posts,” felt buoyed when “likes” were plentiful, and diminished when they received little attention. Like you, I have tried to come up with “good” content that revealed the awesomeness of my life. And, in some cases, I have succeeded.
Take, for instance, the recent Instagram post I composed in which I can be seen swooping down in slow-motion out of the snowy trees in a deep tele stance in full battle rattle with Miike Snow’s song Genghis Khan playing in the background.
I mean, Wow, right?!
So when you suggested that we both make a pact to take a break from social media, I was admittedly reluctant.
While the benefits for you were obvious, the benefits for me were less so.
But it occurred to me that if entering this pact helped you in any way (and I believe it will!) then I should do it.
Which is what I have been doing for the last 48 hours.
And I have to admit I feel awful.
Not so much because of being away from social media, but because I have a chest cold, nasal drip, skipped lunch, and now my stomach hurts.
I’m actually hunched over while writing this. It’s that uncomfortable. :-(
But let’s get back to the benefits for you:
- As a high school student with a solid track record of two years of rather uninterrupted social media consumption, you’ve fallen behind in the classroom. Let’s face it, you have some catching up to do. Ireland, remember?
- Getting away from your social media accounts and severing your attachment to your “smartphone” will allow you to turn your attention to academic achievement and free up your brain to learn, which will assist with your critical reasoning, and provide you a solid foundation for the myriad challenges of adulthood that lie ahead.
- Imagine, if you will, you’re a running back trying to gain yardage in an important football game, the biggest game of your life. (Forgive the football analogies, this is what a military career does to you.) Could you do it with a “smartphone” in your hand? The distraction of social media and a “smartphone” is akin to trying to avoid being tackled while Snapchatting and monitoring your “likes” on Instagram, etc.
- The lesson is don’t play football while absorbed in your “smartphone.” Hee, hee! BUT you have taken a brave and significant FIRST STEP for which I applaud you. You–and I–are now both off social media! BRAVO FOR US!!!
Now, I would like to say that 90% of the hard work required of you is completed and you have only the 10% left. But I can’t. Because it is more like 10% is behind you and 90% is left. But at least now you have a fighting chance. I have no doubt that academic achievement of any sort would be IMPOSSIBLE were you to have retained your high levels of social media activities/distractions (and this goes for many of your peers, and probably increasingly middle-schoolers as well).
As boring as it may sound, SCHOOLWORK and READING and SYSTEMATIC STUDY will be your salvation. I have no doubt of this.
I am proud of our 2-day streak without “streaking” (If you are an old fogey like me, google “snapchat streaking” for edification and befuddlement), and I hope that this streak continues to grow! Let’s see how much we can accomplish over the months ahead without all the distractions of “managing” a cyber-existence and reality. (Not to mention, it’s nice to be more present for those around us,and more present in our own lives, right?)
After all, what is more precious than the sanctity and health of our own thoughts and awareness, free of constant intrusions in the forms of bells, whistles, and noxious flashings of light?
En davant, Neboda!!! Courage!!! You can do it!!!
(Please like and share :-D )