If you go to UW-Eau Claire you’re probably familiar with Mount Simon’s tall rock formation, Top of the World. The formation overlooks a large portion of the city and is surrounded by rocky scenery that nature lovers like my sophomore year geology professor oogle over.
It really is as beautiful as it sounds, unless the peaceful view is obstructed by people taking selfies behind you and complaining about the less than ideal cell service.
This happened to my roommate Brianna and myself last Saturday afternoon. I rolled out of bed determined to make something of the day so I persuaded her to get coffee and trek up Mount Simon with me.
Aside from how winded both of us were when we reached the top, it was disheartening to see groups of people crowded atop the rock only to pose with their boyfriend or girlfriend, post a picture and walk back down.
Once everyone else made their way to the bottom, Bri and I walked up to the peak and sat near the edge, sipping coffee and catching up. I didn’t notice until Bri opened up a text a while later that I hadn’t looked at my phone once since being there.
At this point, it’s become a relief to not have social media. I don’t feel pressured to capture my experiences and share them with society not just because I can’t, but also because I don’t want to.
As we looked out over Eau Claire and talked about how weird it feels to be approaching the latter part of our college years, I felt better than I had in a long time.
Maybe it was the heavy dose of fresh air and the change in scenery, but for the hour or so we spent sitting on that rock without any digital distractions, I noticed how little I do things like this.
I still spend a significant amount of time each day with my phone and laptop and it gets exhausting to keep up. Whether it be reading emails, skimming the news, checking Facebook or sending texts, my digital life consumes me, some of it good and some of it bad.
This wasn’t a new discovery, I understood this even before promising myself I would go social media free for an entire semester, but that day I felt a weird compulsion to just throw my phone off the rock for good (jokes). But really, I wondered why we’re so obsessed with these little devices that we let dictate our lives.
My mini-adventure that afternoon was just as real (if not more) even though I didn’t share a picture of it with everyone else. I didn’t feel the need to justify the much-needed quality time with my roommate via likes and it felt liberating.
I still watched more than a handful of guys and gals pose for the perfect selfie and kiss their significant other for the camera and it made me seriously contemplate whether or not we’re capable of having experiences and adventures without publically sharing them and tainting them with society’s approval or disapproval.
Did I even visit Top of the World if I didn’t Instagram it? That’s for you to decide.