I am one week into my social media fast. It has been an eye-opening experience. In short, I have been more present in my everyday life. I feel calmer. I do not have that feeling of nagging urgency for no reason. I underestimated the amount of time I was spending on social media, mainly Facebook.
I have spent more time talking to my girls. I have spent more time talking to my parents on the phone. I texted my mother a couple of pictures so she could show off her grandbabies. I took the time to look up articles and topics of my interest instead of spending time reading articles that popped up on my Facebook feed. I made a couple Valentine’s Day crafts with Isabella (7 years old) and spent a considerable amount of time playing on the floor with the baby.
I found myself reaching for my phone many, many times over the last week. I’m really glad that I deleted the apps off my phone or I may have mindlessly opened Facebook without even thinking it through. I never realized how much I do that until there was nothing there to open. It has become very apparent just how addicted to Facebook I had become. However, this has not been difficult. I had all these reasons why it would be so hard to live without social media and so far none of them has been an issue. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.
I’m interested to see how the rest of my 30 days go. I have begun thinking about starting a home project or reading a new book. I’ll update again in a week.
Am I addicted to Facebook? Do I spend too much time mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed? The simple answer is “Yes.” The project of dedicating a year to life takes me by surprise again. I never really thought about the impact that social media was having on my life and family as a whole. While considering what kind of lifestyle I wanted I began thinking about how much time I spend on my phone while at home. I have spent a lot of time thinking about what things in my life are making a positive impact and what is not. Social media in its current capacity is making a negative impact on my daily life with Facebook being my biggest offender.
I think that Facebook (and other social media to a lesser extent) has a place in my life but I think it needs to be a much smaller place. We have family and friends that live far away that it helps us stay up to date with. My work mates use it for group messages to get together and to plan days that we all bring stuff in for birthday parties or meals. Friends and family use it for party invites, especially kids birthdays. Those are the positives. Now here come the negatives. It is a time suck. I think to myself “I’ll just do a quick notification check.” That turns into “I’ll just do a quick scroll of my feed to see how everyone is doing.” The next thing I know I have spent a half hour or more doing nothing. Or on some cases it is worse than nothing. The perfectly edited Facebook feeds that hide reality is not good for any of us. The art of the modest Facebook brag, the mostly useless shares, the whining, the “too perfect” couples, the sad news stories, the fake news, the rants, the political opinions practically screaming back and forth, and the endless memes are all just becoming too much for me. It is so easy to get sucked into that world. I find that it is all a little overwhelming. I am curious to see how this choice impacts my family, my life, and my mental health. I am part of the last generation that actually remembers life before social media took over. I long for the days of phone calls from loved ones and being able to get together with friends without anybody staring at their phones. I miss the times that people were actually social.
I did not delete my accounts or even put a hold on them. I just removed all of it from my phone so that it doesn’t live at my fingertips anymore. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Facebook messenger apps have been deleted from my phone. I have decided to take a 30 day social media fast. I started yesterday. March 13th will be 30 days. I’ll let you know how it goes.
This week we paid off the remainder of my car loan! I am still in shock that I will no longer have to go pay it at the end of the month. We had already paid off two credit cards so far this year too. We just have to keep this momentum going! A big part of our dedicating a year to living project was getting out of debt. I honestly didn’t think we could make such a huge impact so fast. We know that it will be easier to work on our long-term goals and dreams without the debt monkey on our backs. Our long-term goals involve travel and a move to a warmer climate, possibly Florida or Texas. This has been a dream of mine for a few years. Our oldest does not want to move until after she graduates so we are looking at 3 more years. If we continue at this rate we will be in great financial standing by then.
One of our other goals for the year was to spend more time together. We have been spending more time at home lately. That also helped with our goal of paying off debts because we have been spending less. We spent a weekend evening having a taco and game night that turned out to be a ton of fun! We played one of the board games our middle daughter received as a gift so we only spent money on taco supplies. We have had a couple of movie nights this year. They were redbox rentals. We had popcorn and M&Ms for snacks. The whole night cost us less than $10 each time. We had a day outing on one of the girls off days and went to a book store. Each girl picked out one book. This came in under $20 and it encourages reading. The big girls spent the evening reading their books. We have spent some evenings doing crafts with supplies we already had, coloring, cooking together, and playing. We have had a lot of fun spending so much time together. We basically have been doing all those things that we had picked up supplies for and never had the time to do. This year has been all about spending time doing all the things we had been putting off.
I’ll update again soon on where this crazy project leads us next.
We are a month into our project, “Dedicating one year to life.” I am shocked by the difference a month has made. The family has made huge progress toward our goals. The kids are adapting to the changes. We have been trying to make the changes at a slow pace to give us all time to adapt but sometimes I feel like we are on a freight train barreling down the tracks to a completely different life and there is simply no stopping now. Maybe this is a good thing.
I have high-functioning anxiety. I have for as long as I can remember. It got much worse after becoming a parent. It is something I hide and never speak of. I even tried to hide this in the middle of a paragraph with a disclaimer at the beginning when I wrote this. I have gotten very good at avoiding things that make me uncomfortable. I have big dreams and I am honestly afraid to live them. Just admitting this to myself was an issue. Writing this is giving me palpitations. I am trying to be brave. I keep telling myself that I don’t have to hit publish. I could just delete this and nobody will ever know. I know I need to confront my fears. I know that many of them are irrational. I am afraid that if we continue to do this project that I am going to be confronted by some big things. I am more afraid that if I stop now that I am going to be a bitter old lady that let fear ruin her dreams. I have overcome some of my fears over time and it has always been for the best. I have a list of excuses about why I can’t live my dreams that I have been hiding behind. This project is breaking down those hurdles.
I have grown as a person as I spend more time thinking about what I truly want in life and perhaps more importantly, what I don’t. I always read these articles or hear these stories where the people “gave it all up” to travel the world. I will admit that I am down right envious of those folks. I often feel like I “gave it all up” to live the American dream. You know the one. A nice house in the suburbs full of crap that you don’t need. The two cars, two fulltime jobs, kids in a good school kind of life that you didn’t know came with fun add-ons such as debt, stagnation of dreams, an ever-expanding waistline, and boredom.
I have spent a lot of time getting to know what I really want. I have always known that I have some very big dreams. I also always knew that there was no way that I was ever going to do any of them. It was just one of those unspoken things between my husband and I…or so I thought. Because of this project I found out that when my husband said that he would do any of those things with me and he thought that we could do them, he was being…SERIOUS! I had no idea. This information has been a bit of a shock. I took the time to go over all the crazy things I have tucked away for someday. I am planning, truly planning, my five-year plan based on things that I actually want. Our list of things stopping us from living our dreams gets shorter everyday.
I’m still scared but I’m ready.