I’m no longer on social media

A few weeks ago, I deleted my social media accounts.* With the exception of Twitter (which I liked because of the articles people would share) I’d already stopped using Facebook and Instagram in January. Not that I even used Facebook much before that. I figured, I wasn’t using them anyway, so why not delete them altogether?

That isn’t completely true, however. 😛 That’s the easy answer I give people. The truth is, I got caught up in the Bea-Gerald-Julia love triangle. It emphasised to me how I no longer wanted to be part of the social media ecosystem which can become so toxic.

I wasn’t even updated about any of their lives before this. I thought Gerald was still with Kim which was apparently so nine years ago. I also thought Julia was still a preteen. But that didn’t stop me. I’m ashamed to admit I spent more than a few of hours reading gossip websites and tweets.

I think the fact that it all happened online fascinated me. The entire thing, at least in my view, blew up based on a precariously constructed framework of speculations cobbled together from bits and pieces of social media activity.

Photos that appeared innocent at face value were suddenly given new meaning by another post appearing at the same time. No names mentioned, but it was clear that shade was thrown. I don’t even know why I read all those articles talking about which celebrities were on whose side based on photos they liked or social media accounts they commented on.

Each and every little thing anyone posted was dissected. There was no way anybody could win – every single comment was taken negatively by someone out there. Even other celebrities posting about unrelated things had their posts misinterpreted by people thinking they were talking about that. And there were all these Twitter threads of random people giving unsolicited life advice or pouring their hearts out why Julia or Gerald was wrong. Why did these people care so much to spend time writing these things?! And why did I just waste hours reading all of it?!

That’s when I deleted my accounts.

Thing is, I’d already noticed bits and pieces of those behaviours around me, although not to that extreme level. And back when I was using social media, I have to admit I did a little of it myself. Things like looking up people’s online activity and assuming meanings about things where none probably existed. Obviously, genuinely passive-aggressive posts did exist and it was always juicy coming across them (cue “I wonder who it’s for! I wonder what she’s talking about!”) but at the end of the day none of those things really concerned me.

We’d also recently watched the following shows highlighting some of the negatives of social media:

So that’s me. Or rather, not me.

* Technically, I only deactivated Facebook so I could continue using Facebook Messenger.

How to deal with cats?

Shortly after moving, S discovered a previously-undetected cat flap in the master’s bedroom.

A black and white cat, who we later found out was called Chloe, started visiting soon after. She’d prowl around the garden. She’d park herself right outside the cat flap, and tap on it with her paws. When S unlocked the flap, she went straight inside and sniffed around.

Her owner, who lived next door, assured us that Chloe just liked wandering around the neighbourhood. We’d pat Chloe in the yard if we spotted her. And sometimes, when she’d ask to be let in, we’d let her inside and let her sniff around there.

She liked exploring the house. We figured that maybe the previous owner let her in a lot and fed her, because she seemed to want to get into certain rooms.

Anyway, yesterday I was giving her pats when she suddenly hissed, gave me a warning bite (fortunately was wearing long sleeves), gave me the meanest look, then stomped over to the other end of the living room. She continued licking herself until she went out to the backyard.

“Really, Chloe?” one of the neighbours commented as he observed her, as I led her outdoors. He explained that Chloe had actually previously lived there. Five years ago, her original owner passed away, so she got adopted by the neighbour next door. However, Chloe still liked going back to her previous home.

Last night, she was staying outside the bedroom, repeatedly meowing and tapping on the cat flap while we were trying to get to sleep. She was back there again this morning. When I went to the bathroom she went to the windowsill right outside the bathroom, meowing to be noticed.

Now we’re conflicted. S doesn’t want to let Chloe inside anymore. I feel bad. I can’t not give her pats! But I don’t know if she’ll eventually try to exercise her dominion over us…

Let’s bring back the music

It started around Christmastime last year. I was in Melbourne with my folks. The city was live with buskers. They ranged from “typical” musicians playing their electric pianos and guitars, to a man busting out holiday tunes on beer bottles. The experience of listening to beautiful music live (including the joy of the beer bottle man) made me want to get back into playing the piano.

One of my regrets is that I quit taking lessons when I did, a newly minted teenager who no longer wanted to spend time practicing classical music pieces. But no sense crying over spilled milk. At least I can still read notes and now I can buy sheet music of songs I like.

Hoewver, I’d love to go back to my old pieces (yes, even though it was all classical music), but my parents have sold my piano and everything that was attached to it. Funnily enough, I’d like to go through exercises now to get my fingers and my mind back in shape — the same exercises I used to find boring as a child.

Today, I sat down at the piano, after ignoring it for most of the year. There are still some of pieces I can play from muscle memory, strangely — like the first part of Fur Elise and Carmen. I popped out my music folders and OMG but how depressing was all the sheet music I bought a few years ago?! Beautiful, yes, but pretty sad. Songs like The Fray’s Over My Head (Cable Car), Matchbox Twenty’s 3 AM, and Coldplay’s Fix You. I even rediscovered this amazing song I was obsessed with a few 8 (has it been that long?) years ago:

Missy Higgins – The Special Two

But it feels really weird playing the songs — or at the very least, putting in the effort to play them — if I no longer relate to them as much as I did years ago.

Anyway, I felt re-energised after a short stint on my piano today. I’m adding practicing regularly to my half-year resolution list. But first, I need to find new, happier music to play. 😛

No more folding socks

Earlier this year, one of my newsletters I read featured a woman who was no longer going to worry about folding her socks. She said that it took up a lot of time, and frankly, she didn’t care. (Her husband was apparently scandalised.)

The point I got wasn’t that socks don’t need to be folded (heh) but rather that it’s best to do away with or amend certain things or routines that don’t add that much value to my life compared to the time, effort and mental space I put in.

So I’ve decided to give up a few things that I felt I had to do or aspired to do.

For one, I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who looked immaculate and polished all the time. But I realised I wanted to do it on my own terms. A few weeks ago, I threw out all of my nail polish bottles. I love the look of polished nails, but I don’t have the skills or the patience to do my own. And I don’t want to pay to have them done elsewhere.

Two, I also threw out some of my makeup. I went out and bought a bunch of them a few years ago. Unfortunately, I had to accept the fact that most of it had probably expired by now after being rarely used. Oh well. I really couldn’t find the time in the mornings.

Three, I also pared down some of my exercise routines. A few years ago, I had a lot more free time. I worked out around 4 or 5 times a week. Things have become busier though, so I’ve had to cut down, or in some cases, give up on some things entirely. I’ve learned not to beat myself up too much about not getting as much exercise as I used to.

(Cutting down on my reading and being social media-less is related to it as well. I no longer feel like I need to catch up on social media feeds, for example. I caught up with a friend last week and she brought up so many things I didn’t know about, haha! But I don’t miss it.)

So now I keep asking myself — where else am I trying to fold socks?