Disconnect to Connect

Disconnect to Connect

13 mins 1.9K 13 mins 1.9K

It’s Monday again and as usual we are in the cafeteria for our much needed tea break. The cafeteria is not too crowded but there are a few groups of people sitting here and there. I am with two of my colleagues. Both are busy multitasking - sipping tea and chatting on WhatsApp. Not only my friends, I can see most of the people immersed in their phones. Few days back, even I was no exception. But things are different now. Instead of seeing Facebook I was actually seeing the faces sitting around me. Instead of posting a status I was discussing things with my friends. So how was I different from the status quo? It’s not that I forgot my phone at my desk. I had it right in front of me but I didn’t see the need to use it at that moment. Our cellphones have become our world. We update everything- what we eat, what we wear, where we go, who we are with etc.

In this age of social media WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram have become the new pillars of our lives. People love sharing their life through these media. You wanna know something about someone, go checkout any of these, and you can know more than what you want. I am not a social media freak, but yes I used to spend a huge amount of my day, scrolling through the feeds unnecessarily. And if I am not wrong most people do the same. We start to feel no one cares if we don’t have even a single message in an hour. Even though I would not chat much on WhatsApp, I would still stay online simply checking people’s status every now and then. Instagram became my personal favourite where I spent lot of time scrolling through the pictures of my favourite people, and posting my pictures with cool hashtags. The more trendy hashtags, the more followers you get. And having a long list of followers gives you a sense of popularity. Really? It had become my habit to go through WhatsApp and Instagram whenever I picked my phone. But now my phone was missing these icons.

So how did I decide to uninstall them? How did this dreadful idea come to my mind? Well this happened after my breakup. Oh yeah heartbreaks make you do things you had never thought you would do. But why uninstall? It’s because these apps constantly reminded me of my breakup. We used to be connected to each other the whole day updating every small detail. Whether its morning, lunch time, snacks time, evening, night we were in touch all the time on WhatsApp. So when the breakup happened it left me clueless what to do. Out of habit I would always open my WhatsApp first thing in the morning and check if he is up. Even though we had stopped talking I would still wait for him to come online. I would not chat with anyone but I would simply be online waiting for his text. I would scroll through numerous quotes on Instagram feeding my broken soul. I would visit profiles which had sad relationship quotes. I would check his Instagram pictures and post my pictures, hoping he would see them. I would sometimes post insta stories with a secret message for him and wait for him to see it. Yeah it’s true every status is a silent message for someone. So basically my world revolved around him and I just could not accept the fact that he was gone. Time passed, but my habit remained the same and by this time I had become a book of sad-broken-heart wrenching quotes.

Then one fine day, I decided to break this habit. Why? Because I was tired, tired of waiting for someone to see my worth, tired of taking someone’s bullshit, tired of being taken for granted. Yes I was done with him and I wanted to move on. I had hit the rock bottom and all I wanted to do now is rise up. Easier said than done. I didn’t know where to start so first thing I did was uninstalling WhatsApp. Well it didn’t happen with just one click. I went through a brainstorming session in my head. How will I connect with my friends? How will I get updates from my dance group? What about connecting with my onsite colleagues? What about sharing something? After few arguments with myself I concluded to take a break from it. I was absolutely OK the first day and whoever I told this they were like - how can you survive without ‘oxygen’. I laughed it out but soon I realised how addicted we had become to WhatsApp. I had an article to share with my friend who is in the US so I pressed the share button and voilà I kept staring at the options for few seconds. Finally I had to share the article through Gmail. I was not able to share any immediate bullshit that I wanted my friends to know or any joke that I wanted to crack. People asked me to install it again as it had become the favourite mode of communication now-a-days. But I stuck to my decision even though deep inside I too wanted to install it back. After all changing a habit is not easy. Next on my list was Facebook, which I uninstalled easily and then came Instagram. Honestly it took a lot of courage to uninstall that. I was quite active on Insta – posting pictures, stories, sharing my thoughts and going through so many beautiful but useless pictures. Instagram had become my favorite time pass. Whenever I was bored I used to scroll through various pics. So now my phone was literally of no use except for my music and calls.

First few days were awkward. Like I would take my phone and then keep it down not knowing what to do with that. There was nothing to scroll through. No pictures to see, no status to check, no display pictures (DPs) to see. I mean, what else you do with your phone the whole day? I would fight the urge to install WhatsApp and Instagram back daily. My friends would tease me saying I am not from this world. But it didn’t matter to me much because I was determined to change my habits. The only thing I would pick my phone for was to call someone or for listening to music. But I have a confession to make. I missed WhatsApp sometimes because there are few people whom you don’t want to call but you simply want to stay in touch and WhatsApp was perfect for that. So coping with this phase was not a piece of cake.

You see we feel more comfortable behind our screens instead of being in front of people. So now I had to actually call people and talk if something is needed. Slowly I started being OK with not having any instant way to do time-pass. Now my mornings didn’t start with checking WhatsApp or didn’t end with scrolling through Insta. Instead I realised I have got lot of time to do things that matter like dancing, reading a book or making DIY crafts. Instead of checking my phone in the morning I would check out myself in the mirror. Yes it helps when you smile at yourself, first thing in the morning and promise to keep that the whole day. Truly said the first few hours of the day define the quality of your whole day. Instead of checking the messages I would make a list of things to do in a day. Instead of checking out others’ holiday pictures on Instagram, I got busy planning my next trip. Instead of scrolling through Facebook I would read a book. Now it didn’t bother me much if I didn’t have my phone near or my data pack was over. I had lot other things to do. I started to check for various things which I had always wanted to do but never had the time (or at least I thought I didn’t have time). Oh yes, I installed a few gaming apps for time-pass. Games really help to keep your brain active; but then don’t get addicted to it.

Only when we keep our phone away do we see the beauty of the things around us. After I uninstalled these 3 pillars from my phone I started thinking of the ways to keep myself busy. Till now I pretended to keep myself busy on WhatsApp and Instagram but I was just fooling myself. But now I started to look for actual things to do. I joined yoga class apart from my everyday dance practice sessions. I started keeping a journal, instead of only reading the quotes. I started planning my days well – working, spending quality time with friends and with myself. I started sleeping early and waking up early even. As a result I slept before 12 am on my roommate’s birthday and she had to wake me up at 12, midnight. Well staying away from phone was helping me deal with my pain in a productive way. Instead of waiting for someone to know my value I was more focused on me. I started working on my hobbies, fitness. I started travelling again. Trust me travelling helps you see the real world instead of the virtual world that we live in now-a-days. When you travel you can connect to yourself better. When you go out and see new places, meet new people you learn something new about you. Instead of being concerned about your online persona you actually meet the real you. In an attempt to get more connected and loved by others we forget to love ourselves.

These mediums, if used well are very beneficial to us but we tend to get used to them so much that we don’t realize how much time we waste on them. We get so caught up in the social media that we hardly look out of our screen and live the actual life. When was the last time you talked to a complete stranger in a bus or you simply smiled to someone instead of being buried into your phone screen. When was the last time you enjoyed a perfect sunset instead of trying to take a perfect picture to update your status. When was the last time you actually relished your meal instead of updating its pic. When was the last time you spent quality time with your parents without being disturbed by your message tones. When was the last time you actually enjoyed the nature instead of being Facebook live. I realized that even though we may have a lot of contacts in WhatsApp and Fb, there are only few people who really matter to us. You don’t even know half of your contacts in Fb. Half of the time you get messages in WhatsApp groups which people don’t even read but still we spend so much time on WhatsApp. We check others’ status, DP and sometimes compare our own life with theirs. Instead of confronting our feelings to the person we put up a status hoping the message reaches out to that person.

It’s been a month now after I have uninstalled these giants. Though I am back on WhatsApp, I don’t feel the need to install Insta and Facebook back. My usage of WhatsApp is very restricted now. I no longer use it for time-pass. In fact I keep my internet switched off most of the time. I successfully took a break from WhatsApp and it really helped me to focus on things that were really important. It showed that it is still possible to be connected with your people even without any of these apps. Sometimes I still have the urge to post my travel pictures in Insta, instead I show the pictures to my friends and irritate them with my stories. Instead of waiting for their likes and comments I now share laughs with them. This break made me realise that when we are so concerned with connecting online, we fail to connect with the people and experiences closest to us. I can’t deny the fact that WhatsApp has really become the easiest way of communication. Almost everyone uses it but sometimes we let it use us. We use it more than needed. Restricting my use of these apps really helped me in managing my time well. Now I spend a good amount of time reading a book of my choice or decorating my room or cooking sometimes. I started doing meditation too though I find it real tough. Honestly life is peaceful now. I no longer have the habit of checking my WhatsApp every now and then or the urge to check if he is online or not. I don’t go through those sad quotes now. Even though I uninstalled WhatsApp just to get away from the urge to contact him but taking a break from WhatsApp helped me in more than that. It helped me reflect where and how I was wasting my time. It helped me change my focus from my problems to the solutions.

Instead of sitting and overanalyzing my situation I went out and started having fun. It wasn’t easy at first but habits can be changed, if practiced well. Staying away from these apps really helped me come out of my depressed situation. I remember how much time I used to waste searching for a perfect quote to put in my status. It doesn’t help anyways. When you start doing things that matter to you, you stop minding other people’s business. How many times it would have happened to you that you saw someone’s pic or status and got disturbed wherein in reality it does not matter what they do. If you are living your life fully, you will never have time to look at someone else’s life. Many a times we see others life and wish we had the same without even knowing what their real life is like.

I am not saying that these apps are useless. Like every coin has two sides, these apps have their benefits too. You can easily get any updates through these apps. Now-a-days these apps are used to make careers too. You can easily make contacts and build your network to help your business. You can reach out to thousands of people with just one click. But then you should reconsider the amount of time you spend on these. Time is limited for us so we can’t afford to waste it checking others’ profiles and hoping that one day we will live that life. There are lot of things that we wish to do but end up just texting about of it. Instead of that you can focus on your life, work on improving yourself, and work on your dreams. These apps were made to make life easy and not miserable. They help us to connect to others but think about it. Are you really connected with others? Are you connected with yourself? Don’t let these apps become an addiction. Try and take a break whenever possible. Go out, have fun with your family and friends. Make memories and don’t worry about check-ins, status update or getting a profile picture. Instead of wishing your parents on Facebook or WhatsApp, try spending some time with them. Live the moment, talk to people in real, get to know them. Let others know the real you and like “You” and not the one who they see in the profile picture. Spend your time wisely.

(P.S. - You need not wait for a heartbreak to take a break from your phone. You can give a try to not use any of these apps for a day at least. It will be fun, really)

Glossary:

DIY – Do it yourself (DIY) is the method of building, modifying, or repairing things without the direct aid of experts or professionals.


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