From Friday night to Saturday night, I turned off my phone. I called my mother first, to assure her that i was ok (she has a habit of jumping to the worst conclusions if she can’t get ahold of me…I have inherited this) and then I just…turned it off.
I didn’t look at Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or Pinterest. I didn’t text or call or Snapchat. And yes, I get it, #firstworldproblems. But it was hard. And weird. It was the first time in forever (cue that song from Frozen) that I’d been completely disconnected from everyone. And, aside from my fear that something horrible might happen to someone and they wouldn’t be able to get ahold of me (I told you, I inherited it from mom) it was actually really nice.
When I spoke to people, I gave them my full attention. I didn’t mindlessly scroll through a Facebook feed I’d already scrolled through several times. I didn’t take silly useless snapchats and send them to my friends. The sun set on Friday and it was really pretty, and I didn’t take a picture of it. I watched an episode of Scandal (I was unplugged, but I allowed myself some tv–I mean, it was Scandal, you guys!) and I recognized the actor but couldn’t place him and I couldn’t load up IMDB but it didn’t really matter. My bulldog looked adorable a lot, but I didn’t Instagram and filter his cute grumpy face and share it. A song came on the radio while I washed dishes and I didn’t know the name, but I still sung along.
And I was ok. I still enjoyed the sunset. Elton and I snuggled and actually watched a show–I didn’t play some brainless game on my phone the whole time. I read my book and did some chores. I worked at the library, I visited my parents, I walked the dog. And I did it alone, without anyone else to share it with.
It was peaceful. I felt no pressure to keep up or to prove myself. Of course it’s a self imposed pressure, no one actually cares if you don’t post a photo of how much fun you’re having, and sometimes it’s more proof of fun when you don’t have time to stop and take pictures, and all that being said, why must there be any proof? There’s no need.
When I turned my phone on, I wondered for a minute if I would be disappointed. What if no one noticed I’d been missing? But text messages rolled in, alerts popped up, people wanted to talk to me still, it wasn’t just all in my head.
And I had missed it. I missed sending things to my husband and my friends. I missed knowing what was going on with them. I wondered all day about how my husbands day was going. I wondered if my friend had put up new pictures of her baby, if anyone would join us to go out that evening, if my parents were actually home for me to visit (they were, and were happy when I just showed up out of the blue).
As I reflect on the unplugged experience, I think what I discovered was that I need to impose more balance on my life. I don’t want to leave the social sharing world, I enjoy it too much. I love my family and my friends, I love seeing their pictures and sending them mine, I love our jokes and our plans and how there’s always someone who can relate to whatever I need them to relate to. But as with all things, moderation is the key. That empty repeated scrolling through Facebook has got to go. But snapchats to my best friends to complain about a slow day or a terrible patron? I need those. And I like my pictures. They preserve memories of happy things and happy times, whether they’re with my pals or my pets or my books.
I’m going to do this: every time I’m about to click on Facebook to scroll through for the nth time in a day, I’m going to pick up my book instead. Minutes better spent, for sure. And who couldn’t use a few extra minutes of reading squeezed into their day?
How about you, dear readers? What’s your favorite aspect of social media? What could you/should you do without? Will you join me in spending more time reading books instead of rereading Facebook?
Editor’s note: My husband came home and pointed out that I wrote “waked the dog” instead of “walked the dog”, and also that he worried my post came off as preachy. I hope that’s not true. But just in case, here’s me admitting that my hope to curb my addiction to Facebook in no way means I think anyone else’s Facebook habits needs fixing. You’re all wonderful, beautiful, amazing readers, and without Facebook, how would you even know I was writing this? ❤