“No man is an island”- John Donne.
At the start of this summer I went a social media detox. The reason for the detox was this constant feeling of FOMO. I would let people’s fun pictures or events or status updates ruin a day if I felt like I should have been there. My anxiety would soar when I would turn down an event but then see everyone loving it. I would let myself get bogged down in the comparison game and feel shitty because I didn’t have a summer job yet. I was starting to be a little out of control with my feelings. So, my solution? No social media for a while. At first I was going to do the whole summer, but then I realized after being in Italy for a month and then being back that I was seriously missing some of my best friends life events (since we don’t live in the same state anymore) and jumped back on, 7 weeks into summer. Getting back on social media felt strange. I wanted to see what people were up to, but i didn’t feel like I needed to check every time I had a slow moment in conversation or downtime in general. What did I learn from my detox? Sometimes Isolation can be a good thing for the soul.
This chapter of Harry Potter begins with just a normal school day. Professor Lupin looks a little rough in class, Oliver Wood pushes the Gryffindor Qudditch team hard in practice, and Ron fights with Hermione over her cat trying to eat his rat. The first Hogsmeade trip of the year approaches and Harry, who still doesn’t have a permission slip to go, approaches Professor McGonagall about the trip. She shuts him down, refusing to give him permission to go and send him on his way. Feeling alone as all of his friends head off to Hogsmeade Harry hangs out Professor Lupin who explains that the reason he didn’t let harry go after the Boggart in class because Lupin feared it would be Voldemort that appeared in front of the class. Ron and Hermione bring back tons of candy for Harry from their trip. After the Halloween feast, the Gryffindors head back up to their common room to find the Fat Lady’s portrait slashed and the Fat Lady missing.
One of my favorite parts of the movie of this book is when Harry and Lupin have a conversation out on a bridge. Everyone has just left Harry behind to go to Hogsmeade and he wanders around finding Lupin. They have a touching moment talking about Harry’s mother and father. It’s a beautiful scene in the movie. What I like the most about it though is seeing these two isolated souls existing next to each other. Lupin always seems a little off kilter, someone that people chastise and make fun of for his appearance, and Harry is constantly feeling left behind or alone.
It’s only in this moment of isolation that the two of them find a mutual understanding about life. They can relate in this moment because there is no one else around them. There is quiet. There is a moment for them to come together without the hustle of school and friends. In the movie they are alone on this bridge looking out over the Hogwarts campus. In the book they are alone in Lupin’s office.
When I was in Italy and on a social media break I found myself feeling a little isolated from the world at times. Everyone around me (every time we had internet) would whip their phones out and start texting, facebooking, Instagramming the day’s photos or snapchatting. There was little room for conversation in these moments, but when we didn’t have the internet (and no one really had any data) we were able to sit and connect. There’s beauty in those moments when you feel isolated from the world. When we are most isolated, cut off from out normal lives and we see other souls in the same condition, we gravitate towards them and share our isolation with them. Some of the best friendships I have ever made are with those who feel isolated on the outside of the inside social groups.
Isolation gives you room to think, to breathe, to approach life apart from the status quo. Taking a social media detox helped my brain rest and reflect on the world around me. It gave me an opportunity to talk to people i would normally not talk to and appreciate the beauty of the world around me. For Harry and Lupin, this moment of isolation brought them together and gave Lupin a chance to answer Harry’s questions.
So, as the summer jobs reach their peaks and summer fun takes over social media, try and find times, small moments in the day to isolate yourself and check in. How are things going? How do you feel about the world? Your job? Your friends? Your life? Are there any unanswered questions you have lingering in your mind? let your mind wander and see where it goes. You may find out things about yourself that you didn’t know.
Until Next Time,