This past weekend, I disappeared. I hadn’t done that in a long time. Just went off the grid, ignored phone calls, and flaked on all social obligations. Instead, I read a book, wrote, and ran some errands. I hung out in Washington Square Park by myself and went to a solo brunch. I bought a new sweater in Soho and went home and burned incense and cleaned my room. Stupid, silly life stuff. It was actually very boring but sometimes you need that. When you start to feel like a raw nerve all the time, you have to take a step back and bask in the mundane because sometimes it’s the only thing that can make you feel normal again.
We live in a technological age where a lot is expected from us. Our jobs never stop. Communication with our friends never ceases, and to be honest, I don’t think we were ever meant to be this plugged in. I don’t think our brains can handle it. We need a separation. We need boundaries. In order to be healthy, we must practice self-preservation. We must have these weekends where we become self-serving and only do things we want to do. Yes, our friends might not like it, but tough shit. You’re going to become a bad friend if you don’t fucking take care of yourself.
I write for the Internet, which means that I’m online an average nine hours a day (but usually way more, let’s be honest). Being so tethered to my computer isn’t necessarily a good feeling. I’ve grown to hate it actually. So the one thing I do for myself is I don’t buy a smart phone. People laugh at me when I bring out my phone from 1999 but I’m the one who’s getting the last laugh because YOU ARE THE ONE WHO’S ENSLAVED TO YOUR STUPID IPHONE. We’re having a nice dinner and you’re checking your damn email! That doesn’t look fun, now does it? I’m over here living life with gusto while you’re still pretending it’s 3pm at the office. Again, it’s about developing boundaries and keeping your sanity intact. Going off the grid, not being able to do anything but text and make phone calls: these are all things I have to do in order to feel normal.
Sometimes it feels like we’re all on short virtual leashes with our gadgets. We say “yes” to every social gathering just so our days can be full and we won’t have to face a night alone. Why is the prospect of being by ourselves so damn scary? At this point in my life, getting catch up drinks with someone I don’t even like that much is more terrifying than being at home alone. I also used to feel guilty every time I bailed on plans but I’ve realized that getting older just means no longer giving a shit and becoming a bit more selfish for your own good. If you haven’t already, I suggest you start doing the same.