2014 was an amazing year for my personal advancement and achievement in life. While the first half of the year was rather boring, things picked up in July and never slowed down. By the time December rolled around, I was preparing for one final big event and ready to take a break from everything for the holidays.
I got through the event successfully but was completely worn out in the process. Over the course of that weekend I had walked about 20 miles as I constantly paced through the building making sure everyone had what they needed. The following Monday I was literally so tired I could barely stand up. After taking a few days to rest and recuperate I decided that the remainder of my year would be quiet and relaxed. No more meetings, no more events, just me and my family relaxing and enjoying each other as much as possible.
This downtime would also allow me to finish up a few work projects I had in progress without being overly distracted. As Christmas approached I noticed there was one final thing that was distracting me from my “me time” and that was social media, namely Facebook.
Over the last 10 years my Facebook account had been a constant in my life, many times my connection to the world and my friends all across it. Scrolling through my personal page one can instantly see most of what I have been up to and what has been on my mind. Whether it was something related to technology, family, or current events there was probably so mention of it by me at some point throughout the year. Overall I’ve enjoyed this interaction with my friends because it has led to some great dialog amongst people with varying views of every issue. Of course there have been some times when discussions went a little too far, but if they hadn’t I don’t think I would have been being real.
Finally as the last few days of the year rolled around I thought it would be a good time to take a break from Facebook as well. I put up my last post for the year and that was it, sort of. I didn’t take a total break from the site, mainly because it is my main connection to so many people and things I hold dear. What I did do however was refrain from posting anything. This proved pretty hard to do considering the holiday season is such a social time and the number of things that had been going on in society. Somehow though I managed to get through the last two weeks of December without a single post or comment.
Some people might think this was a trivial, meaningless exercise, but it honestly taught me a lot. While I scrolled through my feeds reading what everyone else had to say, I began to take note of the things I had posted in the past. The most common question I asked myself was what impact might my posts have had on the people who were reading them. Did I come off as funny and witty or out of touch and arrogant? I had to ask myself this because this is exactly what I saw throughout my feed.
I have to admit I lead a pretty modest life, but I’m extremely blessed and privileged at the same time. I have had many ups and downs like everyone else, but thankfully I have had many more peaks than valleys. Most of the things I have in my life have come from lots of hard work, but there are some others that simply came from God’s grace. These are some of the things I hold my dear to me because there is no rational explanation for them, yet I am truly grateful to have them.
The more I think about all the things I’ve posted on social media, the more I wonder about the significance of any of it. Does it matter what my new car looks like, when there’s a single mom waiting at the bus stop with her kids in the cold? Does it matter that I’m watching a basketball game from a VIP area when there are a good number of people who have never even been inside the building? Do my pictures of what I’m eating at a new restaurant matter when someone who’s seeing them hasn’t had a decent meal in a week?
Sure all of these things are fun and exciting but in the grand scheme of things they are pretty irrelevant. I also began to think about my posts concerning social justice issues and their impact on the world around me. Ultimately I can post all day about the injustices of our society, but until I step away from the computer and do something about them in the real world, none of my thoughts will bring about any kind of meaningful change.
Rather than coming up with a list of resolutions for this new year, I have been reflecting on all the things I’m involved with and their impact on the world. For me 2015 won’t be about fun and enjoyment but rather making an impact in society and being an agent of change. I know that means there will be some rough times ahead, but in the end I also know it will all be worth it.
So far I can tell you to be on the look out for a number of events like the youth hackathon I was involved in last December. Also keep your eyes out for a children’s book series I’ll be working on that will feature kids that are very similar to the one I was growing up. As always I have some interesting work projects to keep me busy as I grow as a developer and entrepreneur.
As always I’m looking forward to this new year and all the new opportunity it will bring. Rather than make a ton of noise though, I will be a lot more silent.
“Silence is not the absence of something, but the presence of everything” -John Grossman