This week I feel like I have truly revived the art of conversation in my life.
For longer than I care to admit, I was allowing the online world, not just that of social media but of all things online to shape my views of the world. I was allowing it to change my thinking, to cast judgment on people I don’t know, allowing it to influence my decision making and my purchases.
I allowed the online world to take away all that I have been building during my existence. Funnily enough, however, it was the online world, which fed me information and research into how much damage it was doing to me, and many others, and essentially informed my decision in taking a break.
I could go off on a conspiracy theory tangent around why I no longer felt safe with a presence on some online channels, but that is a conversation to be a had at 3 am whilst gazing at the stars.
The long and the short of it was I was starting to feel not like myself anymore. I felt that I was lacking skills that made me who I am, that a part of me was being taken away by this entity, but that ultimately I had allowed it to happen. I like to be in control of what I can be in control of, I often like to have control over what I cannot, it’s a process of evolution which I may or may not master, or perhaps as I age I will just learn to let things go more.
One thing with regard to my online presence is this; I had, have, and always will have 100% control over whether I choose to have a presence there. I sometimes question whether there are many others who think or feel the same, but this week since reducing my online presence and taking back my capacity for original thought, I have stopped asking that question.
At the beginning of the week, I had two dinners booked in and two coffees, the dinners were with people I have known for a long time, and I was looking forward to these. The coffees were with people who I had first met via the online world. The dinners were great, coincidentally neither of the parties have an online presence either so there were genuine conversations and learning of what the other had been up to since the last contact. I went home feeling fulfilled and reflected on great evenings.
Leading up to the coffees with two people I’d not previously met in the offline world, I was not sure what to expect, but I like to think that I am someone who generally has no pre-meditated expectations of who I may or may not meet in the future. Both coffee catch-ups also left me feeling fulfilled as I reflected on the way home. Both were with people who have great minds, who discuss ideas, who discuss theories and seemingly have less and less time for trivial antics. The conversation across all outings flowed harmoniously; there were no awkward pauses or silences, only pauses where one party would reflect prior to responding, or to add more value than the previous words.
It was only at the beginning of the week that I chose to cull all of my unnecessary online outlets. I deem unnecessary as that which does not impact my breathing or state of well-being, and I deem that which is necessary as that which expands my mind and my intellect.
I have to be honest and say that when I woke up Tuesday morning to no notifications on my phone, I felt a hint of sadness, which transformed into isolation. But as my week would have it, following this period was a series of actual human-to-human conversations that occurred very much in the physical world, and as I’ve mentioned, left me feeling fulfilled and quite grounded.
The art of conversation I feel has very much been revived in my world this week, and I can only hope that I maintain this as the days roll by. I know that my mind has certainly been calmer and quieter, I know only what I see right in front of me or hear nearby. Should I feel the urge to find out what is happening in the world, I can go to a news source and read about it, or I can hear about it from another being whom I may run into whilst out and about, a bit like we used to do 10 or more years ago.
I can only speak for myself, and only ever do with regard to how important the art of conversation is to the human condition, and can only hope that you have gained something from my words here today to pause and reflect on yourself.