So this month is November. And I've decided to shut down my social media completely for the entire month, and I call it No-vember. Here's why:
Normally during this month I see my Facebook and instagram feeds cluttered with posts about how grateful people are for this and that. I don't doubt that my friends are genuinely grateful for their lives, in fact I fully believe it. But, for me, I want to make this month about being truly grateful, about opening my eyes to the people and world around me, and looking up from my phone, without the constant pressure to post or to be perfect. I don't just want to post that I'm grateful, but I want to be grateful and to show it in ways that writing a post simply can't accomplish.
I miss my childhood, when we took pictures so we could look back one day and cherish the memories with those we loved and share our memories with future generations. We didn't care if it was perfect, it was the memory itself that mattered. We had moments and our goal was to capture those beautiful moments and preserve them. I'm not saying that by posting our pictures it takes that away, but lately I keep finding myself taking pictures, only so I'll have something exciting to post.
Just the mental exhaustion that occurs whenever we post is a reason in itself to take a break. Rather than capturing moments, I feel like I'm creating fake moments, posed perfectly, worrying if I look skinny or if my hair is perfect, hoping when I post the picture that people don't think I look bad or that I'm trying too hard. I write my captions fearing I'll offend someone, sound stupid or that I won't be sincere. I worry that I am making people feel bad about their own lives, because I enjoy mine, or that when people see my posts they analyze them, comparing my life to theirs. I'm always afraid I look too spoiled, or like I have a perfect life, because most people's instagrams tend to appear that way. It's none of our faults, that's just the nature of social media.
Lets be honest, none of us post the pictures of our messy kitchens, or sitting in a cubicle for 12 hours strait, or a selfie of us crying when we come home from a hard day at work. We skip all those imperfect moments between, and sometimes I forget that people have those moments and assume people's lives are perfect. Instead of treating them like humans with feelings and insecurities like mine, I'm too busy being jealous of them and their "perfect" pages and posts.
I know that I get so busy worrying about my own life that I can forget the people around me who need my time most. I'll spend more time filtering a pretty picture than I did actually enjoying whatever it was I took a picture of. Opportunities where I could have served have been missed because I was attending some glamorous excursion, sure to make my page look awesome. I find myself planning posts weeks in advance before exciting events even happen. I'm so worried about getting the perfect picture to post, that I forget to even enjoy my friends and the event itself. Social media shouldn't rule my life and thoughts like this.
So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm tired of living this way. So I'm taking a month off of social media, to focus on those who I love, to capture pictures without the intent to post, but the intent to honestly appreciate the world and people around me. I want to use my time to serve, rather than to surf pages and feeds. I want to find new ways to look outside of myself. Hopefully through this all, my relationships will get stronger and maybe find that there is more to life than likes on my pictures. Who knows what I'll learn, maybe I'll be miserable, but I don't think the world will end, and I'm sure I will survive.
Starting after this post, I'll be shutting down. I'm taking the apps off my phone and blocking Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter from my computer browser. I'll be back December 1st to report on how it was, and maybe my posts will have a fresher perspective after this, and hopefully they can supplement my life, instead of rule it. In the mean time, I'll still have my phone, email and texts to have conversations with my family and close friends, and anyone who wants to talk. This totally isn't about shutting anybody out who is interested in what I'm doing. I hope I don't offend anyone by doing this, and I don't think I'm better than anyone else because I'm doing this. I know not everybody probably feels like social media is this big of a problem, but for me I've let it get inside of my head like a plague. I hope I can inspire more people to try it out with me, no matter what your reasons for taking a break. It doesn't even have to be a month, but maybe just a day or a week if you want. I'm sure we all could use a little less.
Love you all. Wish me luck!