My social media fast experience went amazingly well. It made me realize a few things about my life. It has been months and I believe that the impact of this challenge on me may be bigger than I ever thought. I honestly didn’t know if I could do it. It started off hard for the first few days but became easier with each day that passed. I didn’t realize that social media had become a mindless addiction until I was forcing myself to live without it. I also didn’t realize how much of my day that I was losing to it without even making a conscious choice. I had no idea how much time I waste on silly things that do not really matter and are not bringing me any closer to my goals. I decided to go through every aspect of my life and take some time to decide if I wanted to continue to choose to include that in my life. It was a long tedious job. It took me some time to return to this site which was not my original plan but it had to be carefully considered as well. I have decided to continue with this site because it is part of the life I see for myself and I truly enjoy it. I love having a creative outlet. While I did use Instagram and twitter, my Facebook feed was my number one offender. I have returned to using social media. I now set limits for myself and make a conscious choice about what time I spend on it. I no longer allow myself to stare hypnotized at my screen for hours scrolling through my feed.
Until I took away the distractions I did not notice how unhappy I was becoming. I didn’t know how bored and boring I had become. I was honestly very shocked by this. I had always been the person who was doing something. I had many hobbies just a few years ago. Had the mindless noise of social media and television really drowned out all of my hobbies? What I had done was pick up a few unhealthy ways to appease myself including being envious of other people on Facebook and Instagram, playing video and computer games, and watching more television than I have my entire life. I had become addicted to technology. I never expected it but it happened. By facing my addiction to social media I opened the flood gates. I had been mindlessly hopping from distraction to distraction. I had successfully removed anything and everything that provoked deep thought from my personal life. But why? That was when I started to become aware of my unhappiness. I have all these dreams and I was not doing anything to get closer to achieving them. In fact, I had found ways to avoid even thinking about them in any realistic way. The distractions I had become addicted to were killing my dreams. The distractions make it so much easier to ignore them.
Ok, I’m going to get super honest here. I am afraid that if I try my hardest, really give it my all, that it will not be enough. I am simultaneously afraid that it will be enough and my entire life will change. You always hear of these people who achieved their dreams and their whole life changed. They always seem happier but still…Change is scary too. What if I get what I think I want and it is not what I thought it would be? What if I fail miserably and then I lose the beauty of the dream? Is this what stops most people from attempting to live their dreams?
If I want to change something in my life I have to take the action to do so. I figured out that if I put my mind to it I could take steps to get closer to that crazy dream life I desire. My dreams are a little different but they are mine. I am willing to put in the time and effort to achieve my dreams. I am also willing to finally face my fears.
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.
What if I dedicated one year of my life to living my life? Sound silly? Let me explain.
I am a wife, mother of three, and a night shift nurse. My work and home life can both be very demanding. I find myself becoming more overwhelmed in my daily life. I discovered the concepts of minimalism, purposeful living, and mindfulness about a year ago while pregnant with my third daughter. She is currently 6 months old and I have never felt more like time is just flying by. There was not just one moment that suddenly made everything make sense. There were many moments over the last few years that have continued to add up and have made it glaringly obvious that something in my life is going off track.
I am thinking about what I really want in life. Not what I am “supposed” to want but what I actually want. The whispers of my heart I hear when the house is quiet for a moment. All of this led me to reevaluate our daily lives. What does my family need? What do I need? How do I want my children to grow up? What memories do I want them to look back on? What if I spend my time instead of just “passing time” on watching TV and browsing through other people’s very edited social media feeds? I use that time that I have been wasting to do all the things that I claim to not have time for. What if I scheduled my time and planned the use of resources at home as effectively as I do at work? What if I use my time to do all the things I have always wanted to do? I could spend more quality time with my kids. I could check some things off my bucket-list. I have actually written one of those. You know, the end all, be all list of things I want to see, do, try, and eat before I take the old dirt nap. Nowhere on that list does it say watch reruns, spend hours staring at my phone each day, or give “The Joneses” a second thought. What if I lived on purpose? How would it change me? How would it change my relationships? My family? My health? My job? My home? My finances? What would happen if I spent one year truly living my life?
I have decided to spend 2017 living. If you would like to follow along, I will be covering my journey here.
This morning I had one of those rare quiet moments where the world is still, the constant mental hum of busy melts away, and I am able to reflect on life. It is in these moments that I have made the big decisions in my life, that I have figured out the answers to questions I’ve been turning over in my mind with such sudden clarity that there is no room for doubt, and that I have time to be thankful for all the blessings in my life. This morning I sat here reflecting as our six-year-old slept nearby and our newest tiny addition nodded while curled against my chest. I watched as the world outside slowly lightened with the rising sun. The fog started off thick, clinging to the trees, burning off as the world got brighter. It was a perfect moment.
This morning I thought about how unbelievably blessed I am. I have three healthy, beautiful daughters. I am healthy. I am married to a great man who I adore. I have a job that allows me to make a difference in the lives of others. I am financially stable and own my home. I have many amazing friends and family members in my life. We were able to open a new business this year. I am thankful for all these blessings and the many others not mentioned.
I also had time to consider what is next in my life. What do I want to work on? Are there any changes I need to make? Any truths I need to accept? Any potential I am ignoring? Any dreams I need to dedicate my little free time and energy toward achieving? Where do I hope to be in five years? Does anything need to change for me to get there?
The truth is I’m in a rut. I have become way too comfortable. I have grown to love parts of my comfort zone and feel trapped by others. The truth is I doubt and second guess myself too much. I waste too much time on silly, trivial things that don’t matter to me and then complain that I have no time. I watch too much television and I’m becoming addicted to Facebook scrolling. The truth is that this is my fourth blog. Each of them has helped me to find myself and attempt to develop my voice and writing style. When I start to find that voice it scares me so I fall back on fact based writing even though I want to write more emotionally driven inspirational posts. I want to put more passion into my writing. The truth is I take the easy road because I am afraid of what may happen if I push through. When I was young I was afraid of what others would think, how they may react. Now that I’m older I am more afraid of change. As I already stated above, I am blessed. My life is not perfect but it is good. What if I push through? If I give it my all, Am I more afraid of failure or success? The truth is I am afraid of what may change with either. If I succeed at my goals it will change me and my life. If I fail, I will lose the dream and it will change me. I know because both success and failure have shaped who I am. The truth is I am ignoring my dreams and failing to act out of fear. It is not just my writing that deserves more effort. I deserve more effort. If I wish to continue to grow toward where I hope to be in five years, I must come back out of auto-pilot and start putting the work in. Whether I succeed or fail, I must give all I have towards achieving my dreams because I will someday regret it if I do not. I don’t want to live with that regret. The truth is that it is easier to ignore my dreams. Fear, laziness and a million excuses could allow me to ignore them forever. I cannot keep ignoring my dreams. I am becoming stagnant in my comfort zone. It is time for a change. It is time for a new adventure. The truth is I am ready.