Today, I awake especially early. Dawn just hinting behind grey clouds. Rain battering the window pane, hurled against the glass by the strong gusts roaring outside. I sat up, bleary eyed. Pulling back the white curtains, wrapping myself in the residual warmth of the duvet, I sat in that space between sleep and wake and absorbed the peace, no-one else awake, no one else around.
I felt connected to the world in that moment. Smells, natural sounds, muted sights. The uniqueness of a Sunday morning, a day where the hustle and bustle starts just that bit later. A morning where the roar of roads is delayed by an hour or two. A time to come around slowly, nestle into the day, feel and experience.
Instead, I grabbed my phone and began to stare at Facebook.
A little bell was ringing faintly in the back of my mind, shouted down by bad news and politics and shares and likes and comments. My eyes, relaxed, reflecting the grey of the early morning, were suddenly jerked wide open by the glare from that blue screen, instantly awake, the peaceful quality of that morning shut out from my bubble now. Facebook turned to Twitter, turned to Instagram, turned to Snapchat, turned to Facebook again. My eyes began to ache. I felt a dull thump of a headache begin to suggest itself, and still I stared, the screen closer and closer to my face.
And I cycled through the social media circle, minute after minute and endless minute. And then I came to.
It was an hour later. The dawn had broken and the light had changed, now a heavy, grey morning, the rain falling in lighter drops, the wind still dancing and playing. The black rectangle of my phone was hot in my hand, my back aching, my eyes tired and my shoulders tight. I remembered the peace, quiet and joy I felt as I awoke. Now I was on edge, a bit down, thoughts whirling with the misogyny of the world, with the worry of political events, the endless shouting of media and lives that never even touch my own. I felt ill. I felt nauseous. I felt deflated. I felt that the day had lost its promise.
But it hadn’t, of course. It was I who had broken that beautiful spell. The twitch that happens every morning. The pull of social media. That addiction. That black hole.
Even now, as I type, I have checked my phone 2 or 3 times. I’ve got tabs open with Facebook and Twitter chattering away in the background. I feel like I can’t stop checking. I think I need help. The app on my phone that tells me how many times I check it is a terrifying reminder. 89 times yesterday. 4 1/2 hours.
I feel as though I’m missing out on life. I feel a sort of anger at myself rising up, at all the things I could have done and all the things I could have been. At how many hours in total I must have wasted sat, grey, hunched, staring, while the world turned on outside in beauty and glory and joy.
I resolve to live more. I resolve to work at this. I resolve to experience, not imagine.
I resolve to be.