Sometimes it can be so difficult to remain present. To remain alert and actively involved. For most people in my generation, the current status of the country (and the world) is probably the most difficult thing we’ve had to deal with. So far anyway. We learned about the depressing years from the past and how our grandparents and great-grandparents eventually rose from them. But no one ever talked about the mental toll that these things take. The history books never told us how to deal with these issues on a personal level.
I delete social media apps from my phone routinely in order to give myself a break.I can’t go more than a few weeks without them though because social media sites are where I get my news from
Every time I delete my apps and come back something major has happened. The first time I deleted my Instagram and came back to see the first iteration of Trump’s Muslim ban had dropped. Just last week, I came back to Twitter in the middle of the Charlottesville riots. I know I have a responsibility to be present and to care about these things. Believe me I do. But when there are terrible events happening every other day all over the world, the future seems so bleak sometimes and it weighs on me. Heavily.
I feel selfish because there are people in the world who have to worry about bombs being dropped on them because they were born in places where other people have decided to fight their wars. Other people have to worry about where their next meal will be coming from or a number of other things. I understand that as a person born in a first world country, I have a small amount of privilege that not everyone in the world will get to experience. This makes me feel guilty too; as if I’m not deserving of this life or the privilege.
It’s difficult trying to exist in a world that operates like ours does. It’s like we have a responsibility to do our part to make sure that we leave behind a healthy, not war ravaged planet for the future generations; even though the possibility of war is completely out of our hands, to know everything about current events and understand them as well as take steps to improve communities around us. Find a career, become successful and take care of yourself in a capitalist society that continues to become more expensive and impossible to thrive in. We have to march in the protests, we have to write about why we hate the established system and what we are doing to change it. Oh, and make sure to maintain a 4.0 in college, otherwise you will have gotten yourself into crippling debt for no reason.
Some of those things don’t sound all bad. Some of our societal expectations are just basic human expectations. But we are expected to do so much, to know so much, to stay up to date with everything that is happening around us(even as everything goes to shit) and be okay with it.
I cannot do it. And I won’t, not anymore. I cannot continue to place unnecessary expectations on myself and feel good. Feel like I am completely sound mentally. My social media breaks help because I’m allowing myself some time away from the world and the stress that it forces upon me. But I think I need to take it a step further. Spend a week or so away from my T.V, my computer. Solely focus on writing or reading or anything creative in order to allow my brain some time to decompress and flourish.
These days, it is more important than ever to make sure that we give ourselves a chance to experience the positive side of life. We focus so much on the negative and the news-worthy moments because that is what makes up our days. But I know that mentally, I cannot continue being bombarded with tragedy and trash every other day and come out still shiny and positive and intact. None of us can, none of us should have to.