There was a day a couple months ago that I felt like my eyes were a little crossed when talking with people. I think it was all in my head, but it still woke me up a little, haha. All throughout my days, I was spending a ton of time looking down at my little phone screen scrolling, browsing, double-tapping, commenting, editing, and posting. I realized how much of my life I was wasting on my phone. So after some back-and-forth with myself, I decided to give up social media for 40 days. 40 days might not seem like a long time, but I’m amazed by the ways my mind transformed during this break! Here are 7 interesting things I learned:
1. Decluttering – The first day, I had a little down time at work. Without even thinking, my thumb naturally unlocked my phone and went to where my Instagram app usually is. “Oh wait, there’s nothing to check. What do I do with my mind right now??” I realized my brain had become so addicted to constantly being stimulated. I started daydreaming, praying & talking to God, and realized I now had more free space in my mind for the things that really matter to me.
2. FOMO went away – I noticed especially around weekends or holidays, I usually feel a little pressure to make plans because the last thing I want to do is sit at home by myself and scroll through the rest of the world hanging out & having fun without me. But not constantly seeing what everyone else was doing, honestly made me not really care anymore. Like on SuperBowl Sunday, for example, I didn’t go to a party. I ended up staying home, took a Sunday snooze, woke up to watch the halftime show, ate some wings, and got some schoolwork done. And I was totally content.
3. It illuminated my closest relationships – I wasn’t seeing updates of what that kid I had high school English with did this weekend. I couldn’t browse through snapshots of my friend’s cousin’s blogger friend’s life. I did, though, regularly text, call, and hang out with my best friends and family. I LOVE social media because it connects us with lots of people. But it was also nice to invest more authentic focus on those closest to me.
4. Isolation – There were days that I did feel kind of isolated. Not posting, liking, commenting, and updating the world on what you’re doing can make you feel like you’re in hiding or something. Like, did I really exist??
5. I lived for myself & my own Camera Roll – Day trips, hangouts, dinner dates, girls’ nights, fun events, latté art, breathtaking sunsets, sunny walks downtown…I didn’t feel the need to edit a ton of pictures or take rehearsed boomerangs to show everyone what I was doing. I just captured good memories because I wanted to. It freed up so much time!
6. It gave me a new love for my city – Someone who lived in LA once told me that it’s one of the most populated cities, but also one of the loneliest to live in. Isn’t that crazy? I think about those countries where people live in hut villages, and the people around them are literally their everything. I was walking downtown one Saturday with some friends, and without having my phone to look down at to avoid eye contact, I actually wanted to engage with the other Sacramentans around me. I smiled at strangers and wished people a good afternoon. Just those little gestures instantly gave me a new love for the people in my city and a new desire to make this one of the friendliest communities there are. There are some real gems right in front of us. You never know what could come of just a simple hello.
7. Social media is great in moderation – I’m not saying all this to be anti-social media. There are so many amazing things we can do these days thanks to our ability to connect online. These 40 days (actually 47, because on the last day I wanted to go another week!) were an AMAZING time of resetting and remembering what’s truly important in life.
These apps will come and go, and who we are online isn’t who we are in our entirety. Have you ever done something just to post pics of you doing it? I have, and I don’t want to do that anymore. Instead of living to capture & share, I may capture & share snippets of my life as I live it.
Let’s REALLY LIVE and FULLY take in the beauty, the people, and the moments that will be engrained in our hearts far longer than some of these apps will ever be a thing.
Maybe give “unplugging” a try too!