You have been an eventful year! On January 1st 2017, I had little idea how this year would pan out for me. I do not plan long term and believe in going with the flow and boy has the flow been exciting! I have cried tears of hopelessness and frustration as much as I have cried tears of joy and gratitude, the former teaching me as much as the latter. At a point when things seemed the bleakest and totally hopeless, a light has emerged from somewhere to shine some hope. As always, totally unexpected, totally unplanned. I have come to appreciate many things in the 34th year of my life like never before.
While it would be customary to end this year on a positive and feel-good note, I feel the need to do otherwise. The need made stronger by the message from Facebook when I logged into my feed yesterday. I least expected FB to say- Good Morning Asmita! You Received 0 Birthday Wishes this year! Have a great Birthday in 2018!
As much as I would like to say that the message didn’t bother me, it actually did! For a moment at least! Birthdays and anniversaries aren’t made a big deal out of in our family and I had to strain my brain to recall what my 2017 birthday was like! Well! Contrary to what Facebook made out of my “social life”, I did receive a few phone calls and text messages from close family and friends, from people who matter and to be honest, I did not feel bad about those who didn’t! I for one never remember people’s birthdays and do not expect them to either. So, it was all good! Nevertheless, it forced me to think how over-powering social media is in our lives. I remember being so addicted to it until last year myself, so much so that I was spending insane amount of time on Facebook doing absolutely NOTHING! Just wiling away precious, productive time looking into people’s lives. It got to a point that it started to affect me! I felt as if I was doing nothing great with my life, didn’t have enough friends, wasn’t travelling enough to exotic locations, the list is endless. Coincidentally it was also the time when I was about to have my second child and enter the busiest phase of my life. I decided to use this opportunity to go into a complete social media detox- I suspended my FB account, deleted the app from my phone! It wasn’t easy! The first few days it felt like an integral part of my life was missing! Thanks to baby number two, I quickly overcame that phase. I realized I was sleeping better, thinking better and enjoying the present moment more and most importantly it helped me collect my thoughts and plan my career goals. In all honesty, I did miss the good aspects of it sill-the mum forums which doubled up as Agony Aunts and Yellow Pages, the Calendar, which reminded me of people’s birthdays and important events, but all in all it felt like I was freeing myself of an addiction!
I did re-activate my FB account eventually but I am not addicted anymore and use it mostly for promoting my new venture. Interestingly, when I recently started my food blogging journey (which ironically involves a lot of social media usage for sustenance), a lot of friends and acquaintances jested as to how I have turned into an “overnight food blogger”, some friendly comments included- “Wow! You are cooking a lot these days!”, “Hey! I had no idea you cooked (this from someone whom I had not met in the last 8 years of my life)! Or “Treat us to your food also sometimes (from someone who had dined at my place on several occasions!). While most of these were friendly banter and not over-thought remarks, it again brought home the fact that how much social media had overpowered our lives! Just because I did not flaunt my cooking/food/entertaining people at my home on a public forum, I was not ‘cooking enough!” because I wasn’t sharing my plans with the world about what I intended to do with my life, I was an “overnight food blogger!”
In fact I regretted not capturing each of the numerous meals at my home on social media and tagging those I had invited! Damn! That could have been proof that I actually knew how to cook! Lesson learnt!
Anyway, no one can be blamed, because in this age of information overload, memories are short-lived and a person or an event, on most occasions is as relevant as his/her last FB/Insta/Twitter status update. My work requires heavy usage of social media as I feel responsible towards sharing a part of who I am with the people who follow my blog. But I have to confess, it is the hardest part of what I do and is quite draining! Cooking, styling and photography all put together do not take as much out from me as does my time invested being “online” and I have to come to truly appreciate and marvel at the talents of those who do so quite effortlessly both personally and professionally! I guess it takes a certain kind of personality to excel at “online engagement” and I for sure need to better my game on that front! A “to-do” for the New Year 😉 Do you have any tips, words of advice, suggestions as to how you deal with these pressures in your life? I would love to know.
I guess I am done with my venting for 2017! Now to better and more productive things in life! I am extremely excited to share that I would be starting a monthly newsletter for all my blog subscribers which will be a round up of recipes, exciting restaurant deals in and around Hong Kong, cooking hacks, tips and tricks to healthy meal planning and a lot more fun and interesting stuff! Thank you so much for all your support. The little that I have achieved would have been impossible without you. THANK YOU FOR BEING THERE!
Stay tuned and here is to an extremely positive and productive 2018 which involves channelizing our energies into creating something new and not judging someone who is trying to do so! HAPPY NEW YEAR GUYS!