Alright people. I’m gonna give it to you straight.
I have not been writing regularly and there are likely many reasons for that. But, I discovered one in particular lately, and I feel the need to share.
Back story: My 9-year-old challenged me to take a 24-hour break from social media. After much experimentation, we severely limit his access to all types of screens, and he’s reached the ripe old age of being able to point out blatant hypocrisy, so yeaaaaahhh. I said OK.
We decided on 7:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and I don’t recall why. My husband thought this was cheating since I was not removing myself for an entire news cycle (or something like that), but whatever. Lessons were learned and that’s all that matters.
Lesson #1: I don’t even know I’m doing it.
I was checking Facebook and Instagram on a completely unconscious basis. Within the first few HOURS of my social media break, I found myself on my phone to do something (check email, send a text—both still allowed) and I’d suddenly be reading a status update. Hello? What the heck? The first time, I shut the app really fast and rode the waves of shock and shame. The second time, I moved the icons to a separate section SO I COULD NOT SEE THEM. Because apparently, I was not at all in charge of my own behavior—such bad modeling.
Lesson #2: It’s severely limiting my creativity.
The day I was off Facebook was a Sunday. Right away I noticed that I had some stretches of time where I was just alone with my thoughts. I was like, “OH YEAH, this what it feels like to have space to think!” I had been limiting my ability to ponder and reflect. To chew on an idea. You know all that stuff that makes one a decent writer. Arrghhh.
Lesson #3: Comparison is the thief of joy.
Not long after my little experiment, I saw this gem come through my IG feed. I am honestly all for people showing the best parts of their lives on social media. I love cheering on my friends and watching others succeed. But I’d be lying if I said I never took an emotional hit from seeing someone’s particularly warm and sunny vacation on a sub-zero Maine day. Or a photo of BFFs when I’m feeling lovely, or whatever it is that day. NOT TO MENTION that the updates on the state of the world can tend to be a little overwhelming and terrifying these days. Those can steal my joy and ramp up my anxiety too.
Lesson #4: It’s severely limiting my productivity/time connecting with others/sleep.
If I am scrolling, scrolling, scrolling all non-working hours of the day and night, that is time I am not doing something else. Something else like reading a book. Or having a conversation with my spouse. Or playing a board game. Or calling a friend to actually talk in person. Or getting to bed at a decent hour. Or writing a damn blog post! This is not good for me. It’s not good for my marriage. It’s not good for my friendships (even though it does “keep me connected” to far-away peeps). But most of all it is NOT GOOD for my relationship with my child OR my parenting. The endless stream of information is distracting AF, and when I am looking at it I am straight up NOT PAYING ATTENTION. I’m also, quite frankly, setting a terrible example.
In closing, I am setting up much tighter restrictions on my social media time and aiming to bring myself back to the present moment (again, and again, and again). So….