I’m giving up Social Media. After a good and maybe not so good 10 years or more of posting, scrolling, skimming, perusing, liking, and commenting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I’m done. I’ll leave my accounts up for the purpose of contacting people. Otherwise, I’m putting my phone down.
I’ve only had a cell phone for five years. I remember the days when I left the house and the now antiquated payphone was my only means of communication. I always liked being unreachable, which is why I resisted getting a cell phone. Every day, I free floated through a beautiful, bustling collage of sights, sounds, and smells with all my senses firing. It’s a rich world we live in. It’s too bad we’re so often tuned out.
I’m sad to say, I’ve lived much of my life in front of a screen of one size or another. I had a TV watching schedule as a kid and I was always the first one up for Saturday morning cartoons, so beguiling was that flickering box. Movies quickly captured my imagination with their grand scale and epic storytelling and I’m still entranced to this day. My eyes should be screens themselves–big, empty, glassy–for all the time I’ve spent gazing stupidly at screens. It’s a wonder my mouth isn’t stuck in a permanent “duh”. It’s a proven thing that watching passively doesn’t utilize a mind. When we talk about vegging out in front of the television, we’re correct. We’re effectively turning our brains into cauliflower. How much of my life have I spent looking at a screen, at moving pictures of people I don’t know, people having fun living their lives pretending to be someone else while I watch them? At least, social media tends to demand more engagement, but we’ve still shortened our attention spans, snacking on tantalizing bits and bites, skimming rather than studying. The internet, for all its goodness, has its shadow side.
Is social media all that bad? No. It’s a good way for families spread out geographically to keep in touch with each other. One can reconnect with old friends. Some people find love. Churches and clubs keep their members apprised of what’s happening. I met some friendly, interesting, creative, talented, funny and fun, wonderful people on these sites. It was a social thing for me, but, unfortunately, I had trouble limiting my usage. I went from being a consumer to being consumed. Will I miss out? I was missing out. On my life. The endless hours I dedicated to scrolling through and liking stranger’s images on Instagram in the last three years, which had little to do with being social, took me away from not only my loved ones and friends, but something I was passionate about, my writing. The cost was too high.
This move goes against the advice of blogging gurus. Create and religiously maintain an online presence, they say. Spread yourself over as many social media platforms as you can, they say. Get your name, your face, your brand out there, they say. Who has time to do all of this and still live in the real world?! I’m here to creatively share my story, not to amass followers or build a career. From a girl, I’ve been an avid reader of memoirs and autobiographies. I’m grateful to everyone of those authors for being brave enough to put their experience down on paper. I’ve gained so much insight, inspiration, encouragement, and hope and I’m not overstating things when I say that many of their stories changed my life for the good. Spurred on by their powerful example, I add my story to the colorful pile. I’m glad when one person stops by and humbled that anyone would join me on this journey. I welcome you to share your stories with me through the comments and contact page.
In reality, this decision is about time and my dwindling supply of it. When you’re a kid, you don’t give time much thought because your future seems so far away, like in another galaxy. I’m rapidly approaching 53 and my life seems to be speeding up as I’m slowing down. How fair is that? Christmases are coming faster, almost piling up on each other. Two of my children are adults! I have adult children, me, the “She Peter Pan” who never wanted to grow up! I wish I could push pause, but I can’t. What I can do is decide what to do with what time I have left, whether it be today or 20 or thirty years of todays.
Here’s what I’m doing with my new-found time:
I’m drawing near to God. I’m reading his word, talking to him, and listening to him and feeling more centered and grounded than ever before. My faith is growing and I’m experiencing victory in my life where there’ve long been strongholds I once thought were impenetrable. The scales are falling from my eyes and I’m reminded of what is truly important. I’m being imbued with fresh hope and a renewed sense of his divine purpose.
I’m reaching out to family and friends. Social media is isolating, if it keeps us from relating to those around us. I’ve been looking at screens instead of being with people! Messaging someone is such a small part of what it means to be social. I’m not saying that long distance relationships are impossible, but they do lack depth. Video chat is a helpful thing, but I don’t think it can make up for a person’s presence. A screen is a poor substitute for a flesh and blood human being. We’re meant to look people in the eye, to note their face, form, and body language, to hear the tone of their voice and enjoy the sound of their laughter, to touch and hug them, to share a meal, a drink, a walk, a secret. In the past, when there were no screens, people got together to visit, play games, make music, have parties, work on projects, and pray. I’m being convicted. I need way less screen time and way more warm hugs, hikes with friends, intimate convos, and lively parties.
I’m using my brain and my body. I’m being productive, getting things done that I’ve been putting off. I’m tackling bad habits and endeavoring to help more and complain less. I’m growing stronger and exploring new ways of moving. I’m being creative. I’m reading, writing, listening to music, and sorting, deleting, and processing the thousands of images I’ve taken over my time on Instagram. My aim is to become a vibrant, well-rounded, attentive individual, someone who is open to all that life has to offer and all the people God wants to
When you’re lying on your deathbed, who will be there and what will you look back on with fondness? Hopefully, if you’ve given yourself to those you love, your family and friends will be there. They’ll sit by your side and hold your hand and reminisce about all those likes and comments you used to get. Hahahahaha! No, they won’t. If you take control now and live your life by design with passion, they’ll talk about your admirable achievements, your crazy, amazing adventures, your zest and love, and how you made a difference in their lives and that, my friends, is far better than any number of likes.
Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Thanks for giving me some of your precious time. Be blessed!