December 31, 2013 WoW admin

What is a resolution? The online definition of resolution is: 1) to make a firm decision around something, and, 2) to solve a problem. That means that our resolutions should also be solutions. It leaves me to reflect on my own personal resolution from both perspectives of the word’s meaning.

A couple of nights ago, I was lying with my soon-to-be 5-year-old son, Caleb, reading him a bedtime story. The story is called Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. At the point when a blue horse comes into the story, I said to Caleb “I love the blue horse, it’s my favorite.”, to which he replied “Me too! I want to put it on Facebook!” I had a good laugh about that, feeling a bit bewildered as I’m sure I’m not a “Facebook junkie” enough for him to be familiar with what Facebook is and that it would be an appropriate platform upon which to post an image of a blue horse. Am I?

Once Caleb was asleep, I was left contemplating his generation of technological “whizzes” and my own involvement in social media. I can see how social media is a positive thing – friends and family from different area codes wouldn’t be at my fingertips if it weren’t for social media. Here’s the flip side: it’s a wormhole. I slip and fall into the wormhole of social media ALL THE TIME. I decide that I’m “just going to post something for work” and I end up watching videos of flash mobs, spontaneous marriage proposals and designers making mannequins of physically disabled people in Scandinavia. Suddenly I’m sobbing uncontrollably as I watch children giving their impression of their otherwise self-critical parents or as I read a tender note from a father to his gay son. Those are the nice wormholes. They are equally matched by their not-so-nice counterparts that I won’t go into detail around, but which leave me feeling hopeless, depressed, angry, sad, defeated and powerless. Both types of wormholes burn incredible amounts of time since every single thing you read or watch on the internet is connected to a zillion other things, and, if you’re like me, you find yourself with leg cramps, swollen eyes, unnecessary stress and no time left to get anything else done…and it all started with a single post that never even got done.

Social media has also become a platform for public debate with millions of people hiding behind their computers and typing eloquent and not so eloquent words about what they believe is “right” or “wrong”. I recently posted a link around a topic that entices a great deal of passion in me, and it happened to also entice a great deal of opposing passion from people who are close to my heart. It even caused contention away from the social media platform itself. At the end of it all, there were disputes, tears and a conclusive deleting of the link by myself. What was it all for? Everyone feels that they’re “right”. Good for them – they should feel that way. That’s what personal values are: a collection of beliefs that one has deemed “right” in their heart of hearts. It’s personal and spiritual. Each individual’s values are unique and precious. So do we really need to spend time airing out where our values differ on social media? Trying to convince another to embrace OUR values is like speaking loudly in Russian to someone who only understands Spanish. It doesn’t work. I say we put our literary swords down and let sleeping dogs lie. Unfortunately, the world-wide web is the place where people are most likely to run amok with their word swords.

In my case, it all came down to resolution, as it relates to both meanings of the word.

Deleting the controversial link on my social media page and holding space for the feelings of those it affected was part of the resolution. From there, I am also inclined to make a resolution. This resolution has been a long time coming and I guess everything needed to escalate for me to come to it. I resolve to commit to a limited period of time on the internet when I am at home. But there’s more. I resolve to ONLY follow wormholes that have light at the end of them. No more stress-filled, fitful sleep as a result of macabre wormholes on the interweb. Bedtime meditation now becomes just that, bedtime meditation, not meditation to try to tame the psychological chaos created by my compulsion to fall into dark wormholes.

So here we are. It’s 2014 and unless there’s a blue horse at the end of every cyber-tunnel, I’m not following it.

What’s your New Year’s resolution and how do you feel it will impact your life? Can we support you in achieving and maintaining your resolution?

We’d love to hear from you!

Roberta Shepherd for Wellness on Whyte