When I had to move country, decision to "unplug" (take a long break from social media) was inevitable.
Not that I was an influencer or that sort of degree of approval hungry person, but I did post regularly and had "un-real" friends online whom at that time, I thought were quite real. Never actually imagined that some of the people I'd be talking to were some fat old Indian techy sitting in cramped rundown concrete building in Mumbai. I had such gullible trust in people online then. Luckily, I know better than most to know it's never a good idea to post your face online, unless you're in real estate or film industry.
When I "unplugged" suddenly life became real, I'd call in on my friend at his shop, where he often had his friends around, so he'd introduce me to his friends and his friends became mine, too and we'd all chat and drink and be merry while listening to him tinkling jazz tunes on Friday afternoons. I didn't miss my old way of socialising where it was just typing to overseas never seen before "friends" who'd then probably screenshot and distribute whatever I wrote to whoever they want to share it with. There's no class at all, no craft, it's like a bunch of school kids copy and pasting homework. Privacy? What is that archaic form of priceless identity? It doesn't exists online.
So what was being "unplugged" for 4 years to renovate 2 houses in 2 countries and having 6 deaths only to find there's no such thing as real friendships? The minute I don't log in to facebook anymore, it automatically filters out those "un-real" friends. They never met me anyway so it never actually mattered.
Then there are those whom I actually shared school/uni lives with, who are mostly too busy with juggling their own problems of work, sick parents, autistic over pushed high achieving young children, and a too big to handle side hustle that promises big but probably won't come to anything if no time is invested on it. Hence, you know what your friends ended up looking like, right? Grumpy, pill popping, caffein charged toxicity, not so great to be around if you can feel all that. The decision to unplug was best decision ever because not only I can feel it just by looking at their names, they pulled me upstream when all I want is to go downstream and flow.
It was unfathomable now to think about it that I would put up with having long distance relationship, over and over again, until someone dear to me once said, never have a relationship with someone that doesn't even live in the same country, let alone never met before. That man had now become yet another "NZ male suicide statistic" because he imported a wife from China, thinking that she'll be the same person that she portrayed herself as when they had their long distance relationship. Poor man, he'll never see his son grow up and it is a shame for this society to yet lose another useful productive member just because a woman just won't take her time to understand him.
In my absence online, I also switched off. No TV, yes I actually dislike the sound TV emits even when they're off. Bet you didn't know that appliances makes a very suttle hum when it's plugged in and the switch on the wall is turned on. Yes, I'm those people who always turn off the wall switch because I feel the electricity being emitted by whatever is plugged in. Spending time in the garden, cycling and having walks felt so much better than Chinese sitcoms marathon.
As time ticks on, it made me more and more aware that digital life is all shameful sham that others love to replicate but in reality not worth replicating for because it only shows how lonely one's life really is. Just look at the abundance of influencers there are in the market now. What are they actually contributing to society one might ask.
I learnt that what you keep on preaching is actually what you do not possess and keep wanting to attain. Be aware of those "wellness guru wannabe" who keeps posting the same agenda day in day out, whatever that may be, such as churning out Yi Jing hexagrams, clearly there's a software for that, please, or recirculating memes or daily quoted sage words that you can actually read if you bother to read the right books, they could be bots or an old lonely man with nothing much going on in his life. If you find your feed cluttered by those type of things, you probably just need to "unplug" or brush them aside and quietly move on with your day.
So what happens when your old friend became one of those type of things? Two things, join her, or find a new friend, as eventually, you'll lose her anyway as she would probably be too busy for you as she tends to her online groupie. Just hope, that in time, when circumstances change for her, she'll catch up with you and become a better friend. Life goes on, friends come and go, relocate and croak, but your self, stays with you. Cultivate and know your self, trust me, its value is much more than millions of followers.