I'm back from a month unplugged from the world, well at least from social media. It turned into an exciting month and an eyeopening experience.
Things I gained
I gained a lot from this experiment. First, I gained some amazing relationships. I realized how much I seriously love all my closest friends. From the time I posted my announcement, I got a lot of text messages from a bunch of friends, both close friends and distant ones, saying they liked my idea. A couple of friends even texted to join in on the experiment. This was something I totally never expected. I felt so much support.
Throughout the month, I had a lot of really fun text message conversations with friends old and new, catching up on lives. I forgot how much more meaningful it is to talk to people one on one, and have a real conversation rather than these broken half conversations we have through posting and commenting. It really was so much fun, and made me realize there are real human beings behind those pictures I "like" on instagram, with much deeper lives than what they post, and lots more to say than simply 140 characters in a tweet. So thanks to all my awesome friends that sent love, pictures, and just fun conversations. I have to say, you guys made this experiment so much fun!
Secondly, I gained time. The ten minutes we spend here and there, posting, editing, scrolling, checking our comments and so forth really adds up. I didn't believe it when I first started, but as time went by, I realized my house was a little cleaner, I was able to start some new art projects, I was reading books more, and listening more. Life seemed to slow down a bit. Sometimes a little too much. I won't lie, there were some moments of boredom in there when I honestly had nothing to do, but look at the wall, play a little game on my phone, and just breath, wind down and soak in the day. Who knew there was so much time out there?
The third thing I gained from this was moments. Not a moment captured through the lens of my phone, plastered onto a wall or a feed, but real-life-throw-out-your-arms-take-a-deep-breath-and-be-grateful-for-everything kind of moments. There was a time during the month when I thought to myself "wow, I had to pick the most exciting month ever to not post on social media! There are so many things I could post right now that are just amazing!!"
Looking back, I'm so glad I picked such an exciting month to not post anything. Because every single awesome event that happened this month, I was able to soak up like a dry sponge, and let my heart just eat up the happiness of life. I can't even explain it, but for once I felt like I could totally just get wrapped up in a moment, and not worry if anyone else would like it, or comment, or even care. I had so much fun! And maybe the month just seemed that much better because I took the time to enjoy it all.
That leads to my fourth gain, which is that just because you don't post something, doesn't mean it didn't happen. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but honestly. I think before this month, I felt like if I didn't post an event, all the memories would vanish into thin air. I thought that if I didn't post a lovey dovey picture of Logan and I every once in a while, that somehow our relationship and the love we have became less real, or less genuine. If I didn't announce my friends and family's birthdays, that somehow I didn't care. None of that is true and we shouldn't feel the need to prove anything to anyone.
Sure, nobody saw my amazing thanksgiving dinner, but I still ate it and it was beautifully delicious. I never posted a single picture from my magical day at Disneyland with my cute nieces, but it was one of the funnest days I've had! I guess what I am saying is that we shouldn't feel the need to justify how great our lives are with posts. Life can be great, and should be great whether we post about it or not.
The last thing I want to share that I gained is a deeper appreciation for all the people in my life, especially Logan. Since I have been off social media and using my phone about 75% less lately, I started watching people's behaviors. I saw moms at the store on their phone, not paying attention to their kids being silly and cute in the toy aisle. Girls with their boyfriends, busy taking selfies rather than listening. I can't say that I am not guilty of this. There are days when I was endlessly scrolling some unimportant internet page, when I could have been talking or helping with dishes or helping out my awesome husband, or even simply noticing all the things he does for me.
I am not saying that Logan and I have ever had a bad relationship at all, in fact we are best friends closer than anything in the world, and have always been that way. But the last month has been one of the most amazing months of our marriage. Rather than scrolling instagram facing my nightstand until I fell asleep, Logan and I stayed up and talked about our days, our concerns, our heartaches, and just life in general. We talk lots and lots. We went on a bunch of dates, with the phone put away. We played games together and cooked together and honestly had a bunch of amazing memories, making this such an awesome and fun month for both of us.
Things I missed
So I guess I can't lie and say that shutting down social media was all good and fluffy happiness. Overall it was a really great month, however, there were a bunch of things I missed during the month.
The thing I missed most was my friends who I didn't get to text. I missed seeing the triumphs and excitement in everyone's lives. I won't lie, I get really excited every time someone gets engaged, or posts a cute picture of their pet. I seriously love seeing the people I grew up with and all the different paths we've taken now. I love seeing how talented everyone is, whether it's putting together a stunning outfit, or painting something awesome or taking stunning photographs. There were days I honestly felt super isolated from the world, like Elsa, who thought she could make her life better by running away and building an ice castle in the mountains.
Because I ran away for a bit, I missed one of my best friends engagements, I missed seeing my cute niece on her birthday, I missed everyone's thanksgivings and a bunch of other awesome things I didn't even realize I missed. You can only hide in an ice castle (or in my case: a shoebox sized Los Angeles apartment) for so long before you realize that life without other people is no fun. I love sharing in everyone else successes and even their grief and heartache.
So now that I have fully contradicted myself. I guess what I am saying is that social media isn't bad. The problem wasn't social media, but I was letting social media get the best of my own insecurities. I was getting my priorities all mixed up. I am not shutting down my social media permanently because of all this, but I do want to use it much much more sparingly, freeing up time to enjoy what matters most in life. I want to use social it to lift others up, rather than tear anyone down (including myself). I do think social media is great and has the power to cheer people up and connect us all together.
It really hit me when just a couple days ago a metal bookshelf came flying out of a pickup truck at Logan and I's car with a Semi-Truck speeding toward us from behind as we halted to a dead stop on the speeding 405 freeway. As the semi barely swerved around us and we dodged out of the way of the shelves, I realized that my life is not defined by my posts on instagram, or the likes on Facebook. I was so so grateful in that moment of almost death, that I had taken the time to love those around me for the past month, slow down a bit and really live out what could have easily been my last month. Time is so precious.
From all of this I guess here is my advice:
Love first, live second, enjoy third, absorb it all in, and then post if you have a little extra time.