Yesterday, the sun was still out at 5:06pm. My weather app showed me earlier that the sun will be setting by 5:34pm, so I knew, but noticing the sun and feeling its last bits of warmth on my skin as I locked the door and walked into the street filled me with hope. I was leaving for the gym, just like I have been doing most Mondays. By December, as the days got shorter and the overhead lights replaced the sun naturally illuminating the workout studio, I knew what was coming. One ordinary day, as I was rushing out my door for class, I realized it was already dark. It filled me with dread and hopelessness; I had no choice but to accept another winter, it’s seemingly endless cold, gloomy, dark days. To self-soothe I complained to anyone who would listen that I couldn’t believe we do this every year, and their knowing nods, understanding words made me feel better; I wasn’t alone.(more…)
Tag: digital minimalism
Chasing the dragon
Why stop at the wolves?
And I’m just thinking out loud, last minute musings, late night rants, cursing the internet- no, not this internet- for changing so fast, so quick, so suddenly; abandoning me, leaving without warning, and for leaving me no choice but to leave too, and because I only write what I feel like writing about, and sometimes I don’t feel like it until the night before. If it gets hard to follow, maybe it doesn’t make sense, too many grammatical errors, and maybe I may be completely wrong, but in any case thank you for indulging me, and apologies in advance. I need to say it.(more…)
Feeding the second wolf
In every person there are two wolves who are always at war with each other. One is evil, the second one is good. Which wolf wins? “The one you feed.“(more…)
New year, better problems
(Since I don’t listen, let me reframe.)
It’s a dangerous trap, the comfort of misery. You can spend a lifetime on the same problem; getting used to it, becoming addicted even- the complaining, the exasperated sighs, the misery. “People let the same problem make them miserable for years when they could just say, So what. That’s one of my favorite things to say. So what.” But the devil you know, and it is true.
Because it shouldn’t be that difficult right- if I say I don’t want to spend too much time online, it’s a waste of my time, it’s lonely, isolating, boring- to get offline? But it’s easier to complain about the problems of Tinder from the comfort of my couch than to get dressed, go out, and awkwardly flirt with someone who didn’t show initial interest by swiping left/right. It’s a lot of work; this reality of ours. You are safe online; your ego is safe, and plenty of fish to fill up on. A lot can go wrong in real life. After all the effort it took to show up, you might not find a single person to try your luck with- you don’t run out of people on dating apps, but a venue can hold only so many people. Reality is unpredictable; indifferent to your efforts. Which brings me back to an important consideration, so what?(more…)
Another year (mostly) spent offline
2022 beat my ass. I aged ten years in two weeks, what did you accomplish? Getting offline won’t save you from yourself, that’s lesson one. Nothing will save your from yourself, except maybe death, but then it won’t matter anyway. In the meantime, getting (mostly) offline has made life much better. Compared to what? I can’t say, but it feels better. It is truly the gift that keeps on giving and I’m excited to see where this journey, this little adventure of mine, will take me. There is no looking back now.(more…)
Bundle up and gather around, I got a two-word horror story to tell: It snowed. It’s not that I hate winter. It’s just that I hate four hours of daylight and deadly icy sidewalks, and of course, the cold. It sickens me. But as the prayer goes;
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
So. It’s officially winter. It’s cold, it snows, and it gets dark crushingly early. Naturally, I want to recoil and die. People tell me they understand my despair. We can’t believe it’s dark already. Wasn’t everyone wearing a t-shirt last week? “Watch your steps hun, it’s slippery.” It hurts. It helps. We’re all collectively trying to get through another season of freezing cold temperatures, short dark days, icy roads, leafless trees, gloomy afternoons, and it sucks for everyone.(more…)
Apps won’t cure your loneliness
(Sorry, social media followers don’t count.)
I’m browsing at my favourite shop with my best friend. “Girl, look at you!” I look up beaming. Compliments from strangers are the best, your boyfriend should find you beautiful. The usual small talk ensues; until we find a common ground. “Where are you from?” In Toronto, this is a common question, it means which country are you from. Ethiopia. Oromo. Harare. No longer stranger; we are linked together with thousands of years of tradition, custom, and love. I pull out my phone; “Let’s exchange numbers!” By evening we are making plans to hang out that weekend. It doesn’t work out as I had hoped. Everybody ain’t for everybody.(more…)
A weekend getaway
I have spent many years fantasizing about a total escape from the digital world; chuck the smartphone, delete social media, not even bother with Google. Unplugged, disconnected, completely offline. I still fantasize about it, although it has become more of a distant longing. It would be nice, sure, but reality requires something else of me. That’s just life, I think. Instead, I have learned to appreciate the little moments I get to spend away from the internet. Like most mornings I spend reading and journaling, workout classes, with not even a Fitbit on sight, Friday evenings spent tucked away at a bar for a weekly gin and convo session with a friend. When I’m feeling really fancy, I put on music and do Suduko puzzles for hours; I know heaven.(more…)
Idle hands scroll
Bad advice is a dime a dozen. I look at my Friday, noting I had made no plans. I figured with a busy weekend ahead, and consecutive busy weekends prior, my liver, wallet, and I could use a little break. Just chill at home, I think, it is okay to be bored. By 4:00pm, I know I have made a bad bargain with the devil; idle, bored, and emotionally distraught, I text a friend to hang out. On my way there, ready for a night of gin and good conversation, I think about what a shit advice be bored is. I am bored! That’s the problem.
A lot of advice online is so far removed from reality, at times I wonder who writes it, AI, probably, and who it is for. Many things sound good in theory, I get, but have little to no application in real life. You know what else sounds really good in theory? The productivity gurus’ advice to keep our schedules full of important and productive activities. They tell us, work for 12 hours, workout for 4, and sleep for 8, and well if you add it all up, that’s 24 hours. I’m trying to enjoy living so I have stopped caring about frivolous things like being productive. It takes up too much of my time anyway.(more…)
Kill your phone
I love my smartphone. It’s functional, practical, convenient, and compact; smart too. It connects, entertains, gets me places. There is not a thing I have owned prior, nor in the present and probably in the future, that could claim half of what this tiny device is able to accomplish. I wouldn’t die without a smartphone, granted, but I would miss this tiny miracle if, for one reason or another, it was no longer in my possession.
It began as a love story; the youthful and the new, shiny technology synched together in curiosity, awe, and admiration. The honeymoon phase inevitably came to an end, and the awe and admiration soon turned into resentment. I noticed, despite myself, how the now no longer new, shiny technology, taking little space, fitting snuggly in my hands, controlled so much of my time, attention, life. In the beginning, I enjoyed spending most of my time getting lost in its trance; everyone was there anyway. Then the new became old, the old was lost, and I realized I have made a bad bargain. Despite my best efforts to negotiate, compromise, and at times make threats, the smartphone with its convenient functionality and irresistible distractibility continued to effortlessly invade my attention and occupy all my time.
So, I had to kill it.(more…)
Tips, tools, tricks for life unplugged
On a more practical, and less preachy, note, I wanted to share a list of tips, tools, and tricks I have used in the past and still use to unplug, disconnect, and spend more time offline. It is by no means an exhaustive list, and it might not be for everyone, everywhere, at all times, but it is what has worked for me, and I hope you find if some of it useful.
- Turn (almost all) notifications off. No buzz, beep, bloop sounds around here. Once I realized I am not that important and nobody would die because I missed their call or text, the burden lifted and I keep notifications to a minimum.
- Speaking of not being that important, just because I can be reached 24/7/365, does not mean I have to be reached 24/7/365. If I miss your call, I will call back. Texts can wait too. It’s a good mentality shift that helps me create a space between my phone and I.