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Silence is a scary thing

Steph Wulz | Thursday, October 31, 2013

Silence is a scary thing. It’s something you come to realize when you live alone in a small apartment in a big city. Being alone with your thoughts is a very raw thing. I was removed from the comfort of living with my best friends at school and instead forced to wake up to sounds of the tenant next to me. The drastic transition compelled me to connect more frequently with my friends and family across the country through social media.
It was a blessing and a curse.
It was always easy to grab my phone and use it as a crutch to get through the loneliness by knowing that someone on Facebook was reaching out to me. I was avoiding being by myself and living in the moment because I didn’t know how to live in that particular moment. I had conditioned myself to use social networking on my phone to bypass the stress of it all, and I got good at it.
I soon realized that I was spending the majority of my day connecting with people everywhere else other than where I was. I felt even more disconnected from the people around me and even myself.
It was eerie. I felt lost.
Louis C. K., one of my favorite comedians, was on Conan in September and spoke about why he hates cell phones. If you haven’t checked his bit out yet, I urge you to do so. The part that resonated most with me was what he called our inability of “being a person” anymore. We rarely have the self-control nowadays to just sit, think, and feel. There is a fear and vulnerability about experiencing sadness, but when we allow ourselves to listen to our emotions and not avoid it, it is liberating.
I had to make a change in my behavior to allow myself to live in the now – to reclaim the moments of personal reflection and connection to the people around me. I no longer wanted to be a part of society that replaced skills of verbal communication with the dependence and comfort of social media.
I went on a digital detox.
I recently deleted all the social media apps on my cell phone and life has been great. I no longer have the distractions notifying me throughout the day and find myself making deeper connections with people because I don’t have a phone to use in dull moments or boring table talk. See if you can handle it and try it out.
 

Contact Steph Wulz at swulz@nd.edu
The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.