December 13, 2019

Unfollowing

Nothing about this time of year feels slow. We are screaming into the end of 2019 with tailwinds achieving knot speeds that I can never remember seeing. High-speed roads, High-speed internet; fast-food, fast-forward, fast-friends. Hyper-connection leads to all kinds of hyper-activity, hyper-thinking, hyper-arousal…. just hyper-everything. It can be exhausting. 

This edit is about celebrating the slow. Slow-food, slow-journalism, slow-down. Slow right down, in fact. Hopefully, for many of you, the holidays will represent the opportunity to do just that. 

I’ve been thinking about the best holiday wishes I could give everyone and I want to land on this: My wish for you is to unfollow.

Earlier this year, at The Byron Writers Festival, there was a conversation on stage between Tim Costello and Chris Hanley. Tim was talking about social media and the impact it has on our tendency to value both ourselves and others, by virtue of comparison.

The danger of this, as Tim so aptly stated, is that when you compare ‘up’ you’ll always feel wanting. By comparing your reality to everyone else’s carefully curated and edited depiction of identity, well then you can’t help but feel wanting. 

If you compare ‘down’, if you can slow-down and take stock of every privilege and advantage that we do have, then instead of wanting – you will always feel blessed.

And you do need to slow-down to take stock of that.

The algorithms that drive our news feed are based on a ‘nearest neighbour’ logic. What this means is that they find opinions and sentiment most like ours and they feed fast news to us, from the perspective of people like us. We need to go beyond our nearest neighbours to really find our blessings.

116,000. Just read 116,000 slowly. It is a big number. There are 116,000 people in Australia experiencing homelessness on any given night. As someone so deeply connected to property with a day in and day out appreciation for what home means to us – this number is really something to consider. 

It is too easy to get lost in the sea of wanting, but if we can slow down and unfollow, then we might just find ourselves with a merry little Christmas now.

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