I’m at a strange crossroads at the moment. I have so much I want to say but I’m not entirely sure how to say all of it. Writing usually helps me structure my thoughts, so here’s what I’m trying to do.
July has been a very unique month. While I had a wonderful time with friends and family in the first half as well as during the last weekend, the middle of the month could have been better. A severe flu coupled with an ankle sprain effectively put me out of my fitness routine which I’d begun in earnest. Things I discovered about myself left me less than pleased during this period.
But more than all of this was my experience with social media this month and the learning I have taken away from it. Social media is a topic that fascinates me, both as a blogger and a person.
The curious juxtaposition is although I need and love social media as a writer, I find that it fatigues me as a person. A discussion with a close friend had her echoing the same thoughts. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
[bctt tweet=”Here are lessons from July that leave me feeling grateful. #Gratitude” username=”shyvish”]
Just as things were looking up on the health front, I was felled by that menace unique to monsoons, the dreaded flu. This attack was quite severe and I wound up with a head cold, a cough that wouldn’t quit for two weeks, high fever and body pain. I also lost my voice and couldn’t speak for 3 days.
Apart from affecting work marginally, (I say marginally because I have a fabulous work team that steps in and covers for me), I couldn’t blog or blog hop. Not many people may know this but writing and reading blog posts are my remedy to pretty much any ailment. So when that took a hit, I felt emotionally ill as well. I wasn’t getting my ‘fix’, so to speak.
But, you know that thing about clouds and silver linings. I found mine. Books and e-books. I went back to reading what I could and when I could, without any pressure. It’s also a reminder that I need to let go and be happy with doing what I can and when I can.
The other golden lining? It’s having a spouse who willingly steps in and takes over most duties at home. Without that help, I wouldn’t have gotten back on my feet.
*I’m kind of tickled by the fact that I’m writing this post on his birthday. What better day to express gratitude for this man in my life!
When July began I set out on a writing project, akin to the NaNoWriMo. Filled with good intentions and spurred by the success of two 30-day challenges back to back (May and June are detailed here & here), I told myself that I could do this.
To be fair, I did get a fair amount done before health took it out of me. By the 24th though, I was way behind on my personal goal and I felt miserable. I felt that I’d failed myself. I shut myself away from social media and stopped updating on Twitter and Facebook. I’d lost the will to talk about anything.
Then I realised that I was pushing myself too hard considering everything else going on in my life. That swollen ankle got worse and while it didn’t vastly impede walking, it did affect my Yoga routine. My daughter had her mid-term exams and I needed to be mentally and emotionally available for her. So I did what I should have done all along: I forgave myself.
I lauded the fact that I did get some writing done and hey, tomorrow’s another day. More on this project when I finish it, I promise.
I’m grateful for social media. Let’s not make any mistake about that. I wouldn’t be where I am today, professionally, if it weren’t for this tool.
However, this month I looked back at a couple of things that changed my perspective on this medium. For one, I had begun to complain. Even the updates where I was apparently talking about how well my husband cooks, I was tempering it with my annoyance at the act of cooking. Essentially, I was feeding the idea that cooking was bad. It isn’t. It’s a life skill.
But being negative about it, even in a humorous way, can make you believe that it is a negative thing. That made me pause.
Second, I noticed that the more negative the updates were, the more likes they got. So if I complained more, even marginally ranted a little more, it brought in more reactions. Social media is a clever beast. It lets you feed into this loop of gratification and validation. Whereas, if I chose to consciously shift the narrative towards the positive and focus on that instead, that would be better for me in the long run.
I don’t mean you should only paint a rosy picture of your life or that you never post an update that speaks of the negative. Just observing the tilt towards one more than the other can be beneficial.
So I find myself, as July draws to an end, back where I should have been all along: a space of balance. Moderation is what helps me. Time I applied that to every aspect of my life and see where it takes me.
I hope your July was filled with gratitude as well. Do let me know in the comments.
*Featured image courtesy: Shutterstock
Linking up with Vidya Sury’s Gratitude circle for July