I first discovered Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus through a TEDx talk that they did on "minimalism." The story goes that they were both climbing the corporate ladder, earning big paychecks, and spending all if it and more.
But as the time passed, they both came to realize that they were miserable--masking the misery with work, drinking, drugs, and more spending.
Then minimalism happened.
First, they boxed up all of their "stuff," keeping only the things that they really used or needed. Then they reoriented their life's focus toward the things that really mattered: Health, relationships, passions, growth, and contribution.
They make the point that minimalism isn't just about slimming down. The point is, rather, to liberate yourself from the many "anchors" of your life, to make space for you to bring real value into your life.
Anchors come in many shapes and sizes. And everyone has their own unique collection of them. Bigger paychecks, corporate status, material belongings, toxic "friendships." All of these things can weigh us down, especially when they become our "golden calf."
As Easter draws near, and with a semester in France in my rear view, I have been thinking more about my anchors. Specifically, social media.
I have lamented my unhealthy relationship to this attention-harvesting beast many, many times before. And here I do it again. The silence of my life is welcome and necessary. I find that the news is less anxiety-inducing. I also find that I have plenty of opportunities to connect with friends, only now, in person instead of through cyberspace.
I tell myself that I live in a world and work in a profession that virtually requires me to be plugged in to social media. When Sunday arrives, I anticipate that I will reactivate my accounts. I also anticipate that I will tell myself that "this time, I will do better." I will be more disciplined about my online habits. I won't feel the need to check first thing in the morning when I wake up, and last thing in the evening when I go to bed. I will not feel the compulsive need to "like" every post, or make snappy comments and fret that someone might misread my intent.
But ultimately, I anticipate social media becoming an anchor once more. Perhaps this time, I should leave it to rust at the bottom of the ocean.