Yesterday was the 1st of May. In Romania, like in other parts of the world as well, 1st of May is the International Workers’ Day and it’s thus a legal day off. For a reason I can’t explain, as it was mostly irrational, this day is one of my favourite days of the year. I like Christmas and New Year celebrations, Easter and various name days, but if I were to rank them, this day comes right before Christmas and the New Year [so second].
I started to celebrate it in the 10th grade, in 2006. I was 16 then and I took a hike with three friends [one of them is my good friend Adriana]. We had fun, spent time in nature, went all the way up to the top of the mountain and spent time in snow; it was full of songs, laughter and good times. I caught a cold right after it and despite this I made a promise to myself to always go somewhere on 1st of May. I had some doubts about implementing it strictly, but I convinced myself it’s possible. Somehow, always stopped after four years, as the last time in a row I did something fun was the 1st of May of 2009.
Yesterday I went on Instagram after a break which lasted for a couple of days. My feed [is it called feed?] was filled with pictures from the seaside from previous years.
This made me want to post pictures from my own adventures from 1st of May spent at the seaside. It was peer pressure at it finest and it was the most intense one I’ve felt in a very, very long time. I had even started to search for pictures from previous 1st of May trips, but I was unsuccessful. Mostly because I never went at the seaside on May 1st.
With nothing to share, I started to think about 1st of May and how I stopped the adventure, what it still means to me and what social media has to do with this all.
And, basically, I made three decisions as a result:
 I deleted all social media apps from my phone at least for the next month [by which I mean Instagram and Twitter; is YouTube really social media?- regardless, it’s not deleted, but it’s limited to non-stupidities; Facebook is not an issue as I enjoy it enough to keep myself away without any effort and I don’t really use other platforms];
 if the lockdown ends and we’ll be healthy and thriving, I will go to the seaside on a 1st of May;
 I will resume my 1st of May adventures, even if they imply biking for the day, given no pandemic or sickness are in my way.
I feel I should explain my decisions a little bit. I know I don’t have to, but I really want to.
 quit social media for a while:
My need to post something to get validation scared me. I refuse to live like this. I refuse to let other people tell me what to do offline [meaning when I know them], so I am not willing to let the online [meaning people I don’t know that well or at all] influence how I behave offline. My solution to this is to bail.
I problem is that I like social media. I feel the joy of instant gratification, of keeping in touch with people, of posting content and of being entertained. But I also feel the downsides of it as well: less able to focus for longer periods of time, upset because my privileged life is not perfect because I am missing I don’t know what objects which bore me in two weeks after I get them, stuck in comparing my life with that of other people I don’t know offline and, the worst one of all, prone to social media marketing advertising [I mean really, you know that some of the benefits mentioned by influencers can be obtained without their code, right?].
My work life, and also my life in general, imply the necessity to be present and focused for more than a couple of hours on a row. I read and write and research and in other to get to the bottom of it, I need to be engaged in profound thinking.
Sorry about it, but it’s what it is: profound thinking can’t be done while checking social media every other hour. It just doesn’t work that way. At least not for me and I am pretty sure for others doesn’t as well.
But, you know, it’s one thing to want to relax a little and watch something meaningless online and quite another to feel inadequate or not good enough after you watch something that’s supposed to be meaningless and relaxing. I interact with enough smart articles, books and people to feel I need to be more, I don’t need social media for it. And there is a crucial difference between the two: the smart articles, books and people actually get to teach us something worthwhile, which social media hardly ever does.
 spend one 1st of May at the seaside:
If many people do something, it stops appealing to me. I never went at the seaside because I believed it was overrated. But I realised now that I do want to experience it. I know this pandemic is not the best thing we are experiencing, but I can’t help but noticing how much I learn about myself because of it. Due to the lockdown and its limits, I am more able to observe what I really want and to be more certain when making a choice. Which I find to be a positive outcome in a really unfortunate situation.
 resume celebrating 1st of May.
I’d lie if I wrote I don’t know why I stopped celebrating 1st of May. Life happened. I was planning for an event. I needed to write my bachelor thesis. I had to work. I had another vacation planned in the near future. I just had no energy to invest in travelling to a place. I lost my appetite for adventure. So, I gave it up. I felt a bit sad on 1st of May and I wished I were celebrating, but it went away the next day. And with nobody else to keep me accountable, I didn’t keep myself accountable.
And this realisation is what hit me hardest. It’s not the need to post pretty pictures online, it’s not the need to connect with friends, it’s not the need to travel to various places, but it’s the need to respect what is important to me. And yes, 1st of May is important to me.
It’s essential that I do take time for myself to go somewhere and just be present and grateful for enjoying the present. Which is what 1st of May means to me. One day per year in which I do something worth remembering, documenting and writing about. Why not keeping the tradition alive?
Make the day count!