Filter The Voices.

I know we are well into February and I’m not trying to bring up things from the past to trigger any sort of PTSD but… remember 2020? LOL.  Of course you do. It will be a year for the books that’s for certain. Thank God it’s over, right? Because 2021 will definitely NOT have any remnants of 2020… 

But let’s take a moment and reflect, and maybe add on to those ‘New Year’s resolutions’ you probably need to start up again and make some changes so we don’t repeat the past. 

If I could describe what the year 2020 was, I would say it was the year of ‘voices.’

I interact with numerous people, having conversation with about 10-13 strangers daily as a pseudo therapist (wait, I mean… barber), and I can certainly say my ears have been overloaded. One common thing I heard repeatedly from the collection of voices I interacted with was how much 2020 sucked. How they couldn’t wait for this year to be over, or just wishing the year away. 

It was a heavy year with the coronavirus, shutdowns, layoffs, continued racism, human rights, protests, riots, looting, politics, and an election year. (Did I miss anything?) Oh yeah, and Kobe died… (wow Jess, thanks for that..) Having to adapt to a new normal, trying to learn and listen while attempting to not offend; lead to frustration, stress, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, confusion, disagreements and more separation than unity in almost every corner.

It goes without saying people had something to talk about and use their voice all throughout 2020.

Voices from friends and family, news channels, journalists, politicians, celebrities, ‘influencers’, and just normal bystanders on social media platforms.

Voices of bad news, voices of being told what we could or could not do, voices of misguided information, voices of opinions, facts or conspiracy theories, voices of attack or occasionally; encouragement, hope, inspiration, and love. 

Though our physical mouths had to be covered up, that never stopped people from using their voice for better or worse. 

But perhaps the problem wasn’t the voices themselves, but the gadget the voices were being funneled through. 

The way we consume our news now is completely different than even 5 years ago — most of us see our news through some form of social media. This means we are bombarded with news stories even when we aren’t looking for or wanting them. Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, even Snapchat all show you shocking and visual news reports.  Whether you are intentionally looking for an update on the world news or you’re just scrolling through these platforms for funzies, you will still run into some sort of article, comment, meme, or video regarding what’s going on in the world. We can’t really escape it. Not only do we face these particular news stories themselves, we also face the reactions of hundreds of different voices regarding these stories; reactions of opinions, judgments, and beliefs. Which results in emotional reactions (stress, anxiety, depression ect.. ) No doubt with all of that going on and having access right at our fingertips, we would feel that 2020 was a garbage year, that we would wish for something better, that we would just wait for it to pass and hope that 2021 will be better and give us good news. 

Perhaps the problem isn’t the news entirely, or how it’s being spread, or who says what about whom, but perhaps the problem is how much time we are allowing what we see and hear, affect our actual reality. Perhaps the problem is letting what we see and hear consume our lives and live in a negative and fearful substitute of reality. 

Here are some statistics for you, from Techjury and Review42

  • Americans spend an average screen time of 5.4 hours on their mobile phones daily. 
  • 16-24 year-olds’ spend a median of 3 hours a day on social media.
  • Adults of ages between 25 and 34 use social media for 2 hours and 37 minutes each day.
  • 35 to 44 year- olds’ spend 2 hours and 4 minutes of social media time.
  • The average time spent on social media for people aged between 45 and 54 is 1 hour and 39 minutes.
  • 55- 64 year-olds’ average time on social media is 1 hour and 13 minutes.

According to time spent on social media statistics, people used 142 minutes of their everyday routines to stay on social media. That’s an average of 2.5 hours a day. 

That’s a lot of time… that’s a lot of time to be bombarded with different news stories, theories, opinions, and comments. That’s a lot of time to be focused on what’s going on in the outside world and not your actual reality. That’s a lot of time to see “2020 sucks.” That’s a lot of time to have something influence you. Two in a half hours A DAY, is a lot of time to see something, or hear something repeatedly and actually start to believe it (talk about systematic). That’s a lot of time to take away what you actually think or feel on the matter. Two and half hours a day on media alone, is a lot of energy to give into, to just have it be zapped away and left feeling hopeless, upset, and angry. 

It’s so easy to project what we see on TV or our pocket robots and think the world is falling apart, or humanity is lost, or 2020 was the worst year ever recorded.. But I wonder if we really pay attention, unglue our eyes and take a look around at actual reality, your OWN reality, what is happening in your life at this very moment, I bet 95% of our daily interaction with people or just living our lives is actually good. Or at the most, it wasn’t a year that needs to be thrown into the fiery depths of hell and never to return, but it was actually a year just like any other. A year to grow, enjoy, learn, and be challenged in. 

So what am I getting at? Completely delete every media app you have? Throw your phone into a lake and go off the grid? Hide yourself under a rock? Bury your head in the sand? YES!  

No. That would be hypocritical of me, as I post this little article on social media. What I am suggesting for the new year and beyond is to filter how much time you’re spending on virtual reality. Never would I suggest that you don’t be informed on what’s going on in the world. It’s very important, but it’s necessary to know when it’s becoming too much. It’s also necessary to ask yourself what you are supposed to do with the information you constantly see. If you feel you are to contribute somehow, maybe more than ‘retweeting’ or reposting, by all means I think that is the healthiest thing you can do for yourself, contributing to the world around you with the information you have. But if there is nothing you can do in your realm of what’s available to you, filter out how it’s going to influence your mental health. Seperate what is going on in the world and what is going on in your own reality. Like the famous phrase “everything in moderation.”

We have a filter for the pictures we post, why not filter the time spent on the voices that influence us. What you give your attention to, will reflect what you think, feel and how you will react.

Thanks for reading.

Yours truely,
Another ‘voice’ in the wind. 😉


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