52 weeks into the pandemic, and I finally realised that something had to give. And that ‘something’ was social media and my online life. Between a relentless lockdown, tiptoeing towards burnout and the surging anti-Asian hate crimes, I took it upon myself to simply exist in real life for a while. It’s been really nice; restful and even peaceful. Of course that doesn’t stop what’s happening elsewhere, but it’s what I needed to top my cup up and get back to me.
Whenever I spot a Reels or TikTok on my phone screen, I really start to realise that social media has moved to a place where I don’t quite fit in and I’m not quite keeping up. But that’s kinda fine? If I’m completely honest, I haven’t missed much and this much, much slower way of using social media feels good to me. What I did miss was checking in on here and writing to the day’s whim. Writing posts a touch longer than an Instagram caption and letting the words do the talking, not photos to appease an algorithm. I missed connecting with you in the comments or in emails – that I always love reading and responding to! – and learning fragments more about your lives, real lives.
I’ve mostly been focusing on the simple things, since being offline. Making sure I’m working to the best I can for that day at work, trying to remember to take my vitamins and hydrate properly, making lengthy phone calls to friends and wrapping up warm for walks with them too. Tinkering away at & Chai and striving for the growth we crave. Soaking up all the anime, webtoons, games and K-dramas that I’d felt I ‘shouldn’t’ be enjoying. Doing my best to perfect a curry recipe (I’m nearly there!) and working on my mental health, which had been plummeting throughout lockdown.
And although I’m still not quite back to reading books (at all – eek!) or capturing creative photographs or wearing much more than sweats, I find that every day I wake up and go to bed feeling indelibly grateful, content and happy. There’s hope on the horizon and all of these mundane everyday moments are stepping stones to that.