I tossed off a tweet when I was making breakfast the other day:
Advice on leaving (your place of birth, social media platforms, etc.): Make sure you’re running toward something, and not just away from something! ✨
What prompted it was I was cooking breakfast, and reflecting on my move from Atlanta to Los Angeles a few years ago, and then from Los Angeles to New York City. When I told my family about the first move, my dad was curious why, and shared something along those lines. He was nudging for details and trying to understand my mindset – was I hurting? Worn down? Desperate? Or alive, seeking, hopeful? It stuck with me. And luckily the second move was much higher on the “running toward” than the “running away” side of things.
I was also thinking of a certain website that’s been in the news lately for leaning into some of its worst qualities. I’m one of the lucky people with a small, friendly following that generally has a great experience. I see many people who seem increasingly frazzled and broken by theirs, though. I don’t feel it directly, but I can understand it. It’s valid, as all emotions are.
I think the part of the advice above that I love the most is the attitude it implies – positive, constructive, optimistic. Reminds me in a slant way of the current tag line for Alan Jacobs’ blog:
More lighting of candles, less cursing the darkness
I’d always want to leave with a promise of something better, not a curse on the past. I’m open to the idea that Mastodon or Post or Hive or whatever is a better Twitter than Twitter. And I hope if (when?) I leave I’ve got a good vision of what “better” looks like. Eventually every escape will come to rest, and when you look around, it helps to have some standards to measure by.
I see life as like being attacked by a bear. You can run, you can pretend to be dead, or you can make yourself bigger.
I don’t want to wear out my shoes fooling myself. What will make me bigger? It may not be another app. I’ve got time to think it over. I hope you do, too.