Wow, it took me signing out of social media to start blogging again?! To all the very recent new followers, this is a bit of an out-of-the-ordinary post – sorry! Regular service will resume after this, I promise I have loads planned for expat life, living in Ireland and family travel! I hope this post doesn’t make you leave before I get to share it with you! But also you should know, I love getting personal, and sharing way too much – so yea, this really is me being the real me. This is a bit of a personal check in for the new year, but also I didn’t actually posted any new content for the whole of 2020, so yea… this is might turn into massive life update.
Starting off, for the old followers who have been following me since the very beginning – I became a mom at the end of 2019 to a vibrant and special daughter. I wrote all about being pregnant as an expat living in Ireland, still debating if I should share the birth story – but yea, on top of everything that happened in the world in 2020, I went into last year in unchartered territories myself. I started last year very much learning to be a mother whilst living very far away from basically all our family and support. If you had told me it would be this way, I probably would have held off having a kid (but then I wouldn’t have the amazing kid I have now!). Most of our family haven’t actually met our daughter which is heartbreaking. The last time the grandparents held her was well over a year a go (she was only a week old the last time my own mother held her). So last year was not how I imagined her first year going at all. Before all of this started I was actually feeling quite anxious about how we were going to have to juggle all of the visits, and spend up all of our holiday leave flying to see family. So 2020 really did give me the gift of slowing things down, embracing uncertainty yes, but also selfishly enjoying our sweet little family without have to plan and organise and structure all of our time. For the planner/researcher type that I am, it seems crazy that becoming a mom has made me want to be less like that. I want to be more free flowing and more intentional with my time because time really is such a precious thing.
With all the news and the uncertainty and just the different approaches every where is/was handling things as they are right now, it led me to feeling quite overwhelmed with emotions and frustrations if I am honest. I got quite despaired at the how people I know and love were acting and carrying on when my world in Ireland was very much different in comparison. I’ve lost count at how many friends I’ve seen keep seeing friends and family, flying home and have large family Christmas’, telling me covid is just like flu, arguing that the rules were very much guidelines but that it was ok to keep travelling and seeing people because ‘we know they have been isolating too’. It left me feeling disappointed and angry and really quite bitter. I was not being the best version of myself. Their actions were leading me to not like the way I was acting in response to it. I am a highly empathetic person. I wear the world’s problems on my shoulders. I often put others needs before my own. The realisation that not all the people I know were behaving the same way left me heartbroken and at a loss for how I could keep going on caring so deeply. Why help people when they seemed so selfish?
Social media seemed to start affecting me the worst, I felt like I was on a teeny tiny soap box at the corner of my very small slice of the world shouting into a void, or rather a blank wall. I was painting all my feelings on this giant ever reaching canvas, and all the colours were running down the canvas – nothing I said seemed to be making even a slight difference. I got heavily involved in social injustices, black lives matter, inequalities all around the world, on top of trying to advocate for people to stay the f*ck at home. I wore all these problems on my heart – It felt like nothing I said made any marked changes to people around me.
I decided at the end of last year, something had to change, and if I couldn’t change the people in my world (or the world at all), I could start looking more into how to change myself. I decided the best place for me to start was to go deep with myself. Why were other peoples actions giving me so much anxiety? How was I not able to differentiate their decisions and my emotions? How could I move past it and grow into myself more.
I have always felt that there is strength in my own vulnerabilities. I am really good at sharing my own weaknesses, but I’m terrible at highlighting my strengths. I have a lot of self doubt, and I lack trust in myself. What can I really do to make a difference? Why is it even up to me to make these changes??
So I quit social media. On New Years Eve, I decided I wasn’t going into 2021 watching what others did before I made my own big bold actions. I wasn’t going to get myself torn up by the worlds emotions. I was going to reset myself by taking a much needed break. I did it too as a bit of a test to myself and those around to me to see how things would feel if I wasn’t always the one showing my life as some sort of display for others to check in with me when they felt like it and rather see who came searching to see how I was first. The results were pretty profound.
You see I have always been quite selective on who I deemed as close friends, and rather very broad with all my surface level acquaintances. What happened was what you would expect really, the close ones got closer, some close ones made no effort at all. Most acquaintances just never bothered, and some really went out of their way to keep the connections we had on social media going offline. I’m not saying this to point fingers and give out pass and fail marks to anyone reading this. It was never about relationships online – for me it really was the mental health aspect of not getting involved in everything, and rather just taking time for myself. Checking in with how I was, putting on my own face mask before reaching to help others.
The biggest lesson I have learnt is that I can actually survive without being on social media. I went from checking in 100’s of times a day to removing all social apps from my phone and lowering my screen time by more than half. I check my phone less but the times I check it are to message/video/call friends and family, read the news, and listen to podcasts. I also don’t feel this heavy need to respond instantly. I used to feel like if I didn’t respond people would stop reaching out. I recently celebrated my birthday and this was the first birthday that I felt most connected to those around me. I received so many messages, so much love on the day – people really surprised me and I felt like I didn’t have to remind anyone to feel validated.
So am I going to return to social media? That’s the question I keep getting now… hey so you said you were quitting for Jan, it’s Feb now – when are you going back??? WELL friends, I just am not sure I am ready to return… YET! I don’t think I can stay offline forever, but I do see how much I have learnt about myself and those around me in the last 6 weeks. I am keen to keep seeing where this new road leads me. I think 2021 is a year that I get comfortable doing my own thing, going against the grain, trying something completely out there as suggesting – we can connect with people offline. We don’t have to always be showing off our perfect (not so perfect) lives for people to validate our existence. We can change the world by healing ourselves, growing and learning more about ourselves, and having more meaningful, and intentional connections with those around us.
So I am not signing this post off in my usual – follow me on social media. Because you won’t find me there. My sign off is rather this – mind yourself first. Be your own unique person, and do what’s right for you. The rest falls into place, transforms into something better or gives you the ability to release the shit that was not serving you best in this new year.
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO DO BUT WERE TOO SCARED ABOUT WHAT OTHERS MIGHT THINK? C’MON FRIEND, LET’S QUIT TOGETHER.
Not traveling much these days, just living simply,
p.s I took a break in posting content on here but I have recently started writing again and plan to post 1 – 2 times a month, so be sure you don’t miss out on the new post you should sign up and get all the news straight in your inbox – Sign up now!
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