Collage of Kriste Outdoors

By Kriste Peoples

Hacking Hackers, Hacking Life

Just so we’re clear, this is me. This has always been me.

I have not fallen on a hard surface and suddenly converted to cryptocurrency investing, nor have I asked anyone to contribute to my efforts there. I have also not sent messages asking folks to click on any suspicious links or to do weird favors for me.
In case you missed it, my Instagram account was recently hacked and phishy messages are being sent as a result. I’ve had lots of people reach out to me to let me know, and the upside of it all is that I’ve actually been able to connect with some incredibly caring folks in the process of trying to recover my account. Those same people know me enough to know my character, and it feels good.

What happened to my account – getting hacked and overtaken by spammers and people seeking to take advantage of others – is by no means unique. And what happened to me personally – feeling exposed, violated, powerless – isn’t new either. It happens more often than we know, and the instances are only on the rise, so I won’t even bother Googling how often it happens.

A friend who’s in her sixties shared that phishing scams are so common among seniors, she’s taken to religiously changing and monitoring her passwords on a near daily basis.

When it first happened to me – a week prior to writing this post – I’d already had a few suspicious instances that freaked me out and left me fearing I’d been cut off from my account. What would happen to my following? My reputation? My professional relationships? I lost sleep and spent the time wringing my hands, reaching out to Instagram security, replying to friends and followers, replaying my lapsed judgment and vulnerability.

Once I’d taken all the measures I could to restore my account, and there was nothing more I could do, I decided to do something: I went outside.

I take to the trails in times of stress, frustration, elation, sadness, and whenever else I can. For me, time outside helps me right-size my thinking and replenish my soul. In this case, getting out of range and away from my phone reminded me that so much of the problem wasn’t even real. Not real in the ways that caring people, good health, shelter, love and true connection are real. And the more I ran with that in mind, the less overwhelmed and anxious I felt. It’s not that time in nature fixes everything, but it’s definitely a healer that helps me recognize what matters in the moment, how to reset my focus, and to turn toward what’s good. Even as there might appear to be so little of it around us.

One woman who reached out to ask if it was indeed me DM’ing her to share links and get her on the crypto investing fast track shared that this is the first time we don’t have an older generation to teach us how to live in an increasingly digital age. She talked about how messy and painful the learning process can be. We’ve all got lots of learning ahead, I agreed. I’m also taking this as an opportunity to engage some self-compassion too. It’s important to be kind to ourselves in hard times. Not always easy, but so very necessary.

When and whether I get my Instagram account back remains to be seen. But I’m happy to report that what I have regained is perspective. And based on the last week I’ve had, that’s huge. Whether or not you’ve been inconvenienced by hackers, or by life, I want to remind us all to get some sun and wind on our skin, real-life connection, and more love in our hearts whenever we can. The times demand it.