Tired hands, quiet minds. By Big Cartel.

Less Scrolling, More Living

How my 11-year-old nephew has almost 600 Instagram followers is beyond me.

While they attended a nearby summer camp, my 16-year-old niece and nephews, ranging from ages four to 11, stayed at my house. In the week I babysat them, I noticed how attached to their phones they were - still wet from swimming in the pool, my rugrats would run straight to their phones.

They were consumed by social media. The summer camp had a rule of no cellphones and it tore them up inside. My niece was even reprimanded for borrowing her friend’s phone, that she snuck in, to use Snapchat.

Society is filled with filters. We’re engulfed by the lives of others. Or by the lives we believe they live. We compare. We speculate. We reimagine our lives differently.

We start to feel jealous when we see that one person on yet another vacation. Our ovaries jump when we see a Facebook friend announce their pregnancy. We look down at our ringless finger when see a colleague post their curated engagement photos. We realize that we are nowhere near summertime fine when we stumble upon the hashtag #gymflow.

Through social media, we’re fixated on what others are doing. We’ve gone so far as to manufacture a world where people have to take “social media breaks” because they are so consumed by what others are sharing. We’ve become so connected that we’re disconnected. We’re scrolling so much that we’ve forgotten to live.

Yet we remain glued to our phones. And it’s even harder as a creative - then we can compare our art and businesses, too.

more-living-night

Life is to be lived, especially as a creative. The goal isn’t to find things to post. It’s to document what you’re naturally doing. My motto: seek to be interested rather than interesting. If you are interested in learning, exploring, and growing, you’ll have things to post because you’re excited about what you’ve just learned or created. If you have interests that move your spirit, you’ll find yourself living more. You’ll love life. And you’ll be less interested in what others are doing.

This life is short and it will pass you by unless you take control of how you spend your time. It’s OK to be focused on a Friday as you work from home. Just do you already. Stop looking to the left and right and on your phone at others. Focus on what makes you happy and what kind of life you wish to create for yourself. Then go create it.

Take the time to listen to others when they speak, without glancing at your phone. Go for a walk, without your cell. Read a physical book. Explore your hood. Learn to cook. Listen to music from a vinyl record. Attend a concert without posting about it. Call a friend. Meet with a friend IRL.

Stop and smell the roses. It’s OK to create a dope online presence, but it’s even better to have meaningful relationships in real life. I’ve learned to make time for activities that require me to live in the moment, such as a massage, yoga, or running. Things that pull me away from brand building and help me savor each delicious moment of life. Netflix will be there. You can tweet later. You can post on Instagram later. You have a dope life to live. So go live it.

Carla Thomas is from Baltimore, Maryland, where she’s a stylist, writer, and the creator of The Fly Girl Guide. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.