Look up, get out and touch and feel the real world
“How would I look in this photo with this background of the sunset?”
I thought about this seriously as I held up my iPhone, standing on a cliff soaring majestically above the calm lake.
At this moment I realised, with a touch of fear, how dependent I had become on social networks.
I was not enjoying the beautiful sunset, a glowing red circle slowly descending into the dark thicket of trees.
I was not appreciating this vivid and lyrical moment on a small island in the wilderness of Minnesota under century-old pines.
I was thinking of another tempting, ostentatious, imaginary reality, a virtual sunset I would create and manipulate.
I could not be myself; ragged, tired and with wrinkles. If that is you, then you push yourself to fix it before you post it.
There are so many makeover programmes: one click and my face becomes smooth, young and radiant, better looking than when I was 20 years old!
A second click, and I do not recognise myself any more.
Like all dependencies, this one happened unnoticed.
In the beginning, I spent one hour, then two, on social media. Soon, it was impossible to control myself.
Yes, part of this was dealing with my business presence, but a big part was just being there.
Early in the morning, before I was even fully awake, I automatically reached for my phone.
I thought: “I have to answer people, write something, comment, post a photo. I have to!”
But now, I stop. I consider for a moment: Why should I? I don’t have any obligation to do this.
It began to seem to me that if I did not attend to social networks hourly, everyone would immediately forget me.
It was like having a split personality.
The body was here, but my thoughts flew into a virtual space where everyone seems beautiful, successful and happy.
Do you know that, in Russian, the synonym for the word virtual is illusory?
I was no longer able to control the impulse to check my phone and, that evening, I decided to leave the social media networks for two weeks; to disconnect and reconfigure myself.
I would detox from social media and retouch my inner self, the true me.
I wanted to write a short story in the morning, not post an update on my life.
I wanted to search and find those powerful words that would help describe my feelings and emotions, tell stories about people who touched my heart, convey recollections of my childhood, my dreams, parents, love, nature.
I wanted to write the sentences that would find a response in the hearts of people I know, to touch some secret strings in their souls.
The next morning was cloudy and quiet. The lake lay still in a white haze of fog. I was sitting in one of our yurts.
From time to time, droplets of water dripped from the pine trees and pounded on the canvas roof in a rhythmic drum patter.
I sat and thought. I have lived on remote islands, both in Bermuda and in Minnesota, believing it was so important to be connected to the rest of the world.
The truth is that my world is me! It is the people I am with at this very moment; it’s the forest, the lake or the ocean, the rain and the wind.
This world can be touched, and it feels like the rough bark of trees or warm stone heated by the sun.
It smells of the freshness of pine needles and the smoke from the firewood in the sauna.
My world crunches in dry twigs under my feet, it looks right at me through the curious and cunning eyes of squirrels.
Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with her at www.ninalondon.com</i>