ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi! I'm Amanda.
Lovely to meet you. 🧡
Lovely to meet you. 🧡
Because I’m going for done over perfect here, this page is not super cute, but if you’re curious about who I am and why I want to talk about the things I’m talking about, I think it’ll do.
I was gifted a laptop for my 8th Christmas and the coveted iPhone and Facebook access for my 12th birthday.
Since then, I’ve been fascinated by technology and its impact on our world, and have gone through many of my own personal experiments with/dabbling in removing myself from the social media world in phases, while still maintaining private social media marketing clients. (Easier than it sounds!)
I’ve gone from phone obsessed to very much not in the past 5 years through the exploration of several key concepts, one of which is digital minimalism.
Credit goes to Cal Newport- he (literally) wrote the book on digital minimalism. But I find that I bring a more embodied and vision-oriented approach to the act of digital minimalism. This, in combination with mindfulness, wellness, productivity and habits-building, is a good balance of the feminine spiritual/mindful/well concepts and the masculine get shit done/optimize/act process.
I hope you enjoy reading about these concepts as much as I enjoy writing about them! Click below for a little inspiration.
So that’s the short bit! Here’s more about my story.
When I was a kid I had 3 hobbies- playing with my brothers, reading, and writing. I was constantly writing stories in MS Word on my dad’s laptop, so my parents decided it was time for me to just get my own damn laptop already.
At the ripe age of 8 I was presented a Toshiba for Christmas that still sits under my bed today. The exact moment that I unwrapped that laptop is crystallized forever in my mind, that feeling of “holyshitholyshitholyshit.” I couldn’t believe it. Writing, whenever I wanted, right at my fingertips. My very own storytelling machine.
Well! Like many a child at this time I discovered not only the joys of my own Documents folder to clutter with whatever stories I wanted, but the pull of “the Internet.” I discovered funny filters on the laptop’s camera and recorded videos of me and my brother singing and rapping our favorite songs. I even created makeup tutorials and wellness/beauty vlogs on a kid’s version of YouTube funded by KidzBop (my username was @peachpop ).
Then, for my 12th birthday, I was gifted THE IPHONE and the ability to make a Facebook account. I was an early adopter for Instagram (my username was @vintagebird ), connecting with people everywhere with pictures of nature and daily life before captions and popularity even came into play. I organized competitions and art contests with people around the world through Kik (I know). This was purely a time of creation, both in my writing and my photographic expression, and I loved it and how connected I felt to other creatives.
As a teenager and into college, like almost everyone in my generation I was glued to my smartphone. If I had to estimate the use of my time on my cell phone it was probably a 90% entertainment to 10% actual phone calls ratio.
I don’t know how it happened, or why, but suddenly we were all pretty invested in the lure of this device. My phone was packed with brightly-colored apps like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter, and I was constantly rotating between them for hours on end, sometimes to the detriment of my class work or other responsibilities.
After a particularly long scrolling period from the second I woke up to mid-afternoon, unshowered, unfed, and eyes and hand hurting, I felt The Urge. The first of it’s kind. The very visceral and feral desire to hurl my phone into the furthest corner of my room and watch it smash into a million pieces. ()
I was probably a bit stunned by this feeling, but it ultimately didn’t come as a surprise. The Urge would continue in my quietest moments, on and off as I became aware of my internal climate and interested in productivity, habit-building, and optimizing… everything. I realized the phone was standing in the way of the productivity I wanted to see from myself, but I could never quite bear to part with it for too long for fear of missing out. (As if I wasn’t missing out on the most precious thing possible- my life )
Finally, the spring of my sophomore year of college, I got so sick of the shallowness of it all that I decided that, for one month, I would delete all my social apps on my phone and not wear makeup, because feminism. This was a full exploration of my identity without the things that made me feel queasy- societal expectations on a lady, and social media addiction. The pressures of the external.
The results of this were astounding, both for my self esteem and for my ability to be present with the glittering Isness of this planet and my surroundings. As I faded from a digital existence, I found myself more strongly rooted in a physical one, and loved what I found and how I felt about myself.
My implementation of digital minimalism for realsies was as slow and intentional as the philosophy requires.
Over time I started accumulating books and documentaries and finding like-minded thought leaders (chiefly Cal Newport, to whom I give all credit for coining the term digital minimalism and whose ideas I expound in this blog, alongside Cait Flanders, The Minimalists, and Josh Barker) holding the torch for the minimalist revolution. I started implementing their findings in my own life et voila! Here I am, writing a blog about it. 💚
It’s been 5 years since that month-long experiment, and through small tweaks and large, I’ve gotten to a place of presence and peace. My phone looks and behaves very differently from those teenage years, and now it’s 90% phone and 10% entertainment/business. And I’m so proud of all the work it’s taken to get there.
To paraphrase Phil Stutz, there are 3 constants in life- pain, uncertainty, and constant work.
These 3 things will never disappear, and if someone advertises a product or ideology or medication being capable of such, implicitly or explicitly, they are lying to you.
Digital minimalism will not solve your problems.
But the problems that remain after you employ digital minimalism will be the real ones. The ones you’ve tried to cover up all along, every time you unconsciously twitch your thumb across a screen from muscle memory to “check” your social media networks or email while rapidly decreasing your ability to focus, be present, and exist.
Imagine, really imagine a world where we were all in a healthy relationship with our inbox, our smartphones, our gaming devices.
Imagine if we all knew when to sound the alarm bells when a shiny new “high tech” invention was unraveled instead of oohing and ahing at it’s glow (I’m looking at you, Chat GPT).
Imagine if we were all actually really present with our problems, our pain, our uncertainty, our constant work, and used numbing pleasures like our smartphones, social media, food and drink intentionally instead of letting them get the best of us.
Imagine a world that Wall-E would be proud of.
That’s the one I’m going for. I hope you are too.
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