Everywhere but Nowhere

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My body doesn’t feel like mine anymore. It feels like somebody else step up and take the steering wheel, while I’m moving back as a passenger. It moved automatically to everywhere I need to go, it even expresses emotions at the right time. But it’s not me.

Have you felt so tired before that you barely have energy for anything else? You want to do productive things, but your brain just locked you out and gave the steering wheel to a robot. It’s just like you cannot enter the cockpit because you haven’t topped up your membership card. And once you purchase a top-up (by resting and filling your energy bar) your brain will open the captain seat again for you.

I noticed the robot taking control a few times especially when I’m tired or lack focus. But, it also feels weird to sit back and watch your body do things, just like a third-person view in a game. There are no specific symptoms, when it happened I just felt like slowly moving back – to the passenger seat.

Some say the robot is useful, so you can take a break and don’t have to deal with mundane things. Like while you’re driving. The robot knows exactly which route to take you home, and keeps you from crashing into another vehicle. Or choosing what to eat for a 15 mins lunch. You don’t have to make the decision, the robot can make it for you. It even eats your food for you.

But can we really trust the robot? Is it okay to let it have rein?

The human brain is astonishing. The autopilot robot will take control once we are tired, or stressed. So, it is the first sign that you need a break, or maybe you are in a stressful condition. The important thing is to be aware when the robot shows up. I am aware that I have overworked this month, so whenever the robot knocks, I give it a high five and the key to the driver seat. I will use the short amount of time to refill my energy.

Don’t let the robot drive for too long. Set the time and press the brakes, so it will give control back to you. If you let it drive for too long, you may experience depersonalisation. DPD or depersonalisation disorder is a feeling of detachment, or you live your life on autopilot. You feel observing your life through a film, your awareness and your bodies have separated. DPD can also be caused by trauma. In the extreme, you won’t recognise your own body or even your own face. You will be devoid of emotions, either good or bad. And unsurprisingly, DPD is a common psychiatric condition in the world.

How to stop the robot?

Like I said earlier, awareness is the first step. Journaling or writing down which decisions that you made yourself, and which one the robot made for you? Do you remember what you had for breakfast? Or the street view on your way to the office? The robot tends to take over your life if it is full of mundane routines. Try and change some activities now and then.

Next, press pause. Ask yourself what do you want from life? Are you happy? Are you stressed right now? Ask those big life questions, write them down and ponder over them. Go a long walk to think of the answers, or over a cup of hot chocolate. Building awareness and reflecting will need some time, and it’s okay.

Embracing the moments when we’re truly present can provide a counterbalance to the times we feel like passengers in our own lives. It’s about cultivating mindfulness and engaging deeply with the world around us. One effective strategy is to introduce mindfulness practices into your daily routine. This could be as simple as taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breathing, to observe your thoughts without judgment. Or to engage in mindful eating, where you pay close attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of your food. These practices can help ground you in the present moment, making it harder for the ‘robot’ to take over.

Another approach is to seek out new experiences that challenge you and require your full attention. Whether it’s learning a new skill, exploring a new place, or simply changing your route to work. New experiences can disrupt the autopilot mode and bring a fresh sense of awareness and excitement to your life. These moments remind us of the joy of living fully and can help us reclaim the steering wheel from the ‘robot’.

Lastly, by fostering connections with others can also play a crucial role in staying engaged with life. Sharing experiences, emotions, and stories with friends, family, or even strangers can awaken a sense of empathy and connection that is impossible to achieve when we’re on autopilot. Engaging in meaningful conversations, offering help, or simply sharing a laugh can anchor us in the present moment.

By integrating these practices into our lives, we can find a balance between utilising our internal ‘robot’ for efficiency and nurturing our true selves for a richer, more meaningful experience. It is about recognising the value of both and knowing when to take a step back to recharge, reflect, and, most importantly, to take control back and live intentionally.

The robot can get you everywhere but also nowhere at the same time. Remember, we still need the robot for quick and mundane decisions, but don’t let it make a life-changing decision making for you.

Author: Mia

A writer and researcher who also a tech-addict and internet-junkie. Loves quirky stuff.

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