Think back to life before 2004. There was no Facebook, definitely no Instagram, Pinterest was nary a thought seed and we still used our Nokia cell phones all dressed up with the latest snap cover available at the mall kiosk. Some of us had a MySpace or Xanga and our AIM status was likely a song lyric or pun. If you don’t recall any of this, then you missed out on a fun collection of media. You also will probably think what I am about to share with you is blasphemous in our current social media saturated lives. Sorry, I am not sorry about it, though! For the month of February, I chose to take a social media hiatus.
Yes, I still posted scheduled content, but I did not scroll, reply to comments, see how many likes I had or even re-read my posts. (if there were typos, my apologies) It was honestly embarrassing the first week or so, how many times I reached for my phone. Eventually, though, I didn’t and what I discovered about my time, priorities and myself was so rejuvenating.
Come to think of it, I felt the same freedom and unbridled joy when I studied abroad in college. I had a bare bones, prepaid cell phone for emergencies. It made calls and I could text occasionally. That was all. The concept of only calling someone in an emergency, as opposed to making plans ahead of time and talking in person was so foreign to me at that point, but I was quickly reintroduced to that lifestyle. It was the best three months. In such a short amount of time, I made lasting relationships because they had a foundation and were real, not virtual. I experienced more life, instead of taking pictures, snapping or having my head down in my phone at the bus stop. I noticed the sweet lady who made her grocery run every Thursday on my way home from class.
We miss those precious moments of life when we are so absorbed in our technology and media these days. So, what were the top three takeaways I discovered last month?
- Real life is so much better – duh, right? But seriously! After that first week, I did not miss the screen life. I was noticing things about our home, routine and life that I hadn’t before. As if I was not already obsessed with Ainsleigh, Adam and our life, I have been more so. Let me tell you, I think AJP wants me to go back to not paying attention to some of the other details, ha! I organized things, noticed sweet new habits and moments between the two of them, had more frequent and meaningful conversations with Adam and was so much more present.
- There is more time – Time for me to be creative, read, spend time with people face to face and so much more. I get more done, I feel more rested, I have time for things I enjoy (like reading 2 books in a month!).
- I am more content– another semi-obvious notion, right? Social media absolutely has a place and I am not swearing it off entirely by any means. However, when I constantly scroll and look for the next best thing or what others are doing, I lose sight of who I am and what MY perspective is. Adam and I have had a number of wonderful conversations after my umpteen ‘aha’ moments. I’m rediscovering what makes me truly happy, what I actually like (instead of what media tells me I do) and so much more.
Even though February is the shortest month of the year, I feel like it has been the most full, in the best ways, that I’ve had in a long time. My mind had time to wander. I realized that I have spent far too much time focused on the wrong things. I have been counterproductive when fighting that comparison monster. My eyes are now open to the joy, contentment and life I have been robbing myself of. I have dreamed up a lot of things, independent of any outside input, and I am so fired up to work on them this year!
What would you do if you spent less time on social media? Have you taken a hiatus? What did you discover?