Wow, what a busy little hiatus this has been. It started out unintentionally but then morphed into something very needed. I'm beginning to think that certain types of people need more breaks from the internet world - including social media - than others. Not a good or bad or judgement thing, it just is a difference of personality. I tend to hit a hard wall when it comes to the electronics and the information glut until I'm either laying fetal in the corner or cursing everything.
What have I been doing?
Well, I guess I've been Be-Ing.
I know, I said it has been busy. But be-ing does take some effort and energy! Like the little duck paddling on the pond. Gliding so smoothly over the water with legs paddling furiously underneath.
If you struggle with comparison or feeling like you "shoulda, woulda, coulda," then time away from social media and blogs can be very positive.
If you struggle with FOMO (fear of missing out), then time away from Instagram, Twitter, Facebook (especially Facebook) can be the healthiest move you could make.
If you struggle with the sadness and hate in the world and feel burdened by it, a rationed exposure to the news and the trolls that follow the news is probably a good idea.
If you find that you can't keep your attention focused on a really good book or someone's longer-than-usual conversation, clicking off the screen and closing the laptop cover is a step in taking back your mind.
Can I say, the best thing I ever did for my social health was deleting the Facebook app completely off my phone. It is the most wonderful feeling, and now when I get on every week or so, I find that I have missed nothing. Because if something was so super important that I just HAD to know, I can count on my close friends or family to share it with me. That's freeing!
There are so many posts circulating the viral circus that talk about device addiction and short attention spans and mindfulness and yes, I guess you could consider this post something like that. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of it, because drop another something into the "social media" slot (romance novels, food, skydiving, shark wrestling) and it can all become a crutch or a stumbling block to a richer, deeper life if boundaries aren't set - just as we do our best to set boundaries for our real flesh-and-blood lives.
It is never a bad thing to take a step back and do an inventory of attitudes, habits, the truths and lies we tell ourselves and the state of our relationships. I have to live with me, and so does my family, friends, and neighbors. Can I look the person that I am full on the face and say to her that she's worth something and that she matters right here, right now, with nothing else "going on?" Including posting on Instagram? Can I say I'm loving my family and friends and those around me in the best way that I can?
The flippant answer is Yes, of course! But the deeper answer for me personally is: I hope I do. I want to. Can I? What do I need to do? I'm listening.
What comes of asking these questions? In my experience, it's been rich. New horizons open up and passions that were buried for a while begin to bubble to the surface. That mostly happens when I'm quiet, so I'm learning to practice being silent. But also trying to be a better listener. Journaling on real paper. Finding ways to show my loved ones that they are meaningful to me without automatically posting it all over social media. Telling people, "Happy Birthday!" in person. Barbecuing and picnicking and laughing with friends and no one online even knowing about it.
Eventually you stop thinking in Facebook status updates and 140 character tweets. You stop captioning Instagram posts in your mind while snapping a picture and just think, "hey, that's a cute picture. I should frame it in a REAL FRAME."
You get your SELF back, and you sit with her and give her some love, and ask her, "what do you like to do? What makes you come alive?"
To the big people and children around you, there are more hugs. More laughs. More connection. More practice at the selflessness that can be so hard. It's easier to catch a ball with two free hands. That food is better piping hot than cold because the picture angle wasn't quite right.
All of it is good. For me. Possibly even for you, I don't know.
Again, it's not an indictment of all devices everywhere...don't get me wrong.
Actually, go ahead and get me wrong. It's really OK.
For me, the timing was right, and this is where I'm at.
Maybe there's something heavy nagging at you to be released, too?
Also....on a practical level...my computer broke.