Self-Care Happens Offline

It's been a while since I've written anything for myself.

This year has been a long one. One that has been underlined by the implicit agreement that the COVID-19 pandemic is "over." I haven't followed the news in a while now, so I don't know if that's an official status or if everyone is just "over it," but one thing is for sure: the world sure has sped itself the fuck up.

It feels like everything is moving at a million miles an hour lately. Like everything that was put off these last few years is getting crammed into every second of 2023; and not in a "life is short" kind of way, but more of a frantic one.

I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted.

In the hustle of the last seven months or so, I've completely lost myself again. Like everyone else, my soul finally rebelled against the inner-calm I spent years cultivating, and proceeded to lose its damn mind.

My aversion to the type of world smartphones are enabling for us got thrown out the window in exchange for a fancy folding phone that I spend more time on than ever because "I can read books on it" (when I'm not distracting myself from my anxieties with YouTube and other mindless entertainment). My beloved Casio calculator watch has been replaced by an unnecessarily expensive Galaxy Watch because... reasons? Hell, even my laptop got an upgrade because my perfectly functional MacBook was end-of-life'd and I was too lazy to just replace the battery and install Linux on it.

It's embarrassing.

Now, don't get me wrong. It's nice to have a computer with an exceptionally long battery life, a phone that I really can comfortably read books on, and a watch that helps me keep better track of my health and wellness. But in the process of upgrading these tools, I lost the balance with technology that I worked so hard to maintain.

Years ago, I published an article on my blog that said to always prefer offline solutions over online ones, and I've done a poor job honoring that statement. First of all, it's okay to not always live up to your values. Some people would say that if you don't consistently live up to them, then they're not really "values," but I disagree. Values can be aspirational, and in 2023 trying to live a life that recognizes the beauty and benefit of the offline world is definitely aspirational.

What matters is that you take the time to recognize when you've slipped, and bring yourself back to the original "why" behind those values. Why would I prefer offline tools over online ones? Why did I think that makes me a better version of myself, or gives me a better life?

For one thing, offline is where the world actually happens. It's where the thoughts and ideas of the internet become reality. Where the distractions fade away. Reading a paper book will always bring me more joy than a digital one. Listening to a cassette tape, or even an iPod, will always be more pleasurable and intentional than a random Spotify playlist. Writing in a notebook, or even a plan old text editor with the wifi turned off will inevitably be less distracting and drive more focus than something in the browser like Google Docs.

If there's one thing I have learned from my slip-ups in this realm, it's that offline is where self-care happens.

It's a place where things are simpler and more deliberate.

More raw.

More real.

Maybe I'll see you there?


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