10 years ago, while I was backpacking in India, I had a realization.
To be honest, I had a plethora of realizations back then. They happen involuntarily when you are backpacking by yourself in a country that is full of contradictions, overladen with pseudo-spirituality and specked with the inspiring message of genuine enlightenment.
This realization, though, was serious enough to make me change my behavior instantly.
I was staying in an ashram of a funny, down-to-earth, family-oriented yoga teacher in Pushkar. In between yoga practices and adventure-riding on his motorbike with his 4-year-old cheeky daughter, I found myself one second immersed in the breathtaking beauty of creation itself, and the following one, contemplating how to best describe it on a Facebook post.
I was translating every experience into a language I can share with my Facebook friends. I spent more time in my head, thinking how I can sound smart yet humble, profound yet fun to hang around with, than time actually taking in whatever amazing thing that just happened.
At times, I was wondering if I am searching for experiences or searching for a witty, warm, enviable sentence that I could decorate my Facebook wall with.
As soon as I realized that, I made a vow.
No more Facebook posts.
It took a little while for my mind to stop thinking “Facebook posts” like and revert to “life experiencing” like.
I dare say I started dotting my Facebook wall with a post every now and then, but I made it clear for myself that these will be rare occasions. To make sure my brain doesn’t slip back into its “Facebook post” thinking mode.
Moving forward to the present day.
I don’t really do Facebook.
I have redundant accounts on almost every social media platform.
Me? Reading every Tom, Dick, and Harry’s opinion about the world?
Me? Spying on long-lost friends? Nope.
Not posting, not commenting, not liking, not following. Nada.
Then again… I write on Medium.
What will I write about used to occupy a good chunk of my time when I only wrote every now and then.
So long as I wrote once a week or less, I worried and frantically searched the next topic to write about.
Now that I write more often, I noticed I stopped worrying about ideas.
They just keep coming.
Every thought has the potential to become an article.
Every comment someone leaves on a story can spark an idea.
Every book that I read, every conversation that I have — they all act as seeds that hold the potential to grow into a lengthy piece.
And I started wondering — am I slipping into that “Facebook post” trap again?
Am I allowing my brain to go into “looking for stories” mode instead of “experiencing life” mode?
I think Medium is my social media substitute.
I look at my stats more often than what I deem to be insightful.
I check my earning predictions more than once a day, even though these are only being updated once a day.
I read all the comments on my stories (and usually reply to them), I check who applauded for my articles and how many claps they gave.
I am not calling it an obsession… Yet.
At the end of the day, my focus in life is on evolving and growing as a human being. Always have, and most probably always will be.
Writing ideas do not take over my thinking process the way I noticed Facebook posts did 10 years ago.
If anything, writing ideas help me investigate and learn more about topics that I want to know more about anyway.
So as long as writing helps me with my personal growth process, I don’t mind paying the small price of checking stats and earnings in a semi-obsessive capacity.
I am here to stay.
For now, at least.