For my fellow addict,
Turns off 5AM alarm. Checks Instagram.
Gets out of shower. Checks Facebook.
Puts tea on kettle. Checks Instagram.
Sits at red light.
Checks Facebook Would never because it’s illegal.
Closes out all apps.
Responds to text message.
10 seconds go by…
Opens Instagram. (*face palm)
My name is Becca. I have a problem.
Oh, friend. I hope you are kind of like me. And if you’re not, humor me for this post so I don’t feel like a psychotic Cookie Monster of Instagram photos.
After reading that entry of a day in my life, it’s clear that I have a problem. I feel like I need one of those tourist shirts that people get in the Bahamas. Only mine needs to say, “I fell off the face of the social media Earth for 30 days & all I have to show for it is this blog post.” Well…this, and one really good picture of the snow. I’m convinced that if I posted it on Insta two weeks ago, it might have gone viral. Sorry, world.
Anyways, I’m here to share my big takeaways from going without social media for 30 days. Maybe it will be the push you need to abandon ship or stay aboard. Either way, I hope it gives insight into the addiction vortex that social media has on suckers like me.
Biggest Myths on Life Without Social Media
“You have time for so much more.” False. You only have more time if you intentionally fill the time with valuable activities. Unlike me. I was off social, but the times I wanted to scroll, I would read fluff to fill my head with sweet nothings that were entertaining, i.e., Cosmo, People, Better Homes and Gardens. (Guys, my knock-off Martha Stewart homemade Valentine’s Day cookies were adorable…).
“It’s harder to keep up with people without social media.” SO false. If you’re truly friends with someone, social media will make no difference to the depth of your relationship. Sure, I might not have known you worked out at 5am yesterday or had a fancy dinner with your fiancé in the evening. But when I call you on the way home or shoot you a text about that work thing you had yesterday, it’s pretty easy to get caught up.
“Did you even read a book if you didn’t post that you did?” Ask me on day 12, and I might have said no. Ask me now, and my answer is 100% yes. People, it actually is possible to fully and completely enjoy a moment without anyone else knowing it happened. In fact, some of the moments I’ve had in the last 30 days are the fondest memories I’ve made all year. I just need to write them down so I don’t forget them. (You know, because there are no Insta archives in the human brain).
When to Post and When to Not
When I left social media and felt the desire to click the apps, I started asking myself, “Why do you want to post?” I took note of those feelings for one month. Interestingly enough, there were only TWO reasons I ever felt the need to post:
- I want to post to prove myself.
- I want to post so that I can remember a small moment.
Posting to Prove
Social media has the ability to make a person go from tranquil to toxic in like three seconds. One moment you’re looking at cute pictures of corgis and the next you’re hating yourself for not measuring up to the girl with 100K followers. This is when the toxic thoughts begin to creep in, and discontentment settles its ugly self comfortably in my soul.
So, in my discontentment and feelings of inadequacy, I post to prove. Rather than cheering 100K girl on, I push myself down.
“You should look more like that.”
“You’re older than her and have done less with your life. You’re behind.”
“Your marriage should look more like theirs.”
Now entering: The Humble Brag.
It’s usually what comes after these toxic thoughts. I have realized more than ever these last 30 days how social media has made it simple to brag without blatantly bragging.
This trick is a classic on many social media accounts, including my own. Once I’ve pushed myself down enough from comparing myself to 100K girl, I pull a classic “Here’s this cute picture of my cat . . . (But do you see my nice dining room table in the background?).”
Or the “Here’s a video of me and my friends who I love so much. (But do you see my perfect new outfit?)”
I post to prove.
Posting to Remember
We live in a time where it’s fun to record dumb, tiny moments that seem ridiculous. For instance, my fingers can’t resist clicking my Insta story when my husband begins boxing up my leftovers at a Mexican restaurant.
Does the world care about Ben putting cold food in a styrofoam box? Not. At. All.
Why do I feel the need to post it? Because it’s fun. It’s fun to remember the small moments in a day. And sometimes, I go back and glaze over old memories on my iPhone. My thumb easily slides through photo after photo, many of them big memories of birthdays and anniversaries.
But for some reason, my thumb always stops on a seven second video of Ben boxing up my chicken. And he isn’t doing anything amazing. And no words are spoken. And it’s really nothing to see. But in seven seconds, my bucket is once again filled with love for the person who boxes up my leftovers every time we go out.
I find myself watching it over and over again. That small thing he does for me isn’t so small anymore. I remember it, because I documented it. Social media makes ordinary moments unordinary.
So for you, fellow addict, I write all of this to say that the break is worth the break.
It will help you find other ways to wake yourself up in the morning, and it will make you the most diligent email-checker in the world.
Most importantly, it will remind you that someone who boxes up your leftovers is always worth posting about.