I recently decided to infuse some adventure into my life. I
went cliff diving quit YouTube forever for a week. I know, I am being totally reckless! Who am I? If you know me (which most of you don’t- ha), you’ll know I’m rather addicted to YouTube. The word “addiction” is probably a gross understatement for my insidious problem. It is
as unhealthy as any other addiction in that I have learned to use it as:
- a distraction from mental unwellness.
- a convenient outlet to drown out the gloomy world.
- a superficial way to improve my mood and “maintain” my sanity.
My habit has become a terrible crutch that I have been trying to manage for some time. For a good while I was able to limit my weekly usage to a sensible amount. I’m saying limit instead of completely eliminate because after all, it can be a convenient resource for so many things like discovering new recipes, learning more about increasing blog traffic, finding practical organizational tips and hacks, following great exercise series, and staying abreast of newsworthy stories. But occasionally (you know, during a pandemic or two), my problem can definitely get out of hand.
Have you noticed that the boundary lines between homelife and the outside world are becoming increasingly blurry? Children of this generation are growing up in a culture of effortless indulgence, excessive media, and instant gratification with less wait times, no commercials, and immediate responses at their fingertips. In fact, we can do most things with an imaginary press of a button with a smartphone nowadays: order groceries, read a book, start your car, tour exotic parts of the world through online vlogs, check on your home security from any distance, send a card, navigate the roads, conduct meetings, visit the doctor, learn new skills, attend weddings, etc, etc. The possibilities are eternally endless and yet, with all these technological advances, we seem to be communicating less and less with each other. Think about it- when was the last time you chatted one-on-one with someone over the phone, like a real deep conversation instead of juggling the multitude of open chats on WhatsApp? (Okay, maybe that last example was just me!)
Regrettably, YouTube has become part of my everyday functioning and it is now a significant dilemma. I don’t often have any issues with my usage of social media because I don’t have any to contend with. I quit Facebook a long time ago and never consumed Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and the like. To me, naively, YouTube was the lesser of all the evils. I told myself I wasn’t a social media junkie and made myself believe that YouTube was meteorically better, but now I wonder if that’s true at all. I watch it when I am on the train to and from work, I watch it during downtime in the evenings after my daughter retires for the night, and I watch it unblinkingly in bed until I fall into a sweet slumber with the blue screen inches away from my tired face. I hate to admit this too, but lately I’ve been finding myself entranced by weekly vlogs uploaded by popular influencers. The only part about this that somehow disappoints me is that these vlogs are just footages of people going about their regular days- whether they are vlogging about themselves working away or running their daily errands. Yea I know, watching someone do the same mundane tasks I could be doing seems counterproductive but perhaps it captivates me because it makes me feel less solitary- it bridges the gap between me and everyone else. At the end of the day, we are all similar (living the same discomfort, the same life, the same covid) aren’t we? And for once, social media, these vlogs (that I follow) aren’t promoting and publicizing the highlight reels of their lives through the ubiquitous rose-coloured lenses. This, to me, is oddly refreshing.
Anyway, I decided to go without YouTube for a week. I really just wanted to unchain myself, one link at a time, so that I could go back to utilizing it more as a helpful source of information (from time to time) instead of using it as a feverish lifeline.
So, how did my week without YouTube go down? It was difficult, very difficult on the first day! I had to constantly (c o n s t a n t l y) remind myself that it was my NoTube week because I had so many near-fails of clicking on the damn red play button. I had to finally take a stand to reset my mind, turn off the regular notifications so it wasn’t habitual, and create (this is the sad part) calendar reminders every morning and evening to stay off the CHUBE (…..sometimes I like to pretend I’m British). Much like when I quit Facebook, this was all very much deep-rooted in me so it was a bit of a process turning the tides and going against what has been so well-developed.
It’s been over two weeks of “detox” and my productivity level has increased without the constant buzz of YouTube nagging at me in the background. I’m feeling more motivated to delve back into all of my other interests, so now I definitely want to test how much longer I can keep this at bay. Is my silly, manufactured addiction a life-crippling and debilitating issue at this point? No. Could I do better? Abso-frigin-lutely! After all, the first step to recovery is the act of admission, isn’t it?