hello there friends...it looks like yearly reflection posts will become a tradition here :) ive had to split this into two posts. this one will serve as a roundup of whats gone on with my digital habits in my life throughout the year, and this other post delves deeper into realisations ive had about creativity this year if youre interested in that sort of thing.....
lets start with where i sort of left off in the 2022 reflection post.
for me the year can be divided into a few parts. throughout january - june, i recall more or less following all my routines and goals quite perfectly. i recall downloading all the workout videos i wanted onto my laptop (which died rip) but i dont even really use them as i know them off by heart now lol. with music, i did start to work on my own offline database of music, gathering everything i could find across all my devices and slowly buying/downloading/ripping my cds. my mum gave me her old ipod and i used itunes on my old internet-less laptop, but i find it requires a LOT of upkeep and adding to, and the backlog of stuff i was finding online to listen to vs the time i had to get it offline was imbalanced. i spent a lot of time in an internetless area of where i was living focussing on my art and other projects, downloading lots of tv shows or films or blasting my cds/ipod.
as much as i enjoyed watching twitter absolutely collapse on itself, i eventually deleted that shit. on tumblr, i actually forgot i did this but i deleted that 10 year old account and started afresh, with my blog only for art. i did have another account for a while as my new 'inspo' blog but i found it led me down to many shitty rabbit holes so i deleted it eventually. i follow only one blog on my art blog so that i dont have to see tumblrs fucking awful post reccomendations in the 'you follow no one' void. i rarely go on it apart from to post art. im still quite fond of the site though i am currently thinking its sort of me pointless even having it. anyone i still wanted to follow ive added to my RSS reader, or my bookmarks.
around june, im not quite sure what happened but i fell into a depressive spiral and was back on all of my finest destructive internet based habits. from what ive understood, part of this was due to a part of my personal life and another part was the difficulty i felt around JLA which ive written about in another blog. for detail, i unblocked my leechblock basically everyday for a number of weeks before setting a password - which i then bypassed by opening the incognito versions of my browser. i THEN found ways to completely block the incognito modes, and to remove microsoft edge because of course windows doesnt want you to uninstall that shit but i did it anyway. i now have a password to my leechblock settings, which is like 25 random characters long and lives in a very difficult pain in the arse place to reach so that its so much effort i give up and hopefully by that time i try and confront what it is that is making me want to mindlessly scroll. its been successful thus far, but should it fail, the password will find itself in the hands of people i trust who are far away and cost me time and money to get to lel
in july/august id got my shit back together thankfully, and was in a less stressed place about my life issues and JLA. for the former, i put into motions things to create a change which worked and now i am much, much happier as a result. for the latter, i was upset id spent so much time wallowing and essentially pissed 2 months away i couldve been working on the project but alas. i was working on it and i was enjoying it. i had started to use my iphone SE from 2016 again as due to the life change i really couldnt afford to not have real time updates. but it wormed its way back into my life until i sat down this past week and thought about the year. there was one thing that worked really well however which is what i did on my leechblock - set a password and immediately hide it. downtime on apple automatically blocks apps you download, as well as ALL webpages on safari. so even if i did try to download some shit, it will be blocked. i can only access things for a minute.
in september, the big life change happened and i was kept another month from JLA more or less. i started working on it again in late september, mere weeks before it needed to be published every single day for 52 days (ur welcome neocities timeline users) and it took this interesting form i wasnt expecting to in those last couple months. again i talk about it further in this secondary blog post but it became so all encompassing and obsessive to where my digital devices and habits truly became squashed and my computer and phone were only used as tools for this project. i think due to where id lost a few months in the year and id kind of promised everyone and myself it was coming in 2023 it became all a hyperfocus in the way that all my routines and habits i have in place to stop myself from becoming a depressed person who doesnt take care of herself went out the window, and when i finished the project (merely 4 hours before the last day was published, and i think that shows ORZ) i had to make sure that 1) i fixed these routines and habits asap, which ive spent most of december doing and 2) FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO FILL THAT VOID BEFORE I GET SO BORED AND FILL IT WITH MINDLESS SCROLLING. fortunately december was quite nonstop with social gatherings and xmas and other smaller projects, but in this past couple weeks of the christmas/new years weird void was when i allowed quite a bit of mindless scrolling and looking at just complete shit online especially on my iphone to even keep me from sleeping etc. and the reason that happened was because i let myself do that, i had books and such things i could be doing but i chose not to. i dont want to do that again. i gained literally fucking nothing these past two weeks from that scrolling. i try to scratch my head and think of what i gained, maybe some funny reaction images?
where im at right now looking into next year, my digital philosophy will stay sort of the same - only use it when i need it, to aid or enhance something im doing in real life. i want to focus on input as i sort of sucked my creative well completely dry this year, id like to learn a lot of things and experience new things too. ive fine tuned my leechblock and did something quite similar on my iphone. i found that for tracking my health goals and financial goals the physical systems i had in place just dont cut it like how they do on my iphone. ive set a 24 hour downtime and put the screentime passcode with my leechblock password. we'll see how long it lasts as some apps i cant even use on the iphone anymore because its just too old LMFAO.
in november i finally, finally started using an RSS reader and its amazing. i spent some time putting in some youtubers, tumblr blogs, and neocities sites as well as other bits and i love that its all THERE and i dont have to click through all these different bookmarks and feeds. i started using feedly, then tried feedbro but i find with feedbro i cant add as many feeds so i went back to feedly. i also prefer that with feedly, i have to log in each time to use it (my browser logs out all sites when it is closed and i turn off the whole computer at the mains every day cos energy billz lol). in an ideal world i could put every site im interested in following their updates in here and meticulously arranging them into folders etc but alas. some sites that i cannot put into this reader i just have separately in a bookmark bar folder but i have them restricted to so i can only check on sunday. this is so i dont mindlessly click them throughout the week.
i also did try to make an RSS feed for this site but i cant seem to get it working, when i have days to focus on my website i will MAKE it work.
in terms of this site, as ALWAYS i want to redo lots of stuff you know the drill. we'll see if i have time. i havent touched the digital wellbeing page because frankly i havent been wanting to dwell on the topic too much. despite the times where i reverted back to old habits, overall the things i have put in place worked SO well i havent given a shit about even thinking about digital wellbeing. this year i wanted to focus on my life. in 2022, a LOT of my time was spent researching digital addictions and thinking about it, but i think sometimes it can be easy to focus more on the theory of something and ignore putting things into practice which is more what i tried to do this year. in fact this is the first time ive truly reflected on what things were like when it comes to digital habits this year whereas last year i was sort of micro analysing it so i could report back here. i would quite like to do lots of work on the scrapbook. if i miss anything from social media, its pages that just shared images of shit they liked, like film screenshots or pictures of a fucking cool shit they saw in a shop. id like to implement more of this on my site.
and im not quite sure how to delve into this topic because quite frankly its something i still struggle with but it is linked so heavily with my upbringing on the internet but next year i will be starting therapy for social anxiety. having stripped away so much of the digital habit fog, i am left with a lot of raw things to deal with beneath and social anxiety is probably the next most crippling thing in my life. it inhibits my day to day life and it becomes more frustrating as i get older. no matter from what it stems from, i recognise that being so chronically online and having most of that play out during my most important formative years has certainly made it worse . for a while, i have thought it is as a result of being neurodivergent. i did explore this avenue as there are other things that align with a diagnosis like that, but i was turned away from it. ultimately though if ive learnt anything this year is that sometimes not having perfection, or in this case perfect clarity about what it is that is causing my social fear and avoidance, is okay and its better to pursue some kind of help instead. so thats what im doing. i am starting out with simple online self help guides i can print out. im hoping to work up to speaking to an actual therapist. i mention this because, well, if all goes well i may come back and try and spread some knowledge because theres a very good chance most people reading this will be suffering from something very similar...
heres a couple other random points i couldnt really fit in elsewhere but i wanted to mention too
one of the things i had to change when i first stopped using my iphone was my period tracker. id used a digital one since i was a teen and mainly i didnt want to not use it because i was amused by the 8+ years of periods i could go back and view, ffs. if you know me you know i love stupid data like that and im still upset i deleted it in the end. im blessed with an almost perfect 28 day cycle, but whats been changing the past few years are my premenstrual symptoms so this is what i started to track just on a bit of paper inside my journal. and ladies, i recommend you to all start one bc yes you can do it in the app but theres nothing like looking back and remembering the day where i grabbed a pen and deliriously wrote "8/5/23 - bloat is pregnant"
my laptop also died on me in september. i spilt water on it, of all things....for a day the first half of the keyboard was crippled and the next morning it refused to turn on. thankfully my monthly routine of baking up my files means not too much is lost, only perhaps some banger memes and probably some read later bookmarks. in a way, it died at the perfect time as i didnt really have a use for it anymore as i no longer had access to a naturally internetless space where previously i would take it with downloaded refs/tv shows etc. so far the effect of this has been minimal, and in fact more beneficial as i am left with my computer. in previous writings ive discussed how the sudden absence of a smartphone does wonders for not having a constant distraction. around the house, it was easy for me to take the laptop to the kitchen, to my bed, to use it first thing in the morning. booting up my computer is.....time consuming, and requires me to sit there, at my desk. if i want to use the computer elsewhere, such as draw in the living room using a ref, i can always use my 2003 ibm laptop.
social media thoughts
the only social media i use (apart from if you count youtube and neocities, though im in the process of adding to my RSS reader/bookmarks as well) is pinterest. i fucking love pinterest. for me, it reminds me of what i really loved about tumblr - this scrapbook feeling of beautiful art, people, books, film, fashion, etc. the boards are better than a tag system, i think as an artist it is a really great resource for reference and research if you want to find something a little more different or specific or (and idk how better to see this) through a feminine lense than what you would find on google or duckduckgo image search. btw we as a society need to accept that duckduckgo's image search engine is fucking abysmal so sometimes pinterest gives me what i need, like fashion ideas or different images of an actress for example. i had this discussion with some friends that pinterest is the only social media ive ever walked away from where i dont feel full of despair, anxiety, and agitation after ingesting hundreds of braindead uninformed ignorant takes and this crab mentality of negativity. i think this has to do overall with the fact it is genuinely image based and more focused on the user making boards and shit, theres very little 'social' aspect to it. apart from comments - which ive nuked through adblock anyway.
but with all things i think it needs to be consumed in moderation. i find a limit of about an hour a week is enough.
sometimes when i browse, what youd call 'the book/film side of (insert a socmed here)' comes up, and i begin to feel the old traces of things i really didnt like about online fandoms or discussion about media in general. take films - theres all these posts abot how THESE films are this aesthetic or phrase or vibe. almost like a cult following but something about it feels off to me. idk anyway...pinterest is generally pretty good about me telling it to fuck off and dont come back with certain posts. theres also a lot of crossposting from tiktok which generally i just avoid anyway cos i already know i will probably hate it and itll drain my precious 1 hr a week of pinterest lol.
maybe however had i been in a more different state of mind where i was just a sadder person and sought out stuff that would piss me or someone off or negative reinforcement of my issues etc, my front page would consist of angry twitter/tumblr text post screenshots or just be a tiktok mirror of some kind. i come away from it right now feeling good and fulfilled like i got what i wanted, as i described earlier i usually open it to look for something and achieved that. whereas with mindless scrolling its just looking for a quick sort of hit, something that doesnt last so i end up craving more. overall thats a philosophy i carry through most of my life, for example with health.
another thing that happened was that my job was sick of my nokia bullshit, and to be really efficient and effective in my job which i do love and WANT to be proficient in, i need to be using a smartphone. thankfully they provide one, and eventually i was given a samsung galaxy xcover 5. its a model from 2021, and fuck me is it awful. it makes my old iphone look like the goddamn future of technology. the samsung is incredibly slow, clunky, and the organisation wont let me have simple pleasures like a calculator app so i have to load one up on fucking google. somehow the camera is absolute hell to use. itd be faster to whip out my nokia. i join most of my colleagues in leaving it on top of the shitty workphone pile to rot overnight in the workplace. my issue with it is randomly scrolling through our workplace's facebook and instagram as i have access to those, but going into the new year ill be staying logged out of them and only logging in when its required. in my scrolling i see how much people have put into say their instagram business accounts and their hobby accounts even, posting numerous times a day making whole videos and i remember how exhausting it was and honestly soul sucking. im not saying these people feel the same way or whatever but it just gives me that 'thank fuck im not doing that' feeling. also, i cant access it but im assuming threads is meant to be like twitter but just instagram flavoured. in instagram you can only see the first couples lines of their entire post but i am convinced people know this and so write the most inflammatory clickbaity shit ever so that even i think hmmm.........i wonder what this whole post were to say if i tap? something....controversial??
also what the fuc i remember back in the day of like 2020 if you had 100 followers on neocities you were a BIG FUCKING DEAL and now mfs have like 1500 how can this be, how can there be this many people but somehow 99% of websites i see these days are vapid wastes of my internet bill
for fun.... favourite music from this year. highly recommend listening in this order if you want genre whiplash
new years fit
happy new year, everyone.....