This week marked the penultimate nail in my social media ‘coffin’. I’ve been entrenched in a negative mindset for the last few weeks, for a number of reasons, and feeling inflammatory, I posted a negative tweet about urban twitching on my personal twitter account. This led to a few people challenging my views, perhaps rightfully so, but one of them said I was negative and narrow-minded. I concede that I was being negative and make no bones that when I’m ‘on one’ negatively, then negative I certainly am. However, I took great offence at being called narrow-minded. I’ve built Bird Therapy on inclusion and my career has been built on inclusion.
So anyway, I decided to deactivate that account too and disconnect for a bit. I reflected on being a parent and the changes that’s brought to my perspective on life in general. I don’t need the gratification anymore – I certainly don’t want my daughter to grow up and see the kind of negativity that surrounds having an opinion, or the personal comments that transpire on the internet. I feel, that it’s a good time to return to the ‘real world’ and focus on what really matters – family and work.
The first day was weird. I kept impulsively, well compulsively, getting my phone out of my pocket and clicking on the now non-existent app icon. Then I found myself getting this weird urge, like a pulse in my head, a feeling that I should check it somehow. But that’s gone today, leaving behind an air of serenity around everything.
It’s weird but wonderful, not having all the latest bird sightings just one-click away. It peels away a layer of birdwatching that I’ve explored in the book, allowing you to feel more attuned to nature and it’s rhythms. By that, I mean it’s just me and those rhythms, not a rhythm of updates sent out from other people, that I then try to live out in my own experiences. I only have Instagram left now and in all fairness, the crap-level is almost zero, as generally, it’s just lots of pretty pictures and not opinions!
I stood in the garden today, hanging the washing out and allowed my senses to absorb my surroundings. The microcosmic world of our back garden, opened out around me, free. It was warm today and the sun felt smooth on the skin of my arms – bringing back memories of our scorched-earth summer. A Chaffinch flew over, uttering the classic ‘pink’ call of a lone bird, heading to the verdant tree cover of the cemetery.
Starlings and Sparrows sputtered and whirred from the tiles and gutters of the houses behind me. A distant Buzzard mewed, somewhere over the sewage works and sheltered stream-course. Local wonders and little pleasures. The things I’d forgotten in my ongoing battle against my addictive personality. How uncluttered and fluid I feel now though, with focus and realisation of what really matters. It’s my WeBS count tomorrow, and I know that there’ll be a smattering if wildfowl and if I’m lucky, a Kingfisher. But do I really care? Not at all. It’ll be like returning to a safe haven again. As the poet William Henry Davies asked; “what is this life, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?” I’ve just rediscovered that time.