7 thoughts in 7 days off social media

It has been 7 days since I logged off Facebook and Instagram for a while. I’ve had lots of thoughts in that time (like “how can I get someone to find the boy Leila likes on Instagram and see if he has ever posted any shirtless pics without sounding like a sociopath?”). But here are 7 less crazy thoughts about being off social media that are probably worth sharing.

1)  Ignorance may not be bliss, but it’s a ceasefire.

I may not know which celebrity did what or died, or what the latest outrage perpetrated by [insert entity here] is, or where you got to go/do that I didn’t, but in the quiet space left by the absence of media chatter and the resulting cognitive dissonance, there is some peace.  I like it. It gives me time to regroup and ration my ****s. I can’t be just giving them out all willy-nilly. Because, inflation.

2)  One-eyed morning-scrolling keeps you from waking up. #staywoke

For the last 7 days, I’ve gotten up within 10 minutes of waking up. I reach for the phone, check the weather, do a quick check of work email, and get up. There’s nothing else to “check” except myself, and I can do that in the bathroom. Not that I physically check myself.  I just check in to the day. Wake up to my life. There will be enough crazy populating it soon enough without me clicking and scrolling and bookmarking any extra. Bandwidth matters.

3)  It’s okay to be bored sometimes.

There was an article posted recently in Atlantic Monthly about the benefits of boredom. According to fancy scientific studies, it sparks creativity. I’d like to think that the few moments of boredom I’ve experienced in the last few days spurred some ingenuity, but I can’t be sure. There’s this (and another post I’m working on about a word I made up), so that’s something.

4)  If you take a picture of a tree falling in the forest, and you don’t post it, is your reality sound?

Yes.

It still happened. And if I’m honest, I took the picture so that I can look at it, which I can still do. I don’t need anybody to “like” it, because I do. We like “likes” though, don’t we? It’s validating. “Yes, you/your food/your kid/your dog/that thing you’re doing/your Pinterest projects are interesting.”  You exist. There. Done.

Just to clarify…I did not take a picture of a tree falling in a forest. But here’s one in case nobody has posted it recently. (picture courtesy of usda.gov)

Tree falling

 

5)  You’ll have more to say if you say less.

Need I say more?

6)  There’s more than one way to skin a cat, but that’s dumb.

Idiomatically speaking, to skin a cat = achieve your goals. I’d like to think my goals in using social media were to stay connected to people, stay abreast of what’s going on in the world, to be entertained and to entertain. But, if I’m being real with myself, a lot of it was about passing the time or procrastinating. But there are other ways to do those things. It’s possible to connect through good old-fashioned conversation, an activity I engaged in during a mandated team-building time mid-week. In spite of my social awkwardness, it was refreshing. Staying informed isn’t hard to do either, and it’s easier to manage if updates aren’t speeding past you like ticker tape. I still get news notifications, but I feel less compelled to click on all of them. (See thought #1). As for passing the time and procrastination, *shrugs*, I’m trying to quit.

Strictly speaking, skinning cats is not a good use of time. It’s also gross.

7)  You have more time than you think, and it’s better than it seems.

There never seems to be enough time. Just 24 hours. But when I add back the time spent posting pictures of falling trees, one-eyed morning scrolling and skinning cats, there’s more of it. I’m estimating about 1-3 hours a day. I can fill those hours with reading or writing or playing check-up with Maya. Or with nothing. It makes me appreciate the other hours, too. Gratitude is never a waste of time. It draws out the moments around it. It creates time. Try it. Take a few moments to list the problems you DON’T have, the people you do have, and the good in you.

See?  More time.

There is enough.

So the hiatus continues.

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Since I’m not on social media right now, I’m relying on readers to post this on theirs. Otherwise, this is a metaphorical tree falling in a digital forest. Alternatively (or additionally), you could comment here. Mama needs a fix.

 

-FHB

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Making Space or Whatever

I decided, rather abruptly, to take a break from social media. No Facebook. No Instagram. Haven’t tweeted in years, and only snapped like once, so no change there. I wish there was a deep reason. Something about transcendentalism or enlightenment or minimalism or mindfulness. But I can’t make such bold claims.

Really, I think it’s about clearing some space in my life for…you know… living. Tamping down my addictive nature. I really haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about “desired outcomes”. I leave that for my day job. All I know is that, for me, there is more of an illusion of connectedness than I wanted to admit to.  Social media can make you feel like you know people, that they see you. It was getting to be too much of a crutch.  This thing, posting and scrolling, reading and tapping, started to feel rote. I don’t know.

I guess what I’m saying is that there wasn’t really a big plan for this disconnection, or even a definite time frame. I’m assuming that I’ll know when it’s time for this to be over just like I knew it was time to start.

In fact, I wasn’t going to blog the process. So many others already have, like Blogger who quit social media. Besides, what do I have to add to the conversation?

Randomness and honesty.

That’s what you’re here for, right?

We’ll see how that goes.

Today’s Highlights

I wore a bright blue pleated skirt that my grandmother made for me. Every time I felt surrounded by crazy, I remembered that I was literally wrapped in love.

Me,: “Maya, do you wanna do some school work?”

Maya: “Ummm… Not yet.”