Friday, 24 June 2016

Charity Shop Gold is no more.

It'll probably come as no surprise that I'm going to stop posting on this blog and its associated Twitter and Instagram feeds. My posts for the last few months have been sporadic (at best) and to be completely honest, blogging has become a chore.

In April, I had the worst period of bad mental health that I'd had in years and absolutely everything else became secondary to getting better. After coming out the other side of that, I tried to piece together what had gone wrong so I could avoid it happening again. I searched through magazine articles and forums and found a small movement of people who were advocating a smartphone detox which included having one day per week, people seemed to favour a Sunday, where they switched their phones, tablets, computers etc off and basically returned to life before all these things got the better of us.
At first, I was concerned. What if there was an emergency? Well, emergencies predate mobile phones. I also have a work phone which I can't work other than to text and call so I gave those close to me that number and said they should use that if they desperately need to get in contact. Otherwise, I'd be disappearing from Saturday night to Monday morning and please don't expect a reply during that time.
That first Sunday when I woke up, I felt a wave of calm wash over me - no irritating noises, no mindless scrolling, no pointless chat. I took myself out to Heaton Park, had a long walk, fed some animals and read my book under a tree. I've been doing this for a good six weeks now and I'm thinking about making it more days in every week. Actually, I'm thinking about getting to the end of my contract and getting a Nokia 3310.

I've come to realise that in the main, I hate the Internet. I deactivated my Facebook more than 3 years ago now and never looked back. I got rid of my personal Twitter and Instagram this time last year and never looked back. Maybe I'm in a minority here but unless you're a close friend or a family member, I just don't care how many kids you have, where you go on holiday, what your relationship status is or what you watched on TV last night. I genuinely couldn't care less. The amount of people I see in cafes with their partners and they're sitting on their phones not speaking to each other or people walking out in front of cars because they're too engrossed in what someone they've never met is eating for lunch. What is wrong with people? Why is that interesting? Look around, you'll miss what's going on in your life while you're becoming an expert in the life of someone else!

I don't know about everyone else but to me, the Internet seems to be becoming an increasingly vile place. When did we all stop living by the old adage: if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all? It was probably around the time where you could be as nasty as you liked from behind your keyboard and not see the result of your actions.

I know this isn't news and I've been thinking this decision through for a while now but Twitter today has tipped me over the edge. For anyone with their head buried in the sand, the UK has voted to come out of the EU this morning. Regardless of where you stand on this issue, more people voted to leave the EU than to remain. It wasn't fixed, nobody was forced to cross that box - that's what the majority of people felt was right for them.
Some of the tweets I've read today are an absolute disgrace. Whether you agree or not, a democratic vote decided the outcome. Maybe in the days to come, it will transpire that some statements were misleading but to call people expletives on social media isn't helping the situation.
I have no doubt that for some people, leave was a reactive vote because we've come to a place where as soon as anyone comes out with a statement that is anything other than left-leaning, they're publicly lambasted. It's all a bit Animal Farm - everyone's opinion is equal but some are more equal than others. And this is by no means just true in the case of the EU decision - it's in everything.

It's good to have opinions but part of getting on in life is accepting that people are different and what's right for you might not be right for someone else. If you haven't come to realise that by adulthood, something has gone incredibly wrong.
It isn't right that people in the UK in 2016 should be able to behave this way and I believe the Internet is the root of the problem and I don't want to be part of that anymore.

I want to say thanks to everyone who has followed the blog over the past few years - I've met some lovely people along the way. I'll still be contactable by email - just not on a Sunday :) x

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