Culture and Society

My Digital Minimalism Journey

Most people who know me understand that I have quite a lot of interests. I love to read books and play music (with three completely different instruments no less). I also enjoy writing (poetry, songs, short stories, screenplays, and blog posts), photography, and design. Currently, I am in college getting an undergraduate degree in Video and Film Production.

I also love cuddling with my cat, going on long walks, and riding my bicycle. As much as I can, I keep up with friends and other creative folks with whom I make lots of art. My life is full and filled with joyful geekery.

However, over the last couple of years, I’ve felt a drain on my system.

I noticed that I’ve been spending a lot of time on my phone and on my computer looking at Instagram, Youtube, and Netflix. I’ve spent so much time on these platforms that other parts of my life have been affected. I do not exercise as much or actually engage in conversations and hang-outs with the people I love as often as I used to.

Before all of this gets out of control, I have decided to do something about it.

Here, with bullet points (because I LOVE bullet points), are the steps I am taking:

  • Remove all social media and any useless apps from my cell phone (except Instagram which is only fully accessible on a smart phone, but I have moved its icon to a distant folder where it is harder to access and not visible).
  • Reducing my social media engagement by only publishing posts related to this blog and my weekly updates/reviews/reflections at my personal site www.roqueinbloom.com.
  • Reserve only 20 minutes each morning to catch up with a select number of friends on Instagram and Facebook.
  • Set up all of my IG and FB posts in advance as much as possible.
  • Cancel my Netflix subscription. Yup, this is a tough one, but since school starts back up in a month, this is an addiction I can truly do without. (I’m gonna watch a couple of movies soon before I do this as a small farewell.)
  • Remove all of my original art and content from Instagram. As long as I am decluttering, why should I let a massive, Facebook-owned, algorithm benefit from displaying my work. The app has not delivered any of the exposure that I would have liked, so no thanks. (You might notice that my photos are mysteriously disappearing lately. Enjoy them while they last.) I am focusing all of my art, films, and music on my own websites. (Facebook is a different matter altogether. I’m still figuring that out.)

What do I hope to get out of this for myself? Bullet points please . . .

  • More time to doing activities that bring me joy such as playing music, long walks by myself, and conversations with loved ones.
  • Less time watching other people living their best lives. When I scroll through Instagram, I see lots of filtered images full of people doing amazing things. They travel and eat delicious food. Smile blissfully and wear fantastic clothes. I am happy for them, but if I spend hours consuming so much of that fun, then my life evolves into being a zombie spectator. Seriously, no thanks. I have to actively live my own best life.
  • I will be more engaged with people in actual, face-to-face interactions. Pressing a “Like” button can only say so much. I often have far more to say.
  • As an artist, I want to create. Aimlessly thumbing through a feed for hours does not a creator make.

Do not get me wrong. Digital devices and social media platforms are not necessarily evil in and of themselves (sort of). I do believe that they are incredibly sophisticated in the ways that they absorb a user’s attention and become easily addictive. As such, it is my responsibility to be hyper-vigilant and massively discerning about how I traverse through our inescapable digital landscape.

I understand that cell phones and computers are part of a modern way of living now, but I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT let them control my life and call the shots.

No. Just no.

I have been gifted with this one life I have, and I will not be a slave to the nefarious corporations of the world. (I’m looking at you Facebook.)

I’m going to play my ukulele now on my front deck and hope my cat is nearby.

I will take in each moment as the gift that it is. Fully mine for the taking, free of digital distractions and free to live my own life.

-Roqué

BLOG BONUS: If you are interested in Digital Minimalism, I HIGHLY recommend reading the book Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by one of my favorite writers Cal Newport. Click HERE to check it out.

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