WARNING: Very cliche post…
I have recently cleaned out my phone and deleted all the unnecessary items like random editing apps or tools. Along with all the useless, was every single social media app. For years now, the thought of deleting my online social life has been floating around in the back of my mind, but I’ve always found an excuse as to why I benefited from so much screen time and constantly being in the “know” with everyone’s lives. “It is your main source of communication” or “but the daily dosage of memes…” were two very valid arguments that I had with myself over the years.
It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago when I really decided that I needed to take action on my mental health. Recently I have been in a bit of a funk. You always hear about the classic ‘roller coaster ride of life’ and if that’s true, gravity is truly doing its job on this ride. That isn’t to say that I am having a terrible time, I am doing just fine. Even at the lowest point of the coaster you are still enjoying it, right?
I found myself relying way too heavily on social media to give me my daily dose of entertainment and happiness. (very cliche, I know.) I am sure everyone can relate when I say that there were numerous times throughout the day where I was so bored that I would open Instagram, scroll for a bit and realize that I had already looked at everything, then proceed to clear the app, go to Snapchat, watch some stories, then go directly back to Instagram, and repeat. Over and over again as if I was expecting a different result. Not only was it a time waster, but constantly being on social media got to a point where I became extremely anxious and stressed out for no reason at all. I had this idea in my mind that it was important to be active at all times on every platform, showcasing the best moments of my day.
After years of this idea on how I should present myself online constantly weighing over my head, I feel like I am finally at a place where I can just give up the idea and stop trying to portray myself as one way or another. I need to truly be satisfied with the person I am when no one is watching before I try to prove it to people online, and now that I think about it, that has been my problem all along. I try way too hard to show everyone that I am having a great time. Moving forward in the future, I can guarantee you that I will in fact, redownload Snapchat and Instagram. I have no idea when that is, but at this point it feels really nice to wake up in the morning and have no reason to reach over to my phone. I go hours into my morning before I even glance at it.
Snapchat was a very difficult app to get rid of because among my age group, it seems to be the main source of communication, I mean how am I supposed to communicate with, “Da Boys” (unfortunately yes, that is the actual name of the groupchat with all my friends, and the only real reason for my usage of the app). I went about getting rid of Snapchat a few different ways with lots of trial and error. At first, I thought I could curb my social media addiction by hiding it deep in a “Utilities” folder with random applications like Tips and Contacts. However, when you are the one hiding the app and you have a deep desire to check Snapchat, it is exceptionally easy to find it again on the third page of the Utilities folder. To be honest, you were never gonna fool yourself in the first place. I then took it a step further and disabled my notifications in hopes of forgetting that I even had the app. Nevertheless, not knowing if you got a notification or not makes it worse and I ended up checking Snapchat more than if I had notifications on. After two failed attempts I came to the conclusion that I needed to just commit and get rid of the app completely. This was tough because I became so worried that people would try to get a hold of me and I wouldn’t get back to them. I ran scenario after scenario through my head about all the fun I would be missing out on, but if I am being real, I was never having fun in the first place. For a brief moment I even considered posting on my story something along the lines of, “I am no longer using this app, so if you need to get a hold of me, text me.” Come on Jack, Can you imagine if I really did that? I would’ve actually become THAT guy. I have a strong disliking towards those people.
I would be lying to you if I said I deleted Instagram a while ago. I totally just deleted it two days ago. HOWEVER, it has been a blessed two days with so much peace and content, and I feel as if I am living like a Bodhisattva. Instagram seemed to take up the majority of anxiety caused from social media, and that is because it was what I consumed the most. If you have even spent 5 minutes on the app, you would know that it’s just everyone posting about the best part of their day and I am totally guilty of that. I will for sure continue to post about the good parts of my life when I return to the platform in the future, but I will hopefully have a better understanding as to why I post what I post and have fun with the app. After all, that is its main purpose.
I am not saying that social media is bad in any way, there are definitely beneficial factors to it, but I have found for myself, that too much of it at once can do way more harm. I have seriously enjoyed my days as I fill up the passing time with activities like playing guitar, reading, going outside to rock climb, or even just sitting out on my back patio enjoying the weather while listening to some Trevor Hall.
I recently met up with one of my closest friends from college to go climb some rock in Leavenworth, Washington. During my first year of college at Western Washington University I met this guy. Finlay Morrison, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Norweigan climber with a great name, even though misspelled based on my standards. Before I met Finn, I was convinced that surely no one was more obsessed with climbing than myself, and because I am not willing to admit that yet, I have to tell you that I still believe that statement to be true.
Within the last six months of knowing each other, Finn and I have roughly climbed with our friends for 165 days, leaving 20 days of no climbing. There were many nights where we’d all get together and dream up crazy climbing trips that would be completed over summer break. For example, driving to Colorado to meet up with our boys from Vail to climb and send it to Utah, or buying a bus and driving her down the West Coast climbing every boulder in sight.
Unfortunately, a little mishap occurred forcing all college campuses to close down which meant no on-campus living for the rest of the year. That little mishap, being the worldwide Coronavirus outbreak. I felt as if all my hopes and dreams had been infected and killed by the terrible sickness. Luckily for me, the biggest effect it had on me was the state park closures. Closed parks meant no climbing. March 25th was the first day that the closure went into effect, and a little over a month later and they have since reopened in Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Phase One” plan. The minute I read the article about the parks opening I hit up Finn.
Unfortunately we weren’t on the same page… late one night after communicating for a bit, we came to an agreement for a time to go: early the next morning. So I grabbed the nearest backpack I could find and tossed in a fresh pair of underwear and my toothbrush and loaded it into the car along with a sleeping bag, climbing shoes and crash pads. I was set.
After a three hour long car ride on my end, and a short hour and a half drive for Finn and his brother Olaf, we explored around Index, Washington. We had the intention of climbing some routes that Finn had sent before at the river. However, to our surprise, the river had risen quite a bit since he was last there and a majority of the routes were halfway under water. We loaded up the cars and made the spontaneous decision to head an hour east to Leavenworth. After driving around town for a bit we were able to find some rock called the “Fridge Boulders” and according to Mountainproject.com, “The Fridge itself has one of the best problems in Leavenworth.” We were game, and knew that this was the spot. There are about six problems on the main Fridge boulder ranging from V0 to V8. We warmed up on the V0 and V2 and decided to try our strength on a couple of V4’s.
Woefully, we were both unable to complete either of the V4’s which I have to contribute to the fact that we slept in our cars the night before and had little food, because we didn’t pack efficiently. Guys, I know what you are thinking, and I promise you that we are strong enough…
I have to be honest with you though. At the end of the day, I am never too hard on myself if I don’t complete a certain climb right away. A year and a half ago when I would lay in bed at night watching climbing/adventure movies like Jeff Johnson’s, 180 Degrees South, I was just waiting for the opportunity to get out and create my own adventures, whether that was climbing or surfing and or just traveling. I am just beyond stoked that I now have that opportunity to do all of that and climb regardless if I flash that V12 I dreamed about the night before. I am especially lucky to have found a community of people around me who are stoked on life and adventure. Life is Good!
Stay safe and enjoy yourself!