Time to unplug...

An opinion piece by Daisy MukasaNairobi, Kenya

It has been several months since the break out of the Corona Virus. We have had to adjust many things in our lives, and it even seems like the concept of time has been lost, and days are just rolling into each other. There has been a shift from what we considered ‘normal’ to what we have right now; schools have moved online, there are curfews, bars and clubs have closed down. What I personally appreciate as a Kenyan is the fact that there is social distancing in matatus. This new reality has provided people with a lot of time on their hands, and at the same time, a lot of activities have moved online. Working online can be advantageous, but, at the same time, can also be detrimental to one’s health.


After I completed high school, I received my first phone, and never did I imagine that a day would come when I would be overwhelmed by it. All through my time at school, I dreamt of having a phone so that I could connect with my friends and enjoy things like Facebook and Instagram that they seemed to be having fun with. I wanted to see the memes everyone was going on about and joining the popular WhatsApp groups. I never got to join the popular groups, but I sure did join one that I enjoyed being in. It was a WhatsApp group for a charity organization that my schoolmate had started to help street children. I liked being in the group because it was for a good cause, and everyone there seemed to share my vision.


I liked being part of a group that was dedicated to making the lives of other people better, but at the same time, social media can be very challenging. Due to the pandemic, many of us are spending most of our time on screens, either attending or hosting webinars, promoting your skills, advocating for a cause you believe in on Twitter, or even just scrolling through Instagram. This exposes us to information that might inspire us, trigger us, or even overwhelm us. I recently decided to quit Instagram for a while because it had become too overwhelming for me. I would scroll through and see people my age who seemed to have their lives in order while I was struggling with completing my daily tasks. At the same time, I saw quotes about how surviving the pandemic was good enough, and I should not beat myself down, but at the same time, I could not help but think of how much of an underachiever I was. I decided to take my time off and appreciate what I had going for me, which I had not noticed because I was busy trying to compare myself with others online. It is normal to feel this way, to want to fit in.


There is always that temptation to want to stay plugged in so that one can stay informed, or it may be because of the fear of missing out, but it may become too much to handle or distract you from what you have going on well for yourself. A lot of young people these days are also activists and advocates for different causes that they believe in, which is a good thing, but at the same time, we must be careful as young people so that we are not swallowed by the very thing we are fighting for. This is important so that one does not lose themselves or their focus. So, the next time you are scrolling through Instagram feeling like an underachiever or looking through Twitter and getting triggered, maybe it is time to unplug and catch a breath. We are all growing and learning, be easy on yourself.


Be easy,

take your time,

you are coming

home

to yourself

~ Nayyirah Waheed


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